SEOUL—Humane Society International/Korea and 346 South Korean academic and industry experts delivered a letter to the chair of National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee, Dong Kun Shin, urging the Korean government to pass bills promoting state-of-the-art science replacing animal testing.
Through a series of political forums to discuss these bills with authorities and wider stakeholders in the past few years, a general agreement has been established that South Korea is at a pivotal moment in advancing health and safety science without relying on animal models. To achieve this, the bills stipulate collaborative work between authorities by providing a basic plan every five years. In addition, a committee consisting of experts in alternative approaches to animal testing will be established pursuant to the Act.
One of the signatories of the letter, Professor Kyungmin Lim, at Ehwa University said: “As a researcher, I work closely with new method developers and end-users. I experience time and time again the need to have a legislation in Korea to support those scientists and a relevant network for collective efforts in developing and accepting alternative approaches to animal use.”
HSI/Korea’s director of government affairs, Borami Seo said: “There is an increasing interest in using modern technologies that are more predictive of human responses than animal models. Last May, ’Korea’s innovative strategic industry committee’ selected the cell-based human mimetic method organoid as an ‘innovative strategic technology’ and promised research and development support. We are witnessing an increasing demand for these technologies, and the PAAM Act and VAAM Act are exactly the bills that are crucial to ensure these research and development efforts lead to its regulatory uptake and industrial use in the field. Now is a critical time to pass this legislation.”
Humane Society International/Korea urges swift legislation to ‘close this miserable chapter in Korea’s history and embrace a dog friendly future’
Humane Society International / South Korea
SEOUL—In an historic announcement, the South Korean government has stated that before the end of this year it will introduce a bill to ban the dog meat industry, which sees up to 1 million dogs a year farmed and killed for human consumption. At a meeting in Seoul today between the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, representatives of the ruling Peoples Power Party and Korean animal groups including Humane Society International/Korea, a government bill was confirmed with a three-year phase out period once legislation is passed, meaning the ban would come into effect in 2027.
Compensation will be offered to help legally registered dog meat farmers, traders, slaughterers and restaurant owners transition or close their businesses, similar to the Models for Change program run by HSI/Korea, which has worked with 18 dog farmers across the country since 2015 to switch to growing chili plants or parsley delivering water and other livelihoods.
This news follows considerable public and political momentum for a ban, including the introduction of five legislative bills by National Assembly Members. The news is welcomed by HSI/Korea, one of the leading animal groups campaigning for an end to dog meat nationwide.
JungAh Chae, executive director of Humane Society International/Korea, who attended the meeting with MAFRA, says: “News that the South Korean government is at last poised to ban the dog meat industry is like a dream come true for all of us who have campaigned so hard to end this cruelty. Korean society has reached a tipping point where most people now reject eating dogs and want to see this suffering consigned to the history books. With so many dogs needlessly suffering for a meat that hardly anyone eats, the government’s bill delivers a bold plan that must now urgently be passed by the Assembly so that a legislative ban can be agreed as soon as possible to help South Korea close this miserable chapter in our history and embrace a dog friendly future.”
With growing concern for animal welfare, and over 6 million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled. Latest opinion polls by Nielsen Korea commissioned by HSI/Korea show that 86% of South Koreans won’t eat dog meat in the future and 57% support a ban.
HSI recognizes that a short phase out period is an inevitable consequence of dismantling the trade and helping farmers and traders transition to other livelihoods. However, HSI urges the government to use the phase out period to work with animal welfare groups like HSI/Korea to rescue as many dogs as possible in a state-sponsored, co-ordinated effort.
HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has rescued more than 2,700 dogs from dog farms across South Korea who have found adoptive homes in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with a small number rehomed in South Korea. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs.
Kitty Block and Jeff Flocken, respectively CEO and president of HSI globally, issue a joint statement, saying: “This is a momentous day for HSI’s campaign to end the horrors of the dog meat industry in South Korea, and one we have been hoping to see for a very long time. Having been to dog meat farms and seen HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program in action, we know only too well the suffering and deprivation these desperate animals endure in the name of an industry for whom history has now thankfully called time. This is the beginning of the end of dog meat farming in South Korea, and HSI stands ready to contribute our expertise until every cage is empty.”
Dog meat facts:
Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup (bosintang) will cool the body and build stamina during the hot summer, particularly during Bok Nal season spanning July and August, still holds with some, especially the older generation.
