Most South Koreans would like to see non-animal testing methods used in research. | TS via Unsplash

More than 80 percent of South Koreans want to see an end to animal testing, according to a new Realmeter poll.

Animal protection organization the Humane Society International (HSI) commissioned the survey.

The results showed that more than 83 percent of South Koreans agree that the government should increase funding for replacements to animal testing. More than 81 percent said they want to see tax money spent on more research into non-animal methods.

According to HSI, in 2019, researchers in South Korea tested on more than 3.7 million animals.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs showed an increase of 187 percent in animal use for testing insecticides.

The statistics also showed a 115 percent increase in industrial chemical animal testing. There was a 77 percent increase in education and training animal experiments. There was a 40 percent increase in animal testing for pharmaceutical quality control.

Korean scientists are developing non-animal methods. However, these are not promoted by the government or in the industry.

The government does not promote internationally recognized alternative methods either, says HSI.

More than 81 percent of poll respondents said they would support legislation to promote alternative research. Later this year, South Korea’s National Assembly will review a bill that would promote non-animal testing methods.

New scientific methods can replace animal testing.

‘Regulatory Framework Biased Towards Animal Testing’

“South Korea’s scientists are at the forefront of efforts to develop superior non-animal methods,” said Borami Seo, HSI Korea’s senior policy manager for research and toxicology, in a statement. “Without a legal framework to promote the use of these methods, they are all too often being ignored.”

They continued: “Despite all this innovation, Korea’s regulatory framework is still biased towards the old ways of animal testing, which isn’t benefitting animal welfare or human health. That has to change.”

They added that the opinion poll “clearly shows” that the majority of South Koreans agree that it’s time for the government to promote non-animal testing methods.

“We urge our government to become a global leader in non-animal science,” said Seo. “Not only to protect animals from suffering. But also to accelerate more effective and predictive product safety and medical research for the benefit of the public.”