Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs rescued after the closure of a dog meat market just days before Boknal in 2019.

SEOUL—As South Korea’s Boknal season begins, marking the hottest days of summer during which dog meat ‘bosintang’ soup is commonly eaten, animal group Humane Society International is urging South Korea to join other countries across Asia in cracking down on the dog meat trade.

Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia, including in South Korea where around 2 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them will be sold to butchers for Boknal season which begins this week, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup. 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. Despite the president’s Blue House pledge in 2018 to consider removing dogs from the legal definition of livestock and noting the need for the government “to consider solutions for dog meat related workers”, no such action has been taken.

In recent weeks a number of dog meat trade hot spot countries have started to take action to advance localised bans. In April, as part of Covid-19 food safety review, the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai introduced the mainland’s first legislatives bans against dog and cat meat consumption, in what HSI is hoping will set a trend for other Chinese cities to follow. Earlier this month, India’s Government of Nagaland issued a comprehensive ban on the trade in live dogs and dog meat, sparing an estimated 30,000 dogs a year who are brutally slaughtered in the region’s notorious ‘death pits’. And most recently, Siem Reap became the first province in Cambodia to ban the sale and consumption of dog meat.

Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said: “Countries and governments across Asia have been advancing regional and local bans on dog meat in recent times, in an effort to protect both animal welfare and public health. Yet in South Korea the government has so far failed to take action to end the suffering of millions of dogs languishing on farms to be killed for meat. During the Boknal summer season, many thousands of these dogs will die just to be made into soup, and that’s a habit we’re glad to see Koreans increasingly questioning. But we are also urging President Moon Jae-in to join with other countries across Asia by taking action to dismantle this outdated and cruel industry.”

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 16 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.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jacob Studio/iStock.com

SEOUL—Proposed new legislation that would require Korean regulatory and research funding ministries to promote the development and implementation of non-animal alternatives in safety and biomedical sciences will be examined at a National Assembly expert forum on June 30. Assembly member In-soon Nam and Humane Society International/Korea will co-host the forum.

The legislative initiative follows the release of government statistics revealing a shocking spike in the number of animals subjected to painful chemical-poisoning and other experiments in 2019, including forced feeding, inhalation, eye and skin tests without pain relief to assess the toxicity of insecticides (+187%), industrial chemicals (+115%) and pharmaceuticals (+40%).

Assembly member Nam said: “I believe this is a timely subject for discussion. We are living in the 21st century now, so it is only appropriate to discuss a new legal framework that will advance the current science policy for human patients and laboratory animals. As a member of the Health and Welfare committee, I am pleased to support this initiative and invite other science stakeholders to join in the discussion.”

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea senior policy manager for research and toxicology, said: “The proposed legislation provides the legal ground for the government ministries to fund the development of advanced and scientifically superior human-mimetic tools for testing and disease research, or to accept the findings from these proven non-animal methods. Time and again we’ve found that the only way to get some ministries to change their behaviour is by changing the law. It’s been six decades since the concept of animal testing alternatives was introduced to the scientific community and yet animal use in Korean laboratories remains at an all-time high. Our systems of research funding and experimental regulation are in urgent need of reform.”

The forum, chaired by Prof Kyung-min Lim from EWHA Women’s University, will feature presentations from the Korea Legislation Research Institute, the Korea Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods and HSI/Korea. The panelists include officials from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Korea Institute of Toxicology president Chang-woo Song, Dana Green Bio CEO Ki-woo Kim, National Assembly legislative officer Jung-cheol Goh, Korean Society for Alternative to Animal Experiments vice president Gwang-man Kim, and People for Non-Human Rights lawyer Coochwa Suh.

Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Time:   1400 KST

Place:   National Assembly

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, only pre-registered guests will be admitted to the Assembly building to join the forum.

Last year HSI organized Korea’s first cross-ministerial forum to explore legislation to boost government funding for human-specific, non-animal approaches for testing as an alternative to experiments on mice, rats, dogs and monkeys that too often fail to predict human disease outcomes in the real world. After this forum, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety carried out a review of the proposed legislation, which led to a series of stakeholder meetings and a revised legislative proposal.

Leading companies and academic research groups across the globe are harnessing the power of non-animal human-relevant models to study and develop treatments for diseases ranging from cancer to COVID-19:

END

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org and biomed21.org.

