South Korea will no longer require toxin testing of mice and guinea pigs

South Korea no longer requires animals to be used in toxicity tests, following a decision by the country’s Ministry of Food and Medicine.

Testing for abnormal blood pressure (ATT) has been around since the 1950s. It has been used to identify potential irritants and contaminants in pharmaceutical and biological products. These include medicines and vaccines. Testing is a quality control system for multiple items that will be in contact with multiple customers.

Live mice and guinea pigs were fed or injected with potential new products to see what damage they caused. Internal organ effects were specifically investigated, requiring the death of all test subjects.

In recent years, the validity of such experiments has been scrutinized. This has led the World Health Organization to recommend the end of ATT in 2018. As a result, Canada, the EU and the United States have all made the test optional.


The Humane Society International (HSI) supported the decision to remove the mandatory ATT in South Korea.

“We welcome this long-awaited amendment that eliminates outdated animal testing,” Borami Seo, HSI Korea’s senior policy manager, said in a statement.

He continued: “This test is required for legal purposes despite the evidence showing the lack of science. Korea has a demonstrated ability to adopt and improve rapidly advancing technology. ”

“We hope that in this important step, Korea will move faster, showing its commitment to developing new technologies and revising regulatory guidelines in an animal-friendly manner.”

South Korea’s relationship with animal experimentation

In 2016, South Korea announced a ban on animal testing for cosmetics. The Korean National Assembly passed a historic bill to prevent companies from testing products or ingredients late in 2018.

The ban was implemented two years earlier. After years of collaboration between Cruelty Free International and representative Jeong-Lim Moon, who liaised with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

However, the ban left a loophole that allowed animal testing to continue. This became evident in 2019, after the report of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The report said 2,106 animals suffered from “toxicity and other safety assessments”. The test was carried out under the “law related to cosmetics” in 2018, after the ban was put in place.

The report also revealed that 24,353 animals were used as test subjects under “laws relating to industrial chemicals”.

Gorodenkoff Productions OU Despite the widespread disapproval of animal testing, the experiment is still common throughout the world

Consumers in South Korea want to see greater protection for animals. In 2020, Eurogroup for Animals reported that the Realmeter poll, conducted by HSI, found that more than 83 percent of people want the government to fund animal experiments.

Additionally, 81 percent would like to see tax dollars spent on finding non-animal testing methods.

In February of this year, a ban on the distribution and sale of cosmetics tested on animals (including ingredients) came into effect as an amendment to the South Korean Cosmetics Law. Again, loopholes allow animal testing when it is deemed too difficult to simplify the choice.

Global movement away from animal testing

South Korea is not alone in getting rid of mandatory animal testing in recent months. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) recently confirmed that it is also taking significant action.

Previously, chemicals had to be tested on shaved rabbits to determine if they could cause burns. However, the DOT now recognizes that animals should not be part of the special process. (The ban on animal testing has not yet been implemented.)

Meanwhile, more than 1.4 million EU citizens have signed the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to call for a complete ban on animal testing in the cosmetics industry. Several animal rights groups, including Cruelty-Free Europe and Eurogroup for Animals, launched the ECI after claims that loopholes allowed testing to continue, despite the ban.

A global coalition plans to remove ATT from the manufacturing process of vaccines and biological products. A recent workshop to review ongoing progress, with meeting notes published there Science Directannounced that 28 countries, including South Korea, are actively participating.