Animal Liberation Wave (ALW) has filed a lawsuit against a professor of Kyungpook National University (KNU) in Daegu, South Korea, for preparing false official documents, obstructing performance of the official duties of KNU’s Animal Testing Ethics Committee, failure to fully consider alternative methods prior to reproductive testing, and animal abuse.
Animal Liberation Wave (ALW) and Last Chance for Animals (LCA) revealed that KNU Veterinary Science Department have used dogs purchased from Chilsung dog meat market for repetitive breeding practice. The case highlights the fact that South Korea’s notorious dog meat trade not only drives dog to brutal slaughter but also operates as a cheap, unlawful channel for universities to source dogs for painful animal experiments.
The reality of breeding testing at KNU’s Veterinary Science Department was first revealed in August, thanks to the whistleblowing of a student taking an Obstetric Practice course who contacted ALW. The course, designed to teach students about reproductive physiology, required them to perform repeated vaginal cell tests on five female dogs and breed them during mating period. After public outcry about the course being unethical and irresponsible, the university decided to stop the practice.
The University dropped the course in September. At the time it was unknown where the five female dogs came from and whether or not the procedure was properly approved by the university’s animal experiment ethics committee. In response to ALW’s official request for disclosing related information, KNU officially replied that all animal testing in the university is conducted after the ethics committee’s approval and the dogs, neither stray nor farm dogs, were sourced from Seoul Animal Center.
With the help of MP Kim Hae-young, Kyungpook National University later admitted that a live dog vendor operating in Chilsung Dog Market in the city of Daegu was the actual source of the dogs, not Seoul Animal Center. The professor of the course seems to had covered up the actual source in all relevant documents to avoid possible public criticism that could arise from purchasing dogs from dog meat markets to use for testing. The act of covering up the source could lead to punishment of preparing false official documents.
Chilsung Dog Market in Deagu, where the dogs were sourced into KNU, is considered to be the next market to close after the Gupo Livestock Market, the largest in Busan, was shut down in July. Every year, one million dogs are estimated to be born, raised and slaughtered in South Korea’s dog meat trade.
In addition, a dog named “Health” who was continuously used for testing, died recently in the university’s dog housing facility. South Korea’s current Animal Protection Act bans “killing an animal with animals of the same kind present at the scene.”ALW and LCA will follow up the death with legal actions.
ALW’s founder and co-president Lee Jiyen said, “As this KNU case suggests, the South Korean dog meat trade not only provides dogs for their meat, but also provides dogs – our companion animals – for testing in laboratories. The only way to protect our four-legged companion animals is for the government to step up and phase out the country’s brutal dog meat trade.”
Featured image: dogs for sale in Korea’s Moran Market. Image credit Stephen Wilson, CC BY-SA 2.0.