HSI/Korea has saved almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/HSI

SEOUL—The South Korean government has announced its plan to set up a task force to consider a ban on the eating of dog meat. The joint announcement by government ministries comes after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. The task force will include officials, civilian experts and stakeholder representatives, who will make recommendations on next steps to take and ways to end dog meat consumption. The discussions are expected to continue until April 2022.   

The news is welcomed by Seoul-based animal protection organisation Humane Society International/Korea as a crucial step, but the organisation hopes for decisive action to end both the suffering of animals and the struggles of dog farmers. Since 2015, HSI/Korea has rescued almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the controversial and dying industry.  

Nara Kim, Humane Society International/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager, says: 

“As someone who has visited many dog meat farms and witnessed first-hand the squalor, deprivation, and physical and mental trauma endured by the dogs, I dream of the day when this cruel industry will be consigned to South Korea’s history books. I really hope that this taskforce is a crucial step towards that goal, and HSI/Korea stands ready to contribute our expertise in dog meat farm closures and dog welfare. With more than a million dogs every year enduring excruciating suffering and brutal deaths and with many dog farmers struggling to make a living due to dwindling consumer demand, this taskforce must deliver a bold outcome that brings relief to all. Of course the dog meat association will oppose it, that’s to be expected, but the truth is that the market for dog meat is now so small, most dog farmers know there is no future in it and so it would be far better to launch a government-supported phase out. HSI/Korea has helped many farmers leave the dog meat industry behind them and switch to more sustainable and humane livelihoods. It’s better for them and of course better for the dogs who will no longer be born into a life of suffering.”  

Download video and photos of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.  

Facts:  

  • HSI/Korea helps farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled.  
  • A 2020 opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows growing support for a ban on the dog meat trade, with nearly 84% of South Koreans saying they don’t or won’t eat dog, and almost 60% supporting a legislative ban on the trade.  
  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.  
  • In South Korea up to 1.5 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.  
  • Dog meat is banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. An estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.  

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News welcomed by HSI/Korea, which has saved almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI

SEOUL—The South Korean government has announced that the cabinet will launch a formal discussion next week on how to proceed with actions to address the increasingly controversial dog meat industry, news welcomed by Humane Society International/Korea which has rescued almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the controversial and dying industry. Of the almost 2,500 dogs that HSI has rescued from South Korea’s dog meat trade, 30 dogs now live in happy homes in the United Kingdom, with the majority adopted out in the United States and Canada.

This announcement issued by the Office for Government Policy Coordination, follows President Moon’s suggestion in September that it could be time for the country to consider a ban on dog meat. Next week’s discussion, reported to be presided over by Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, will be the first time the cabinet is known to have held a formal meeting on the issue of dog meat.

Nara Kim, Humane Society International/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager, lives in Seoul with her two dog meat farm rescues, Blondie and Claire. She has visited dozens of dog meat farms and witnessed first-hand the squalor and deprivation as well as the physical and mental trauma experienced by the dogs.

Nara Kim says: “South Korean society has struggled to come to terms with the difficult reality of dog meat for many decades, but we’re at a tipping point now where people care deeply about animal welfare and cannot reconcile that concern with a tolerance of dog meat. When I was a child growing up, nobody really spoke about dog meat farms, but that’s definitely changed in recent years. Most Koreans don’t eat dog meat, and certainly most young Koreans are horrified by the idea. I don’t think anyone really understands quite how dreadful dog meat farms are though, because it’s so rare for anyone to see inside them like I have. It really is a hellish existence for these animals.”

HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm program helps dog farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal and family pressure to get out of farming dogs, amidst growing concerns for animal welfare, with over six million pet dogs now being raised in Korean homes. As demand for dog meat dwindles in South Korea, it is also increasingly challenging for farmers to turn a profit.

Nara Kim adds: “I’ve spent many hours talking with the dog farmers. They often tell me that it’s almost impossible to make a profit because the market for dog meat is now so small, but they don’t know how to do something different. They know there is no future in this industry, and so ignoring or resisting that reality is really just condemning both farmers and dogs. HSI/Korea’s work shows how it’s possible to support farmers in switching to other livelihoods. It’s better for them and of course better for the dogs who will no longer be born into a life of suffering.”

A 2020 opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows growing support for a ban on the dog meat trade, with nearly 84% of South Koreans saying they don’t or won’t eat dog, and almost 60% supporting a legislative ban on the trade. Although most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.