Most dogs slaughtered for meat in South Korea are killed by electrocution although some are also hanged.
Dog meat is banned (with varying degrees of enforcement) in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, Siem Reap province in Cambodia, and 32 cities and regencies as well as the province of DKI Jakarta in Indonesia.
Despite these growing bans, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat across Asia.
With four legislative bills and bipartisan support for a ban, poll shows significant support among traditional older consumers
Humane Society International / South Korea
SEOUL―The vast majority of South Koreans (86%) have little to no intention of consuming dog meat in the future, regardless of their past consumption, according to a new survey by Nielsen Korea commissioned by animal group Humane Society International/Korea. A majority (57%) support a ban on the dog meat industry, and around 65% of those polled expect to see an end to dog meat consumption in less than two years. Animal cruelty is the top reason for those supporting a ban (53%) with almost 50% (49.7%) citing unsanitary conditions of dog meat production as the main motivator.
The results of the “2023 Dog Meat Consumption and Attitude Survey” are released amid a surge in political discussions on banning the dog meat industry in South Korea. Four legislative bills for a ban have been proposed, and 44 members of the National Assembly― including Han Jeong-ae of the Democratic Party of Korea and Lee Heon-seung of the People Power Party―have supported a parliamentary resolution to end the dog meat industry. Recently, First Lady Kim Geon-hee once again emphasised her commitment to a ban, joining Korean animal welfare groups including HSI/Korea at a press conference last month.
The most significant attitude shift seen in the Nielsen/HSI survey is observed among people in their 40s and 50s, traditionally considered the primary consumers of dog meat. According to the survey, negative perceptions of dog meat and a heightened empathy for the well-being of all dogs have increased in this age group since last year. For example, 73% of people in their 50s now express the view that all dogs―whether pets or on dog meat farms― should be protected, and 64% in this age category cite animal cruelty as their main reason for supporting a ban on the dog meat industry.
Sangkyung Lee, dog meat campaign manager for HSI/Korea, said: “As politicians from all parties are showing support for a ban on the dog meat industry, our survey clearly shows that they have the backing of the Korean people, the vast majority of whom don’t eat dog meat. The cruelty of the dog meat industry is the top reason cited for supporting a ban, with the unsanitary conditions the second highest motivating factor, both figures that we believe will continue to rise as people become increasingly aware of the animal suffering and lack of hygiene inherent in the dog meat industry. HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has successfully worked with 18 dog meat farmers so far to permanently close their farms and help them transition to alternative, humane livelihoods. Our work demonstrates that cooperation with dog meat farmers is possible and that an end to this industry can be a win:win for both people and dogs. Legislative efforts by lawmakers and the government are now urgently needed for the passage of a dog meat ban into law.”
Overview of main findings:
86% say they will not or probably will not consume dog meat in the future.
54% say they have never eaten dog meat (and will not do so in the future).
57% support a ban on the dog meat industry.
53% overall (and 64% of those in their 50s) cite animal cruelty as their top reason for a dog meat industry ban.
7% cite unsanitary conditions as their top reason for a dog meat industry ban.
68% overall (and 73% of those in their 50s) believe all dogs, whether so-called “meat dogs” or pets, deserve equal care and protection.
This survey was conducted online in August 2023, targeting 1,500 respondents aged 18 to 59, considering gender, age and regional demographics, with margin of error +-2.53%.
Media contact: Wendy Higgins, HSI’s director of international media: firstname.lastname@example.org
Humane Society International / South Korea
SEOUL—South Korea’s annual statistics on scientific use of animals reveal a record-high 4,995,680 in 2022, continuing an alarming upward trend. This is the highest number of animal use since the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs started publishing the statistics in 2012.
The animal protection group Humane Society International/Korea condemns the steady increase in animal testing and calls for substantial and immediate action to position human-relevant approaches as the gold standard in Korean regulatory and bio-science testing. Nearly half of animals used in 2022 were subjected to the most severe category of experiment in which they are denied anesthetic or tranquilizing drugs while being exposed to massive doses of chemicals or used for cancer or infectious disease studies that will result in their deaths.
The 2022 statistical information also shows that animals are used most frequently in areas such as regulatory testing, basic research and translational research. For all these areas, there are immediately available alternatives to animal methods or non-animal methodologies that can be applied, such as human cell-based skin testing methods. Despite available approaches without using animals, the number of newly opened animal testing facilities also increased from 2021 to 2022.
