Rise in animal research in South Korea in 2017

The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (APQA) of South Korea has released its animal research numbers for 2017. We spoke to the Animal Protection & Welfare Division and have been able to get a translated copy of these figures. The tables below were produced by the APQA, and we thank Dr Moon for providing these figures. For more information of animal research around the world see our Worldwide Statistics page.

In 2017, South Korea used 3,085,259 animals in research, up 7.2% from the previous year.

South Korea animal research
Number of animals used in experiments in South Korea in 2017 by species [Click to Enlarge]
Over 97% of animals were rodents (mainly mice and rats), fish and birds. There were rises in rodents (+8%), birds (+32%) and amphibians (+50%) and falls in fish (-13%), rabbits (-3%) and primates (-6%).

Primates accounted for just 0.08% of all animals used.

Click to Enlarge

South Korea continues to produce severity statistics, similar to those in Europe. 5.3% of research showed no harm to the animal, 28.1% was mild, 33.2% was moderate and was 33.3% severe. This is very similar to last year’s figures. The grading works (approximately) as follows:

  • Grade B: Breeding (Genetically altered and normal) and maintenance of vertebrate animals
  • Grade C: Experiments that do not involve pain or suffering, and do not require anesthetics or analgesics
  • Grade D: Experiments that may involve pain or suffering that is alleviated through anesthetics and/or analgesics
  • Grade E: Experiments that may involve pain or suffering that is not alleviated through anesthetics and/or analgesics

The number of animals used in research has continued to rise steadily over the last decade, up 305%, rising at a fairly steady rate of over 250,000 animals per year. To see why, take a look at a graph, produced by Nature, on the growth of R&D in South Korea over the same period.

From Nature: Why South Korea is the world’s biggest investor in research

The huge rise in spending on basic and applied research means that animal experiments were likely to rise (and did) over the same period. In 2013, South Korea had more researchers per thousand people in employment (12.84) than Japan (10.19), the USA  (8.81) or Germany (8.54). Medical and health sciences were the largest discipline (by publications) in South Korea (see Nature article).

See previous years’ reports:

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