Download here video and photos of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action: https://newsroom.humanesociety.org/fetcher/index.php?searchMerlin=1&searchBrightcove=1&submitted=1&mw=d&q=SKFarm16Rescue0520

Facts:

  • Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and Siem Reap province in Cambodia, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.
  • In South Korea up to 1.5 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.

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Media contact: HSI/United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org +44 (0)7989 972 423

A leap forward for both animals and humane science

Humane Society International / South Korea


iStock.com

SEOUL—South Korea’s Ministry of Environment introduced its “2030 Chemical Safety and Animal Welfare vision” last month with the aim of vastly increasing the use of non-animal test methods in what animal protection NGO Humane Society International/Korea welcomes as a leap forward for both animals and humane science. The Ministry’s new vision calls for increased acceptance of non-animal methods with a goal of more than 60% of data use for chemical assessment by 2030 to be using non-animal methods. The new vision emerged from a task force created earlier this year by the Ministry. This task force comprised government officials as well as representatives from HSI/Korea, chemical consulting companies, toxicology institutes and testing companies.

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea’s interim executive director and senior policy manager, says: “Chemical testing is one of the main drivers of animal use in Korea even though more modern methods are available that don’t use animals and are more accurate and real-world predictive for people. We applaud the Ministry of Environment for its leadership in laying out an ambitious vision for both chemical safety and animal welfare, a doubly valuable proposition. We hope that Korean chemical manufacturers and testing facilities will embrace this vision to make it a reality.”

South Korea’s chemical laws—the Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (known as Korea REACH) and Korea Chemical Products and Biocides Safety Act—were amended in 2018 and 2020, respectively, to include clauses for the adoption of alternatives to animal tests. However, momentum from government and local industry has been lacking. HSI/Korea, which works with both policy makers and industry to advance the replacement of animals in science, hopes the introduction of MOE’s Animal Welfare Vision will provide renewed impetus for change.

Professor Seung Min Oh at Hoseo University, who led the Ministry’s roadmap project to promote alternatives and the task force discussion, said, “The importance of cost and time-effective predictive toxicity assessment is increasing in producing chemical information. As well as alternative methods, we need more trained experts to handle non-test approaches such as adverse outcome pathways and read-across toxicity predictions. The Ministry of Environment’s vision will help provide support for these areas and is an important step to advance alternative approaches to animal testing in South Korea.”

The Ministry’s vision aims to increase acceptance of chemical assessment data produced using non-animal methods by more than 60% by:

  • Recruiting more people qualified to interpret data produced using non-animal methods, establishing a new team with staff members to handle tasks focusing on non-animal methods.
  • Adopting a new definition of alternatives to animal testing meaning specifically non-animal test methods or non-animal approaches. Traditionally, the term ‘alternatives’ has included those methods that reduce the number of animals used or refine their suffering, but still involve the use of live animals. This new definition will help move the focus away from the refinement of animal procedures and towards the replacement of animals.
  • Ensuring the prioritization of using non-animal methods for data produced by government funds. Many chemical companies lack the capacity to conduct their own tests, so government laboratories do so. Increasing the uptake of non-animal tests by government-funded labs will hopefully influence larger and better-resourced chemical companies to follow suit.
  • Providing support to establish infrastructure for testing companies certified with Good Laboratory Practice.

Link to the Ministry of Environment’s online introduction to the 2030 Chemical Safety and Animal Welfare Vision (Korean): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r2VrPX_iIM

Humane Society International / South Korea


Support legislation to advance science without suffering in South Korea

Humane Society International


Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/for HSI Nara Kim of HSI holds a puppy rescued at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. May 6, 2020.

SEOUL—In response to South Korean President Moon’s reported suggestion that it could be time for South Korea to ban dog meat, Humane Society International/Korea’s dog meat campaigner Nara Kim issues this response from Seoul:

“As a Korean who has visited many dog meat farms and seen the appalling animal suffering first hand, I welcome these words from President Moon and hope that it signals the beginning of the end for the brutal dog meat industry. These dogs live a dreadful existence, locked in barren wire cages their whole lives, most in a pitiful state of malnutrition, skin disease and fear, only to be painfully electrocuted often in front of each other. It’s like a living nightmare for them, all to produce a meat that most Koreans don’t want to eat. Banning dog meat would be the right thing to do not just for the dogs but also for South Korea. HSI/Korea works with dog farmers who want to get out of this dead-end trade. Our program helps them transition to more humane livelihoods, and so we urge President Moon to advance a ban but also to adopt HSI’s farmer transition program to make sure the phase out happens with the backing of farmers so that it is sustainable and permanent. Consigning the dog meat industry to the history books is within our grasp.”