HSI/Korea’s director of government affairs, Borami Seo, said: “This report shows that Korean bio-science is stuck in the past, heavily relying on animal testing despite new human mimetic methodologies emerging without animal use. We urge lawmakers to pass legislation that will support science without animal suffering. This will be critical in placing South Korea in the center of the rising global trend to advance human health studies and treatment.”
Globally, studies such as organ-on-a-chip or organoid are receiving increasing attention because they have been shown to sometimes real-world predict human-biology based outcomes more accurately than the results that are obtained from animal models. While there are sporadic funding opportunities by central governments to study these non-animal approaches, HSI/Korea argues that a legislative system is necessary to support not only such research efforts, but also to ensure adaptation by regulatory authorities and use at the industrial level. Currently there are two bills introduced at the National Assembly, the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination, and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods, sponsored by Assembly member In-soon Nam and the Act on the Vitalization of Development, Dissemination, and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods, sponsored by Assembly member Jeoung-Ae Han.
SEOUL—South Korean lawmakers gathered at the country’s National Assembly today for the opening of an exhibition in support of a legislative ban on the dog meat industry, co-hosted by the Animal Welfare Forum, Humane Society International/Korea and National Assembly members Young-ho Tae and Jeong-hoon Jo.
The “Beyond Prejudice: For the Passage of a Dog Meat Ban bill” exhibition opened with presentations from National Assembly members In-soon Nam, Young-seok Suh and Minjeong Ko as well as Seoul Council member, Ji-hyang Kim who recently introduced a Seoul city ordinance amendment bill to ban dog meat in the city, and said at the event, “Dog meat practice has to stop now. Now is the opportunity, supported by cross party politicians.”
HSI/Korea’s director of government affairs, Borami Seo, spoke about the compelling animal welfare and societal case for phasing out the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs for human consumption. The event took place on the eve of Cho Bok, the first of the three hottest days of the summer according to the lunar calendar when dog meat is most popular.
Democratic Party Assembly member Jeoung-ae Han spoke about the Special Act legislative bill she introduced on June 28, which seeks to prohibit dog meat farms, dog slaughterhouses and the sale of dog meat. Jeoung-ae Han said at the event “I hope to see all cross parties come together to tackle the dog meat problem during this National Assembly session.” National Assembly member In-soon Nam said, “This Special Act seeks to support farmers with alternatives to help close down the farms. With the passage of this bill, dog meat farms can change to humane practices and dogs will be given second chance to meet families.”
The bill also advocates for supporting dog farmers to transition to alternative businesses, similar to HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program which since 2015 has worked co-operatively with dog farmers keen to exit the industry. HSI/Korea has so far permanently closed down 18 dog farms, rescued more than 2,700 dogs for adoption overseas, and helped farmers switch to alternative, humane and more sustainable livelihoods, including crop harvesting, chili plant cultivation and water delivery.
Borami Seo, HSI/Korea director of government affairs, says: “We have reached a tipping point in South Korea where the majority of the general public do not eat dog meat and want to see an end to the dog meat industry. As Koreans we are entering a new relationship with dogs based on friendship and compassion, and in this new relationship the breeding, slaughtering and sale of dogs for human consumption can no longer continue. For almost a decade, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has demonstrated that it is possible to work with dog farmers to phase out this cruel industry. Now we look to our legislators to finish the job by introducing a ban to end this unnecessary suffering for good.”
The exhibition is being supported by South Korea’s TV veterinarian Seol Chae Hyun who sent the following comment: “As a veterinarian, I pledged an oath to the welfare of animals, their relief from pain from disease and for the promotion of public health. None of these things are compatible with the dog meat industry. We have a duty to care for our canine companions, and that includes ending their needless suffering on dog meat farms. ”
This exhibition comes at a time of increasing public and political support for ending the dog meat industry in South Korea. First lady Kim Keon-hee has openly called for a ban, and latest opinion surveys by Nielsen Korea commissioned by HSI/Korea show that 87.5% of the population don’t eat dog meat or won’t in the future, and 56% support a legislative ban.