Humane Society International / South Korea


Bliznetsov/iStock.com

SEOUL—Humane Society International/Korea is calling on legislators to back a series of tough new legal measures to address the lack of progress by Korea’s relevant regulatory and research funding ministries toward reduction and replacement of animal testing. Statistics on laboratory animal use in 2019 published this week by Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency[1] revealed a marginal 0.4% decrease in total animal use compared to the previous year (3,712,380 in 2019 compared to 3,727,163 in 2018), together with alarming increases in animal use for testing insecticides (+187%), industrial chemicals (+115%), education and training (+77.8%), pharmaceutical quality control testing (+40%), production of genetically modified animals (+12%), and experiments in the most severe pain category (+9.7%).

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea senior policy manager for research and toxicology, said: “These statistics make it clear far Korean authorities and science funding ministries have to go to fulfill their stated commitment to replace, reduce or even minimize the most severe suffering in animal testing. The future lies in human mimetic non-animal approaches like human organoids, organs-on-chips and next-generation computing and AI, not in poisoning or genetically modifying mice, monkeys and other animals. It’s time our government followed the example of the United States, the Netherlands and other innovation economies by making a serious investment in non-animal technologies to advance safety science and medical research.”

HSI/Korea has been working with members of the National Assembly and key ministries to make research and regulatory testing with non-animal approaches a higher priority. For example, Korean chemical, pesticide and pharmaceutical authorities should reflect on their performance in comparison to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s commitment to reduce mammalian testing requirements by 30% by 2025 and to completely eliminate them by 2035. Korean science funding ministries should look to European and American funding programs for organ-on-a-chip technologies to advance drug testing and human disease research.

Assembly member In-soon Nam and HSI will host an Assembly forum on June 30 to discuss a new legislative initiative to promote the development, distribution, and use of alternatives to animal testing methods. Presenters include officials from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the president of the Korea Institute of Toxicology Chang-Woo Song, the vice president of the Korean Society for Alternative to Animal Experiments Gwang-Man Kim, CEO of Dana Green Bio Ki-woo Kim, and HSI/Korea. Additionally, legal experts from the National Assembly’s Legislative office, the Korea Legislation Research Institute and the Korean lawyers’ group People for Non-Human Rights will join the discussion.

END

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

  1. MAFRA’s full statistical report for 2019 is available online (in Korean).

Farmers offered $88 per porcupine, $84 per civet cat, or $17 per kg of cobra snakes

Humane Society International / China


Trevor Mogg/Alamy Stock photo Live animals for sale at a market in China in 2020

WASHINGTON—Wildlife farmers in two provinces in mainland China are being offered a government buy-out to facilitate a move away from breeding wild species for consumption, as part of the country’s crackdown on the wildlife trade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plans, published on May 15th, see Hunan and Jiangxi provinces provide an exit strategy for wildlife farmers who will be compensated to allow them to transition to alternative livelihoods such as growing fruit, vegetables, tea plants, or herbs for traditional Chinese medicine. Some may choose to switch to breeding other animals such as pigs and chickens.

On February 24th, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress banned wild animal consumption for food, and wildlife campaigners at Humane Society International hope that the province-sponsored buy-out plans will help to ensure the ban is a success.

Hunan province will offer farmers compensation to the tune of 120 yuan per kilogram of cobra, king rattle snake or rat snake; 75 yuan per kilogram of bamboo rat; 630 yuan per porcupine; 600 yuan per civet cat; and 378 yuan and 2,457 yuan per wild goose and Chinese muntjac deer respectively.

Dr Peter Li, Humane Society International’s China policy specialist, said: “By subsidising wildlife breeders to transition to alternative livelihoods, these provinces are demonstrating global leadership on this issue, which other provinces and countries must now follow. Chinese farmers not only have an opportunity to leave a trade that poses a direct threat to human health – something that can no longer be tolerated in light of COVID – but also to transition to more humane and sustainable livelihoods such as growing plant foods popular in Chinese cuisine. This is a model for change that Humane Society International has been putting into practice with dog meat farmers in South Korea for some years, with dog farmers transitioning over to farming chillies, mushrooms, and water parsley. In China you can easily imagine the vast sheds that once factory farmed bamboo rats and other unfortunate wildlife, being adapted to grow mushrooms and herbs instead.”