President Moon first issued a Blue House pledge in 2018 to consider removing dogs from the legal definition of livestock following a 1 million signature petition submitted by HSI/Korea and partners KARA.

Facts:

  • Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and the Siem Reap province in Cambodia, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.
  • In South Korea up to 2 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.
  • A recent opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows growing support for a ban on the dog meat trade, with nearly 84% of South Koreans saying they don’t or won’t eat dog, and almost 60% supporting a legislative ban on the trade. Although most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the blood during the hot summer still holds with many, particularly the older generation.
  • In South Korea, there have been a string of crackdowns by authorities in recent years to curb the dog meat industry include the shutting down of Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest) by Seongnam City Council in November 2018, followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan, and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. In November 2019 a Supreme Court found that a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs was in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on electrocution as a killing method.
  • HSI in South Korea works in partnership with dog meat farmers to permanently close down dog meat farms and help them switch to alternative livelihoods as part of the charity’s strategy to demonstrate that the cruel trade can be phased out. It’s a strategy that so far has seen HSI close down 17 dog meat farms and rescue more than 2,000 dogs who are adopted out to loving homes in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada through the help of placement partners.
  • Of the more than 2,000 dogs that HSI has rescued from South Korea’s dog meat trade, 30 dogs now live in happy homes in the UK. The majority of dogs are adopted out in the United States and Canada. Pumpkin the jindo in Surrey, Winston the Boston terrier in Hampshire, Molly the jindo mix in Camberley, and Penny the spaniel mix in Farnborough, were all fated to have been amongst the more than one million dogs who would have been electrocuted, butchered and eaten during this Bok Nal season. They were rescued by HSI from a dog meat farm in November 2019. Other dogs now living happy lives in the UK include Nara the jindo in Devon, Robin the maltese-cross in Oxfordshire, Millie the spaniel in Staffordshire, Sandie the Labrador in Nottinghamshire, Henry the golden retriever in Brighton, and Roxy the jindo in south west London.

Download Photos/Video of an HSI Dog Meat Farm Closure 

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Media contact: HSI/United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org +44 (0)7989 972 423

Humane Society International / South Korea


Bliznetsov/iStock.com

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—The National Assembly and Humane Society International/Korea have organized a biomedical research multi-stakeholder forum called Alternatives to Animal Testing with Scientific Approaches.

Co-hosting the event are the chair of National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee Minseok Kim, National Assembly members In-soon Nam and Hyun-young Shin, and the National Assembly Animal Welfare Forum. The forum is sponsored by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Osong Medical Innovation Foundation.

Prior to the forum discussion, the skin irritation test that was recently accepted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will be showcased. This new method was developed using the model KeraSkinTM, funded by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s Korea Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods. Kyung-Min Lim at Ehwa Womans University and the company Biosolution led this project. Now that the method is recognized as an international standard, it can be used for regulatory testing on cosmetics, industrial chemicals or biomedical devices.

Alternatives to Animal Testing with Scientific Approaches will be attended by representatives from Biosolution, BioToxtech, Korea Institute of Chemical Technology, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Nexel, Humane Society International/Korea and Bundang Seoul National University Hospital. Participants will share opinions on the current challenges, barriers in promoting alternatives to animal testing and what should change to move towards non-animal approaches.

In South Korea, while there are alternatives available, animal testing is still frequently used as the first option in research and toxicology. This is due to the lack of awareness and dissemination of new methods and has resulted in the widespread notion that alternatives are expensive or non-existent. This unfortunately discourages companies from proactively using newer, non-animal testing methods.

Committee Chair Minseok Kim said: “Animal testing replacement is relatively a new subject for health research in South Korea. However, as the technology advances and the general public is increasingly aware of animal welfare concerns, Korea is in a very good position to lead the health research and development that can mimic human responses rather than relying on animal models. I look forward to hearing from industries how we, lawmakers, can support the effort.”

Assembly member Nam said: “While there are research efforts to replace animal testing, we need a system where these research results can be disseminated, and industries are encouraged to practice them. Today’s dialogue is to understand the perspectives from relevant stakeholders in support of the bill, Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods, also known as the PAAM Act. Feedback from industries is valuable to continue inclusive dialogue in advancing the current research and development based on humane approaches.”