Support a recently introduced bill to end the dog meat industry
Humane Society International / South Korea
SEOUL―South Korean Democratic Party Assembly Member Jeoung-ae Han has today introduced a legislative bill that seeks to eliminate the dog meat industry by outlawing the breeding and slaughter of dogs for human consumption, including prohibiting dog meat farms, dog slaughterhouses and the sale of dog meat throughout South Korea, and supporting dog farmers to transition to alternative businesses. The bill, called a Special Act, comes after HSI/Korea has been working behind the scenes with Korean lawmakers on a legislative ban. Since 2015 HSI/Korea Models for Change program has worked with dog farmers to permanently close down 18 farms, rescue more than 2,700 dogs, and help farmers transition to alternative livelihoods such as water delivery or chilli plant cultivation.
The Special Act―supported by 11 bipartisan sponsors―comes at a time of increasing public and political support for ending the dog meat industry in South Korea. First lady Kim Keon-hee has openly called for a ban, and latest opinion surveys by Nielsen Korea commissioned by HSI/Korea show that 87.5% of the population don’t eat dog meat or won’t in the future, and 56% support a legislative ban. In December 2021, the government formed a task force to bring forward recommendations on the issue, but after repeated delays, Assembly member Han and HSI/Korea have come together to advance this Special Act to accelerate a phase out.
Han says: “According to the Food Sanitation Act, dog meat is not considered food therefore this cruel industry already operates contrary to the law. It is therefore imperative that this Special Act is made law to end the farming, slaughtering, processing and sale of dogs for consumption. Dog meat not only causes unnecessary animal suffering, it also threatens public health due to the unhygienic conditions. We urgently need this Special Act to end dog meat industry and provide transition support for farmers.”
An estimated one million dogs are still intensively bred on thousands of farms across the country, typically in extremely low-welfare conditions. The dogs are kept in small, barren, wire cages without proper food, water, stimulation, comfort, shelter or veterinary care. Painful skin and eye infections are common, as are diseases and untreated injuries and wounds from fighting due to boredom, frustration and limited resources, such as food. While most dogs are born on the farms, abandoned pets are commonly found still wearing their collars when taken to slaughter, or rejects from the pet breeding industry. Death is typically by electrocution.
Borami Seo, director of government affairs at HSI/Korea who works closely with lawmakers to achieve legislation, says: “This is an historic day for animal welfare in South Korea which hopefully marks the beginning of the end for the dog meat industry in our country. It’s clear that there is significant societal and political momentum to end South Korea’s dog meat era once and for all. This Special Act aims to establish the state plan to end the dog meat industry and offer farmers business transition opportunities that will also see an end to the abuse and suffering of hundreds of thousands of dogs each year for a meat that most people in Korea do not wish to eat. Dog meat consumption may have been a part of Korea’s past, but it has no place in our future. HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program provides a working blueprint for how we can phase out this industry in co-operation instead of conflict with farmers. It’s now time for our legislators to pass this Special Act so that together we can consign this dying industry to the history books.”
Article 6 of the Special Act provides for the establishment of a plan to close dog meat farms and associated businesses and support their transition. Pursuant to this clause, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs shall include in the plan how protection will be provided for dogs from those farms that elect to close within five years of the Act becoming law. Article 8 provides the legal grounds to set up a committee to end the dog meat industry under the government, comprising up to 25 representatives from relevant ministries and other stakeholders.
If the bill passes, financial support will be provided to close or transition legally registered dog farms, and mirroring HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program, participating farmers will be provided with subsidies to support their transition, as well as career change training or guidance.
The full ban on the breeding and slaughter of dogs for human consumption would come into effect five years after the law is passed.
SEOUL—Animal protection organization Humane Society International Korea (HSI/Korea) welcomes the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s announcement of a phaseout of the use of horseshoe crab blood for toxicity tests. Alternatives are available, and a synthetic recombinant Factor C (rFC) will be used instead of wild-caught horseshoe crab blood.
The horseshoe crab is a blue-blooded marine species, more ancient than dinosaurs. Now, its population having dwindled, it is endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Capture and bleeding for pharmaceutical use has not helped, as an extract of horseshoe crab’s blood, Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) is used to test the toxicity of some biological products. To obtain that extract, horseshoe crabs have been the target of human catch for many years and the entire ecosystem associated with them has been put under severe stress.
Humane concerns about how horseshoe crabs are caught, transported and restrained to extract a significant amount of blood, a process which involves long periods out of the water, has helped drive the use of rFC as an alternative. Use of the alternative will alleviate the threats to the ecosystem of which horseshoe crabs are a part. More specifically, it will ensure that the flow of essential materials (reagents) for the testing of biopharmaceutical products will continue uninterrupted, independently of horseshoe crabs’ numbers, with a more sustainable, validated and consistent methodology. It will guarantee that drugs, biological products, including vaccines and medical equipment, will be available and released on time.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s announcement places South Korea on the same plane as other regions (Europe and North America) and countries (Japan, China) that recognize or provide guidance on the use of rFC.
