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Korea's revision of animal protection law in 15 years

by APL Revision Promotion Committee

We are pleased to let you know that the Korean Animal Protection Law (APL) has been revised.

The new APL passed in the national assembly plenary session on 21 December 2006. It had been 15 years since the first APL was established in 1991. The new APL will be effective from January 2008.

Korea's animal protection organizations have actively participated in the revision of the APL since the public hearing by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) in 1999. In January 2004, the APL Revision Promotion Committee was set up by major animal protection groups inclusive of CARE, KAAP, AFK, Voice4Animals, and KAPCA.

The Committee exerted various efforts, by presenting opinions to the authorities, making visits to the national assembly and MAF, and holding campaigns and protests in relay. It also drew up its own revision bill and had lawmakers propose a motion in the national assembly. Meanwhile, many overseas animal protection groups made great contributions.

Also, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) actively involved in the legislation process in the later part of 2006, creating the department of animal protection. Plenty of improvements have been achieved in the revision.

However, many key points demanded by the Committee was not accepted in the new APL. Those demands must be re-discussed in the next revision. We have taken the first step on the road to animal welfare in Korea, and still have a long way to go. The MAF has announced the legislation of the enforcement decree and ordinance of regulations, and will hold on 10th of July. Your continuous attention and support will be highly appreciated.

Major improvements in the new legislation

1. The new APL has introduced registration of companion animals.

2. Activities are defined as animal abuse, which inflict injury on animals for the purpose of gambling, advertisement, entertainment, amusement, and so on, and hereby punishment has become possible (except for cases ruled by implementing ordinances of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.)

3. A maximum of 500,000won will be fined for abandoning a companion animal, and a maximum of 300,000won for not attaching a recognition tag to a companion animal.

4. A maximum of 5,000,000won will be fined for selling or slaughtering stray animals protected by regulations.

5. The new APL has included provisions on humane transportation of animals.

6. The new APL has made it mandatory for mayors and governors to establish and manage shelters for stray animals, or to secure consigned facilities.

7. The new APL has stipulated slaughtering methods to minimize the suffering of animals.

8. The new APL has provided principles and supervision on animal testing.

9. The new APL has almost banned testing on stray animals and service animals such as guard dogs and guide dogs for the blind.

10. The new APL has made mandatory the establishment of an animal ethics committee in animal testing facilities.

11. The new APL has made it possible for animal advocates recommended by NGOs to participate in animal ethics committees on animal testing.

12. The new APL has introduced registration of animal vendors and made it mandatory to educate them.

13. The new APL has made it mandatory for mayors, governors, and municipal heads to hire animal protection inspectors. Animal advocates recommended by NGOs can be assigned as honorary inspectors.

14. Animal protection inspectors can separate abused animals from abusers and hand them over to animal protection organizations.

15. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry is supposed to keep documentation on the registration, trade, and testing of animals, and to make them public.

16. The new APL has reinforced punishment, and the maximum monetary penalty for animal abuse has been raised from 200,000won to 5,000,000won.

17. The new APL has made it possible to punish animal testing organizations that fail to establish ethics committees. Punishment can be imposed on interferences with animal protection inspectors in the execution of their duty.

Future agenda for new revison.

The following demands have continually been made by the Committee, but have not been included in the revision of Animal Protection Law.

1. All vertebrates must be counted as animals to be protected.

2. In order to establish national policies on animal protection, an animal welfare committee must be set up under Prime Minister.

3. Opportunities must be provided to animal owners for education on adequate care of animals.

4. The poisonous article (6.6), as follows, must be removed.

Mayors/governors can prohibit raising animals and also keep out animals in certain areas.

5. Definition and types of animal abuse must be expanded. For instance, it must be defined as animal abuse to inflict on animals unnecessary pain and/or stress, or to leaveanimals in starvation or diseases.

6. Slaughtering cats and dogs for edible or medical purposes must be prohibited.

7. Offering animals as premiums must be considered animal abuse.

8. It must be mandatory that animals injured in traffic accidents be given primary care.

9. The following poisonous article (9.4) must be removed.

Mayors and county heads can donate stray animals to zoos.

10. Animals must not be buried alive for emergency sanitary reasonssuch as AI. Punishment must be possible for burying animals alive for these cases.

11. Qualifications for animal testers must be provided.

12. Prohibition on animal testing must be widened. For example, testings for cosmetics and testings on primates must be banned.

13. To secure transparency and fairness, more than 3 animal testing organizations must establish a joint ethics committee with exception of university and other facilities allowed by the ministry.

14. Funeral and burial services of animals must be ruled by separate local government regulations, rather than by the APL.

15. Specially recruited employeesmust be appointed to be animal protection inspector officials.

16. In terms of punishment, there remain some issues to balance out. For example, unleashing dogs while walkingthem will be fined 300,000won, whereas conducting a prohibited animal testing will be fined only 100,000won.

Contact Office of APL revision promotion committee
At [email protected]

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