Borami Seo, interim executive director and senior policy manager for HSI/Korea, said: “HSI/Korea has been pointing out the problems surrounding the absence of strategic development and dissemination plans in Korea. While Korea is renowned for its advanced technology, conventional animal testing approaches continue to be preferred despite growing concerns about their scientific and ethical limitations. We hope to see more stakeholders come together and join the conversation for the protection of humans and animals while embracing emerging technologies that can better predict human biology.”

Forum details:

Date: September 2

Location: Biosolution head office, Seoul, South Korea

Chairperson: Borami Seo, Humane Society International/Korea

Agenda:

  • Welcome speech
  • National Assembly In-soon Nam
  • Presentation: OECD validated 3D reconstructed human skin model showcase
  • Panel discussion: Views on challenges and solutions to support alternative approaches to animal testing

Moderator:

Kyungmin Lim, College of Pharmacy, Ehwa Womans University

Panelists:

  • Choongseong Han, NEXEL
  • Jung seon Lee, Biosolution
  • Cheol-Beom Park, BioToxtech
  • Sejoong Kim, Bundang Seoul University Hospital, 3D Motive project
  • Myung Ae Bae, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology
  • Ja-young Jung, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety
  • Borami Seo, Humane Society International/Korea

Humane Society International and LIFE rescue 65 dogs from battery cages who will seek adoption in USA and Canada

Humane Society International / South Korea


HSI’s Nara Kim rescuing Jindo puppies during the Jindo Island dog meat farm closure.

SEOUL—A dog meat farm on South Korea’s famous Jindo Island, which for more than 20 years bred and slaughtered Jindo dogs for human consumption despite them being the country’s national dog breed, has closed its doors for good after coming to an agreement with Humane Society International/Korea and Korean animal protection group LIFE. The 66 year-old dog farmer Mr Kim, who also runs a local restaurant where his dogs were on the menu, was found by local authorities to have breached the Animal Protection Act by killing dogs in front of each other, after concerned residents reported hearing dogs vocalising in terror on the farm. Instead of setting up business elsewhere, the farmer signed a contract with LIFE to give up dog farming forever and agreed to remove dog meat from the menu at his restaurant.

During the rescue, one of the dogs was found to have a microchip confirming that she is a pure bred Jindo officially registered as a “Natural Monument” under the name Jinju meaning “pearl.” The South Korean government designated the Jindo the country’s 53rd Natural Monument in 1962, nominally affording them protection under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act, meaning the farmer could face additional charges.

LIFE and HSI/Korea saved all 65 Jindo dogs and puppies found languishing in small, wire battery cages on the farm. Their fate would have been to be killed by electrocution and butchered for dog meat, and the rescuers were horrified to discover a large pile of collars in the killing area of the farm, each representing a dog who lost their life to the brutal industry. Humane Society International/Korea, which has closed down 17 other dog meat farms in the country, is campaigning for legislation in South Korea to end the dog meat industry.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s campaign manager, said: “All the dogs on this meat farm are Jindos which is supposed to be Korea’s national dog breed.  But instead, these poor dogs have been locked away in filthy wire cages, fed on restaurant waste, denied even the most basic care and any level of human kindness. As a proud Korean I always find it upsetting to see the cruelty of dog meat farms, but it felt especially shocking to see our country’s national dog breed being exploited like this on Jindo Island. I shed tears when I saw the killing area where I know dogs were killed in front of each other. There was a big pile of collars where they were electrocuted. Thankfully, together with our friends at LIFE, we have been able to get these dogs out of that horrible place and ensure that no animals will ever suffer again in those cages. The authorities will also pursue cruelty charges against the farmer. As the Animal Protection Act currently offers little protection for dogs on dog meat farms, it’s encouraging to see law enforcement officials making use of those few regulations at their disposal. But in order to fully crack down on this brutal industry, we will continue to campaign for a ban on the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs for meat.”

In-Seob Sim, president of LIFE, said: “I feel anger beyond misery. We boast about Jindo dogs being our national dog, but at the same time they are on someone’s dinner table. This is a direct example of the duality of humans, but also of the contradiction in Korean society. Is there really a difference between a treasure Jindo dog and an edible Jindo dog as the dog meat traders encourage us to think? The answer is no. They are both just Jindo dogs, almost perfect pets for companionship with people.”