HSI/Korea Director, Government Affairs Borami Seo said “We welcome the government’s decision to accept this horseshoe crab replacement method at a regulatory level. It is important to update regulatory guidelines with more scientific, non-animal replacement methods. However, its implementation also should be emphasized to ensure wide use of the new method. We urge the authority to provide support for industry to actively adopt the rFC method.”
Media contact: Borami Seo, director of HSI/Korea; email@example.com
Award-winning photographer Sophie Gamand and HSI/Korea aim to show the dogs’ beauty and resilience one month ahead of the annual Bok Nal dog meat ‘season’
Humane Society International / South Korea
SEOUL―Stunning portraits of dogs rescued from South Korea’s dog meat trade will have their Seoul debut in an exhibition called Beyond Prejudice by award-winning French photographer Sophie Gamand and Humane Society International/Korea.
The 30 dogs featured in the portraits—including Juliette, a golden retriever adopted by “Wheel of Time” actor Daniel Henney―were all once confined in barren cages or chained on dog meat farms in South Korea, but were rescued and adopted overseas thanks to HSI/Korea. Each dog wears an elaborate personalized, handmade collar created by Gamand to symbolize the love and care these dogs now receive as cherished family companions.
This unique exhibition comes to the Seoul Metro Art Centre in Gyeongbokgung Station from May 28 to June 1, which is just over a month before the start of Bok Nal when dog meat consumption typically increases in South Korea, and at a time of considerable political and social momentum for a ban on the dog meat industry. First lady Kim Keon Hee recently reiterated her desire for a dog meat ban, and both the ruling PPP party and the main opposition Democratic Party have expressed their support for legislative reform. Latest polling by Nielsen Korea commissioned by HSI/Korea also show that the vast majority of Koreans (87.5%) have either never eaten dog meat or don’t intend to do so in the future, and a growing majority (56%) support a ban.
HSI/Korea hopes that Gamand’s portraits will help challenge unfounded negative perceptions of “meat dogs” as soulless in the same way that her 2014-2022 photo series Pit Bull Flower Power was instrumental in transforming the public image of pit bulls seeking adoption at U.S. shelters.
Sangkyung Lee, Korea dog meat campaign manager for HSI/Korea, says: “As Korea considers a ban on the dog meat industry, our rescue portraits provide a timely reminder that behind the bars of every cage on these dog meat farms are remarkable dogs every bit as precious as our own canine companions. Sophie Gamand’s portraits celebrate the true beauty of these dogs, all of whom would have been killed for meat had it not been for rescue by HSI/Korea. We hope that by introducing Korean people to dogs like Juliette, Abby, Gregg, Comet and Jayu we can all feel inspired to work together to end the dog meat industry for good.”
It is estimated that up to 1 million dogs a year are intensively bred for human consumption in South Korea. In addition to tosas and Jindo crosses, breeds typically associated with the dog meat trade in Korea, all breeds of dogs can be found on dog meat farms including Labradors, huskies, beagles and spaniels. HSI/Korea invited Gamand to help showcase the resilience, beauty and individuality of these dogs, rebranding them as the true survivors that they are.
Sophie Gamand says: “When I visited a dog meat farm in 2019 with HSI in Korea, I found it a profoundly moving experience. It truly opened my eyes to both the disturbing conditions in which these dogs exist, and the resilience they constantly show despite their suffering. I’m immensely thrilled and proud to be bringing this dog meat trade survivor portrait exhibition to Seoul, particularly at a time where there has been much political momentum towards a dog meat industry ban. I want people to see these dogs for the strong and beautiful beings that they are. I created handmade collars for these survivors because dog collars are a powerful symbol of love, commitment and care which is what these extraordinary dogs deserve.”
This inspiring exhibition also introduces visitors to HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program which works cooperatively with dog meat farmers to help them close their farms and transition to more humane and sustainable livelihoods such as chili plant or parsley growing.
Actor Daniel Henney says: “I’m immensely proud that my dog Juliette is one of the dog meat trade survivors featured in Sophie Gamand’s portrait project for Humane Society International/Korea. My beautiful Juliette started life on a dog meat farm in South Korea, so it’s very special for me to know that her portrait will be part of the exhibition in Seoul. I hope to see a complete end to the dog meat trade in South Korea. I think it’s not a matter of if, but when it will happen.”