Dr Li believes the closure of China’s destructive wildlife consumption trade could have the advantageous consequence of boosting the availability of healthy plant-based foods, in line with China’s national dietary guidelines recommending a 50% reduction in meat consumption. “People in China are increasingly interested in plant-based foods, in fact, a more plant-centred diet is far more traditional than one based on wildlife meats, or intensively farmed domesticated animals, as Chinese cuisines have led the way with plant proteins such as tofu and seitan.”

The buy-out plan does have a blind spot, it does not include the vast number of wild animals bred in China not for consumption but for fur, traditional Chinese medicine and for entertainment/pet trade/display. China’s overall wildlife trade is worth around 520 billion yuan ($73 billion/£57 billion), but although global focus has understandably been on wildlife consumption trade worth 125 billion yuan ($18 billion/£14 billion), the largest proportion of China’s wildlife farming – the fur industry worth 389 billion yuan ($55 billion/£43billion) annually – is conspicuous by its absence from any COVID-19 related bans or buy-outs. In fact there are plans afoot in China to reclassify the millions of raccoon dogs, foxes and mink farmed for fur from “wildlife” to “livestock” as part of a new resource list by the Ministry of Agriculture, State Forestry and Grassland Bureau.

Dr Teresa Telecky, HSI’s vice president of wildlife, said: “Rebranding fur-bearing wildlife as livestock doesn’t alter the fact that there are insurmountable challenges to keeping these species in commercial captive breeding environments, and that their welfare needs simply can’t be met. In addition, there’s clear evidence that some of these species can act as intermediate hosts of viruses, such as COVID-19, which is why governments around the world must stop all trading in wildlife.”

As part of the buy-out plans in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, the fate of the wildlife stock is also a welfare issue of concern. There are three options proposed – release of animals into the wild in suitable and non-residential habitat; utilisation by other industries such as zoos, laboratory research, and traditional medicine; or mass culling.

HSI’s Dr Li said: “While the transition of wildlife farmers to other livelihoods is of course a very positive move for both people and animals, a really sad inevitable consequence of that is that a vast number of the wild animals being mass produced on farms across China will likely be culled or moved to other exploitative industries such as zoos and traditional medicine where animal welfare is typically extremely low and conditions woefully sub-standard. Culling programs in China and other countries in Asia can also involve truly barbaric methods such as live burial, and so we really hope to see the Chinese authorities mandating against such cruelty. The wild animal breeding farms and factories facing closure and transition must not sacrifice animal welfare in an effort to implement the new changes.”

Only farms that have been operating legally with breeding permits before February 24th are eligible for compensation. The initial roll-out covers 14 species of farmed wildlife. A second group of farmed species will be announced after the finalisation of the government’s “livestock” list.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media – whiggins@hsi.org

“There is no future in this dog meat industry,” says farmer Kim

Humane Society International / Global


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

SEOUL—More than 70 dogs found languishing on a South Korean dog meat farm by animal charity Humane Society International have been given a second chance by the farmer’s decision to quit the dog meat industry once and for all. Mr. Nakseon Kim has been breeding dogs for nearly 40 years, but he jumped at the chance to leave dog farming behind when HSI offered to help him start a new life growing cabbages and other vegetables instead.

Amid growing South Korean opposition to eating dogs and a series of new regulations and court rulings cracking down on the industry, farmers like Mr. Kim are increasingly looking for an exit strategy but with one request – to save their dogs. After years of sending the animals to slaughter, Mr. Kim is not the first farmer to be relieved to learn that HSI rescues, rehabilitates and seeks happy homes for all the dogs.

“It may sound odd but I started dog farming because I like dogs,” said Mr. Kim, “I’ve never actually been a big fan of dog meat myself. I had a few dogs so I began breeding them and when I had 20 or 30 I started to sell them because I thought it would be good money but it hasn’t really worked out that way. I earn nothing from this dog farm, and pressure from the government is increasing and it’s not a good business at all.”