The rescue follows the close of the Boknal summer season in South Korea which ended on 10 August, a time when dog meat soup or “bosintang” is most often eaten, and when hundreds of thousands of dogs bred for meat on factory farms across the country are killed. Although opinion polls show that most Koreans (84%) don’t eat dog meat, of those Koreans who do eat it, 70% consume it over Boknal, in the belief that it can help relieve the effects of the sweltering summer heat.

During this year’s Boknal, HSI/Korea teamed up with vegan chefs and restaurants Baek-rin Ahn, Nammi Plant Lab, and Jung-won Park (Haru Vegan) to encourage consumers to swap dog meat soup for delicious plant-based recipes instead. Each chef devised a fresh, plant-based take on Boknal eating, incorporating many of the ingredients traditionally found in bosintang.

The dog farm rescue by LIFE and HSI/Korea follows last month’s announcement by the Ministry of Justice that an amendment will be made to article 82 of the Civil Law to grant animals legal status, stating “animals are not objects”. Humane Society International/Korea welcomes this proposal but says the deplorable conditions on this latest dog meat farm demonstrate how vital it is that the amended law brings about an end to the cruel dog meat industry.

Nara Kim says: “With the law set to change in South Korea to grant animals legal status as individuals with lives that deserve to be protected, I hope that the time has finally come for all dog meat farms here to close their doors for good.”

Humane Society International/Korea has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from certain death from 17 dog farms, who now live with families in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The 65 Jindos from this latest rescue will now receive emergency veterinary care at a partner shelter in South Korea where they will also receive care and nutritious food while they undergo the vaccinations and medical tests required for overseas travel. Once they’re fit to fly, and COVID-19 restrictions allowing, HSI will fly the dogs to North America where they will begin their search for adoptive homes.

Facts:  

  • An estimated 1 to 2 million dogs are kept on thousands of farms across South Korea.
  • Alongside Jindos and mastiffs typically bred for meat, many dog farms also breed Labradors, golden retrievers, spaniels, huskies, beagles and other breeds.
  • In 1962, the South Korean government designated the Jindo the country’s 53rd Natural Monument, nominally affording them protection under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act.
  • Most South Koreans do not consume dog meat, and a growing population see dogs only as companion animals. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), an estimated 6.38 million South Korean households lived with companion animals in 2020, equating to 28% of households.
  • In recent years, there have been a series of crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry include the shutting down of Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest) by Seongnam City Council in November 2018, followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan, and a declaration in October that year by the mayor of Seoul that the capital city is “dog slaughter free”.
  • This farm closure was conducted under COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. A veterinarian tests for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”) at the time the dogs receive their rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza and Leptospira vaccines. The dogs will be quarantined for at least 30 days and health certified again prior to transport overseas, in accordance with international export and import requirements.

Download Photos/Video of the Rescue

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Media Contact:

Campaign launched in support of act to promote alternatives to animal testing

Humane Society International / South Korea


Multiart/iStock.com

SEOUL—Animal protection organization Humane Society International/Korea (HSI/Korea), cosmetics brand Lush Korea and civic group People for Non-human Rights (PNR) have teamed up for laboratory animals by launching a petition to support the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods (PAAM Act).

According to a report on animal testing statistics published by the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, the number of animals used for testing in South Korea was 4,141,433 in 2020. This figure is a 43.8% increase compared to five years ago, when 2,878,907 animals were subjected to testing in 2016. While animal testing is increasing, there is an effort to replace animal testing and introduce scientifically sound alternatives. In Europe and the United States, pharmaceutical companies are already starting to use organoids and organ-on-a-chip models. These technologies can emulate human physiology and are used to test substances instead of animal experiments.

The PAAM Act petition campaign aims to raise public awareness about the importance of promoting alternatives to animal testing both to reduce cruelty to animals and to improve human health. Citizens will be encouraged to participate in signing the petition that urges central government and lawmakers to pass the bill.

PAAM Act was introduced to the National Assembly in December 2020 and is sponsored by assembly member In-soon Nam. The bill is focused on supporting development of new methods that can mimic human biology or using computer-based approaches while moving away from relying on animal models. It also provides a legal ground for collaboration among central authorities to disseminate these developed methods through harmonized planning.

Along with the launch of the petition page, a mini webinar titled ‘Let’s learn about animal testing and alternatives’ will be released through Lush Korea’s YouTube channel in September. The webinar will feature HSI/Korea, Lush Korea, PNR and Jae-Sung Kwon, an assistant professor at the College of Dentistry at Younsei University. The panelists will discuss the status of animal testing, developing replacement approaches and why the PAAM Act is important.