The Beyond Prejudice portrait collection will be available for public view free of charge at the Seoul Metro Museum in Gyeongbokgung Station from May 28–June 1, 2023.
KOREA—A joint public-private discussion forum will take place on Feb. 8 at the National Assembly to request the swift enactment of a bill proposed to advance animal-free approaches in science.
The forum discussion entitled “An era that runs tests with novel technologies instead of animals” is hosted by the National Assembly Animal Welfare Forum and organized by Humane Society International/Korea, and Reps. Nam In-soon and Lee Joo-hwan. It takes place at the National Office Members’ Office Building from 2-4:30 p.m. on Feb. 8.
A number of domestic and overseas experts will be joining the discussion to share the past cases of public-private collaborative efforts in working to replace animal testing. The forum will start with HSI/Korea’s director of government affairs Borami Seo providing an introduction on the status on the PAAM Act—the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods. This will be followed by a session led by Dr. Lorna Ewart, chief scientific officer of Boston-based life science company Emulate, who will share examples of public-private cooperation in developing organ-on-a-chip technologies. Jae-ho Oh, director of the Korean Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods, will then provide a presentation of related activities.
In the closing discussion session led by Ewha Womans University Pharmaceutical Sciences Prof. Kyung Min-Lim, a range of experts will share their thoughts and ideas on non-animal test methods. The experts include:
Nam-geun Song, head of the Animal Welfare and Environment Policy Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Jung-kwan Seo, a director with the Risk Assessment Division at the National Institute of Environmental Research. Young-ji Kim, a director at the Division of Regenerative Medicine Policy’s Regenerative Medicine Innovation Task Force at the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Young-jin Song, a director with the Bio-Convergence Industry Division at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Tae-ho Lee, deputy director of the Bioscience Technology Division at the Ministry of Science and ICT.
Young-jin Ahn, director of the Clinical Trials Division at the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
Young-jae Cho, a professor at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.
Bae-hwan Kim, chairman of the Korea Society for Alternatives to Animal Experiments.
HSI/Korea’s Borami Seo said: “As cases of public-private cooperation have proven critical in the process of developing many innovative technologies in the past, technological development through such cooperation is crucial in the case of animal-free testing. Korea recognizes the importance of animal-free testing and has actively conducted technology research efforts in this area. However, the lack of cooperative working structures among ministries and the absence of a legal basis have prevented public-private cooperative efforts from taking place, which has caused difficulties in nurturing the industry. By co-organizing this event, HSI/Korea is excited to provide an opportunity for related ministries to share their ideas and emphasize the importance of public-private cooperation, by opening a channel for communication towards the enactment of the PAAM Act.”
Dr. Lorna Ewart said: “With the advancement of human relevant technologies that are more predictive than two dimensional cell culture or animal testing, companies must be willing to invest in research and development, as well as commercialization efforts, while working hand-in-hand with regulatory agencies. To bring efficient, accurate and safe preclinical testing models to the world market, Korea must initiate and integrate these actions.”
Research and development efforts for creating and commercializing human analog models, organ-on-a-chip, organoid, 3D-printing-used tissue reconstruction, computer modeling and big data analysis have gained speed worldwide. Both the public and private sectors are encouraged to make investments to make technological development more effective and efficient.
Korea has also been working to support infrastructural expansion of animal-free testing methods by joining forces with centers for the validation of alternative methods in the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe. Yet despite this effort, problems of duplicating R&D budgets, difficulties of commercializing new technologies and the absence of a validation system due to the lack of cooperative working structures persist in Korea. The situation has drawn the National Assembly Budget Office and many experts to request more efficient R&D cycle management and administrative innovation.
Since consensus was reached on the need to advance a bill on promoting the development, dissemination and use of animal-free testing methods, a cross-ministerial discussion forum was held on the topic at the National Assembly in 2019, followed by the Korea Legislative Research Institute’s research study on the need for the bill the same year.
After expert opinions were gathered for such a bill to be drafted in 2020, two bills on promoting animal-free testing methods were proposed and are awaiting review at the National Assembly. The first was proposed by Rep. In-soon Nam in December 2020, and the second was proposed by Rep. Jeoung-ae Han two years later in December 2022.