On his property in Hongseong, Mr. Kim breeds tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers for two abusive industries – the meat trade and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs are destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade. Despite Korea’s dog meat industry attempting to claim a difference between pet dogs and “meat dogs”, the reality is they are all just dogs whose fate ultimately depends on where greatest profits can be made.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more. As Koreans we need to be their voice and call for an end to the dog farming and dog meat industries.”

Marking the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its farmer transition program began in 2015, all the dogs will eventually be flown to partner shelters in Canada and the United States to seek adoptive homes. First, they are being relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea while the organization waits for COVID-19 travel restrictions to relax. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

HSI hopes its model for change will hasten an end to the controversial and cruel industry by demonstrating to the Korean government that a farmer-supported phase out of farms can work.

Mr. Kim said: “It’s too much work and I’ve got too old to be doing this for no profit. I just want to get some rest from all of this now. I’ve had enough, especially now that I have to pay for dog food since the local school decided to stop giving me free kitchen waste. I don’t think there are many people in South Korea who are willing to run dog meat farms anymore. There is no future in this dog meat industry. Once HSI helps me close my dog farm, I think I will start to grow crops instead like lettuce, cabbage, or other greens to sell to restaurants. That’s a business with a future.”

Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. In 2018 both Indonesia and Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi pledged an end to the dog meat trade, and most recently in April 2020 the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai banned dog and cat meat consumption following a public statement by the Chinese government that dogs are considered companions and not livestock. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

Facts:   

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.

Download broll video and photos of the rescue.

ENDS

Media contacts
United Kingdom and international media: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423
United States: Nancy Hwa, nhwa@hsi.org, 1-202-596-0808
South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

Rescued dogs to be temporarily sheltered in Seoul

Humane Society International / Canada


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, February 8, 2020.

MONTREAL –More than 70 dogs found suffering by HSI on a hybrid dog meat farm and puppy mill in South Korea have been rescued and relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

Many of the dogs will eventually be flown to HSI/Canada’s Montreal emergency shelter, where over 450 dogs from the dog meat trade have been successfully rehabilitated before being placed in forever homes. This marks the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its pioneering dog meat farm transition program began in 2015.

Several breeds were found on this facility, including tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers. The facility supplied two abusive industries: the meat trade, and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs were destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade.

Émilie-Lune Sauvé, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada, stated: “We are so relieved to know that these dogs, who have endured such misery, are safe at last. But millions more are still confined on dog meat farms in South Korea and this industry needs to be shut down for good. We urge South Korea to follow the example of the two cities in China that have recently banned dog meat trade, and end this suffering forever.”

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, added: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more.”

Opposition to eating dogs is growing steadily in South Korea, and a series of new regulations and court rulings are cracking down on this cruel industry.

To download broll video and photos of the rescue, click here.

Facts:

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 surveyby Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.
  • Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

-30-

Media contact: Christopher Paré, Director of Communications, HSI/Canada – Cell: 438-402-0643, email: cpare@hsi.org

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at hsicanada.ca.

Humane Society International / South Korea


GlobalP/istockphoto.com

SEOUL—On this World Day for Animals in Laboratories, following chilling evidence of the suffering of cats in Korean laboratories, Humane Society International and the Korean Society for Alternative to Animal Experiments wish to acknowledge the pioneering scientists and institutions working to replace animal testing, and urge government ministries to increase their funding support for innovation and medical progress without animals.

HSI’s Senior Policy Manager Borami Seo said, “Across South Korea, scientists are striving to develop and use state-of-the-art approaches for research, instead of opting for outdated animal testing methods. Yet as we’ve seen again this week, many researchers are still stuck in the past, subjecting cats, dogs, pigs and millions of other animals to harmful experiments each year, often paid for with public tax money. It’s time to change the paradigm, and for our government to move away from funding animal research and instead reward our dedicated innovators who are advancing humane science.”

KSAAE President Dr Tae Cheon Jeong said, “As an academic society, we will try our best to provide expert support for researchers who want to move away from animal testing. We highly commend current endeavors and will continue to work together in advancing non-animal technology.”