Borami Seo, interim executive director and senior policy manager for HSI/Korea, said: “The PAAM Act took three years of preparation including consulting with relevant institutions and experts. The bill is important in that it stipulates unprecedented, but much needed, initiatives to bring central governments together to put Korea on track for the progress in health research based on more effective, science sounding approaches than animal testing.”

Won Jung Park, ethics director for Lush Korea said: “Considering an increasing interest in ethical consumerism in the 4th industrial revolution era where modern technologies are emerging, PAAM Act is what we need now. Lush Korea has long been supporting work around animal testing replacement. I hope that this PAAM Act petition campaign will contribute to speedy passage of the bill and bring an end to cruel and unnecessary animal testing.”

Anyone can show their support for the PAAM Act petition campaign by visiting Lush Korea stores or lush.co.kr/animalfreetesting.

ENDS

Media Contact: Borami Seo: bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Global


unoL/iStock.com

SEOUL—The annual statistics on laboratory animal use for 2020 revealed disappointing trends with regards to animal testing in South Korea. According to the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, 4,141,433 animals were used for testing in 2020, up 11.5% compared to the previous year (3,712,380 in 2019). This figure is a 43.8% increase compared to five years ago, when 2,878,907 animals were subjected to testing.

Meanwhile, this week, the Ministry of Justice proposed an amendment to the Civil Law, adding a new clause on the legal status of animals stipulating that animals are not objects. While Humane Society International/Korea welcomes this proposal, the latest animal testing statistics illustrate how much there is still to do at a government level to reduce the use of animals in experiments through effective replacement and reduction policies.

The greatest share of animal experiments were conducted under the regulatory testing category, recording 1,795,709 animals used. In addition, 299,344 animals were used for efficacy testing. This is a 900% increase compared to 2019 when 29,876 animals were used. For industrial chemical testing, there was a 43% decrease in 2020, recording 29,810 animals. HSI/Korea actively defended amendments to prioritize alternative methods in the Korea chemical registration law, K-REACH, which came into effect in 2019.

While Korea is embracing technological advances in every aspect of society, when it comes to research and testing, outdated approaches using animals are favored despite the rapid emergence of innovative, non-animal approaches, including internationally validated methods for regulatory testing. In recent years, human mimetic models like organ-on-a-chip, organoids and computer-based approaches such as in silico have proven to be successful alternatives to animal models and have received attention from global pharmaceutical industries and regulators. These technologies have the potential to improve safety and efficacy assessments and reduce the failure rates of candidate drugs at the clinical stage.

However, running against these global trends, in 2020 the Ministry of Education secured 150 billion Korean Won to build new animal testing centers at nine national universities across South Korea. HSI/Korea has called for this funding to be redirected toward creation of alternative method infrastructures instead. The Ministry of Education denied HSI/Korea’s proposal.

According to the Ministry of Science, Information and Communications Technology’s response to the enquiry on the 2021 budget information for animal experiments and alternatives, 28.6% of the ministry’s budget is dedicated to funding and supplying animal models. This budget enquiry was requested by Member of National Assembly, Ik-pyo Hong, at the Science, Information and Communications Technology Committee. Only 1.36% of the budget was allocated for the development of state-of-the-art human-based technology instead of animal models.

Assembly member Ik-pyo Hong said: “The 2020 statistics show how little attention has been paid to advance research technologies without involving animal suffering. The objective of developing methods that emulate human physiology, is to find more accurate and effective ways for treating human diseases and conditions. In addition, it is our responsibility as a society to adopt more compassionate approaches for animals. I believe we can do more to support this modern science and move away from animal testing. Ultimately, it is better for humans and animals.”

Borami Seo, senior policy manager for HSI/Korea said: “While public interest in animal protection gathers unstoppable momentum, over 10,000 animals died every day in 2020 in Korean laboratories. The science community and central ministries need to move away from the outdated and unscientific notion that more animal experiments are better. We need to bring public and private stakeholders together around a consensus strategy to develop, disseminate and apply non-animal, cutting-edge technologies.”

Last December, Assembly member In-soon Nam introduced a new bill entitled ‘Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods.’ It aims to bring central government ministries, research and testing stakeholders together for strategic planning to advance scientific research without animal testing. The bill is currently awaiting its review at the National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee.

Read the official 2020 lab animal statistics in Korean

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Media Contact: Borami Seo: bseo@hsi.org

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