Lab Anim Res.  2023 Jun;39(2):91-99. 10.1186/s42826-023-00161-8.

Use of laboratory animals and issues regarding the procurement of animals for research in Korea

  • 1Department of Pet Health, Kwangju Women’s University, Gwangju 62396, Korea
  • 2Laboratory Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
  • 3School of Dentistry and Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea


Laboratory animals remain critical to biomedical research, despite the increasing availability of alternative approaches. Indeed, scientists strive to reduce and refine and replace the use of laboratory animals, even in the face of public calls for ever-more stringent regulation for the protection and care of animals in research. This report outlines the current status and legal regulatory issues with regard to the procurement and use of animals for research in Korea.
The number of animals used for education and research purposes was increased nationwide, from 2.5 to 4.9 million in 2015 and 2021, respectively. When compared with figures from the UK, institutions in Korea were found to use more mammals such as mice and dogs. In our research, we identified three major issues concerning recent animal supply in Korea, particularly: (1) Purchase of dogs from unregistered animal supplier for a dog cloning project; (2) Purchase of dogs from an unclear source for veterinary education and training; (3) Illegal cat experiments using cats obtained from unauthorized routes.
Our findings support the notion that alternatives to laboratory animal research should be implemented. We conclude that improvements in the regulations and guidelines for animal suppliers, together with the recent introduction of legislation will improve animal safety and wellbeing of animals in laboratory research in Korea.


Animal ethics; Animal experiment; Animal procurement; Animal welfare; Laboratory animals
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