Korean scientists are rapidly developing human-relevant methods to help understand human disease and identify faster and more effective approaches than relying on animal models. Seoul-based stem cell technology company Nexel recently published its research on Wilson’s disease, incorporating gene editing technology into human cell-based models for drug screening. This is a welcome development as millions of animals are used in gene editing experiments, with millions more animals used for creating and maintaining strains of genetically modified animals. Another Korean bio start-up company, Dana Green, is focusing on establishing human organ-mimetic models using 3D cell technology, aiming to develop next-generation technology that shows higher, more human-relevant prediction rates for drug development.

Korea Institute of Toxicology’s predictive toxicology department recently introduced ToxSTAR, a platform that allows high-speed chemical screening to predict toxicity. Another company, Biosolution, developed a human cornea model that can replace animal testing for various eye conditions, and has since been accepted as an official test method by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. However, despite rigorous validation and international recognition, this method is not yet widely used in Korea due to a lack of support from the government and industry to promote the method.

Similarly, the majority of laboratories certified as Good Laboratory Practice by the Ministry of Environment still use animals even though internationally recognized alternatives are readily available. According to chemnavi.or.kr, only four of 19 registered Korean contract testing facilities are currently providing alternative test services; Biotoxtech, AB Solution, ChemOn and Korea Testing & Research Institute. Of these, only KTR’s Alternative Testing Center is named as a GLP-certified service offering non-animal, human-based tests. Ellead Skin & Bio Research is certified by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for offering human reconstructed skin irritation tests. An industry source said that the company was not aware of any local testing facilities that provide non-animal test services until the HSI-driven amendment to Korea’s chemical law, K-REACH, was enacted. The law requires the Ministry of Environment and companies to minimize the use of vertebrate animals in the process of producing hazard information for chemicals, including prioritizing vertebrate animal alternative tests and sharing of existing chemical test data.

HSI is working with members of the National Assembly on further legal reforms that would require federal ministries that fund biology research to meaningfully fund the development of human-mimetic, non-animal models to replace animal testing in Korea as a mainstream activity.

END

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


sidsnapper/iStock.com

SEOUL—Humane Society International congratulates Assembly member Jeong-ae Han on the National Assembly’s passage of her amendment to the Chemical Consumer Products and Biocides law, promoting alternatives to animal testing.

Assembly member Han, who previously sponsored and helped to pass a similar bill revising the Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemical Substances (K-REACH) to prioritize alternative methods, said, “I am very pleased to see another major amendment prioritizing alternatives to animal testing. With the K-REACH amendment, we learned that policy support is very important not only for government authorities but to encourage chemical companies and research institutions to collaborate on the development of better and more humane safety tests for consumers. With these two amendments, it is my hope that Korean chemical industries will have the stimulus necessary to become global leaders in advancing ethical approaches for consumer safety.”

Han’s measure adds to existing law the principle of minimizing vertebrate animal testing and includes support and incentives for small- to medium-sized enterprises to avoid repeated animal testing and to develop and disseminate alternatives to vertebrate animal testing.

HSI’s Senior Policy Manager for Korea Borami Seo said, “Through stakeholder meetings with policymakers and others, HSI has been advocating for the inclusion of language in Korean chemical legislation that promotes the development and adoption of human-based approaches. Many Korean chemical industries support the idea of replacing animal testing with better predictive tools for chemical safety. We hope that with this bill, environmental authorities will provide strong implementation plans to accelerate the move away from animal testing.”

Background

Last December, Korea’s Presidential Advisory Council on Science & Technology published a report on chemical management that advises a shift away from animal testing toward a predictive paradigm based on molecular characterization of chemical activity. This includes supporting Adverse Outcome Pathway research and biotechnology such as omics-based data analysis (comprehensive genetic or molecular profile evaluation of human and nonhuman animals), 3D models or organ-on-a-chip.

In 2019, the US EPA announced that it will eliminate all mammal studies by 2035 and committed significant funding to advance non-mammalian safety testing, in order to “ensure production of human health and the environment.”

