SEOUL, May 17 (Korea Bizwire) — A Cheong Wa Dae petition calling on authorities to rescue retired detection dogs being used for experiments at the Seoul National University (SNU) has collected more than 200,000 signatures, reaching the minimum requirement to receive an official response from the presidential office.
More than 212,000 people had signed the petition as of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, only a month after the Beagle Rescue Network (BRN), a South Korean animal protection group, first posted the petition.
“The three beagles ‘May’, ‘Pev’, and ‘Cheonwangi’ who used to work as quarantine detection dogs at Incheon Airport, were transferred to SNU in March of last year to be used in experiments,” said the petition.
“Conducting experiments on dogs who served the country is illegal.”
“For five years they have worked to protect the country and the people, and it is just not right to send them to a research lab,” it added.
“Experiments must be stopped immediately, and the dogs should be sent to a Beagle Rescue Network protection facility.”
May, one of the three dogs, passed away at the university, while the other two dogs are being treated at the SNU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
The BRN accused Prof. Lee Byeong-chun at the SNU College of Veterinary Medicine of “abusing the dogs during experiments”.
The controversy has led the university to shut down the ‘smart detection dog development project’ led by Lee, and suspend his position as the head of the SNU Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources.
The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at SNU reported on May 9 that Lee brought in ‘May’ and other detection dogs without the committee’s approval, and conducted tests that were not stipulated in the research proposal.
Seoul Gwanak Police Station is currently investigating allegations made against Lee.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)