 

END

 

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International


Jiri Patava/iStock.com

SEOUL—Global animal welfare organization Humane Society International has presented a petition with 83,232 signatures against dog cloning to the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, urging the Ministry to permanently cease funding research to clone working dogs. HSI’s petition came in response to disturbing footage obtained by the Beagle Rescue Network in 2019, showing cloned dogs created through MAFRA-funded research being used for training in cruel conditions. After their rescue, one dog died as a result of multiple factors including obvious malnutrition and another dog is being treated with strong painkillers due to severe stress caused by the training

HSI’s Senior Policy Manager for Korea Borami Seo said, “As a proud Korean, I am deeply disturbed to learn that our government ministries have been using public tax money to fund frivolous animal cloning tests to breed sniffer dogs for airport security, and that they were doing so without regard for ethical or welfare concerns that are inherent in a highly experimental procedure like cloning. No other government among the OECD countries has funded cloning of sniffer dogs, nor should such experiments ever have been approved or funded in Korea. HSI, along with 83,232 supporters, urges MAFRA to pull the plug on this frivolous dog cloning research once and for all.”

MAFRA’s five-year Master Plan for Science and Technology published last December identified animal cloning technology as a strategic priority. Examples of publicly-funded projects in the past three years include customization and production of cloned dogs for Alzheimer’s and other human disease research, production of cloned pigs and the development of mass production technology for cloning black cattle for agricultural purposes.

Cloning is an invasive and distressing procedure that inflicts pain and suffering on many animals, not just the ‘end’ product clones. The process to create a single cloned animal is inefficient, potentially requiring hundreds of fertilized eggs, which are then implanted into surrogate mothers. Once they have played their part, the fate of the surrogates and the donor animals is often unknown.

Since the Beagle Rescue Network exposé, the MAFRA-funded sniffer dog cloning project has been suspended. MAFRA is currently revising Animal Protection Act regulations related to working dogs for testing, and HSI and others have called on the agency to prohibit any further cloning testing using working dogs.

*Further reading (Korean only): HSI’s statement on dog cloning for detection dogs

END

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Global


Plant-based dish
HSI

With the plant-based eating movement enjoying such momentum in 2019, this holiday season Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States invite you to celebrate in delicious, international plant-based style! Our colleagues around the world have chosen some of their favorite holiday recipes to share with you and your loved ones to kick off an even more humane 2020.

There are many reasons to eat more plant-based foods – for your health, for the animals and for the environment. This holiday season why not let plants take more of the starring role with some of our favorite recipes from around the globe.

Brazil: Festive rice

Treat your taste buds to the flavors of Brazil with this festive rice dish. This recipe is a simple one to prepare and can be made in advance and then warmed before serving. 

Canada: Stuffed acorn squash
Whether making this for yourself on a cozy night in or serving this to guests, our aromatic stuffed acorn squash is sure to be hit.

South Africa: Sweet and sour “chicken” and mushroom braai pie

Have you ever barbequed a pie? Try a taste of South Africa this holiday season with this sweet and sour “chicken” and mushroom braai pie! Fun fact: the term braai is Afrikaans for barbeque or grill, so fire up that grill and get braaing.

Southeast Asia: Mango delice

Mango sticky rice, although traditionally a Thai dessert, is immensely popular throughout Southeast Asia. Bring these tropical flavors into your home this holiday season with this mango delice—a delicate dessert sure to melt in your mouth!

United Kingdom: Mushroom chestnut and parsnip barley bake

Delight your guests over the holidays with a beautiful plant-based centerpiece. This recipe for a delicious mushroom chestnut and parsnip barley bake is bound to impress all your dinner guests.

United States: Old fashioned apple pie

Though it is said to have originated in England some 600 years ago, apple pie is a delicious American favorite. This classic dessert and comfort food is simple to make entirely plant-based.

Vietnam: Summer rolls with peanut sauce

In Vietnam, fried spring rolls (nem rán/chả giò) are always a signature feature of a festive meal. Try a healthier twist on this classic recipe with the bold, fresh flavors of summer rolls in a creamy peanut sauce.

Throughout the year, the food and nutrition teams of HSI and HSUS teach the culinary staff at schools, colleges and universities, workplaces, healthcare facilities and more how to prepare and menu tasty, nutritious and creative plant-based meals. In 2019 alone, HSI hosted more than 150 culinary events globally, training over 1,330 food service professionals across Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. For more information about these trainings, contact Stefanie McNerney at smcnerney@hsi.org. Since 2015, the HSUS has trained nearly 11,000 foodservice professionals and helped over 600 institutions throughout the United States adopt plant-based initiatives. To learn more about training benefits and opportunities, contact Maria Katrien Heslin at mheslin@humanesociety.org.