Animal testing has been around in Hong Kong for many years, mainly for the purpose of medical-related researches, like testing medicines and toxicity.
In response to the issue of animal testing, the Hong Kong government has developed and produced the “Code of Care and Use of Animals for Experimental Purposes” for institutions and investigators to follow. The Code stipulates that animals used for experimental purposes should be treated humanely to avoid pain or distress. The Code also encapsulates the need to reduce the number of animals used and of replacing animals with other methods of testing.
With reference to the statistics from the Department of Health, there has been a surge in the number of Applications for Animal Experiment Licence in 2018. The number rose from 4,294 in 2013 to 7,090 in 2017, which is a marked 65% increase. In 2016, a total of 118,066 mice and 29,423 rats were used in experiments. Other than mice and rats, hamsters, cats, dogs, rabbits as well as fish have also been used in such experimentation.
With citizens’ raising awareness of animal rights and the availability of non-animal tests, we look forward to seeing Hong Kong joining the club of countries that have banned animal testing. The first step for Hong Kong to liberate laboratory animals is to legislate against testing cosmetics products on them. Together we can end animal testing for good.
Species and number of animals used in experiments (2013-2016) – <Food and Health Bureau>
Written by Candy Ngan, Education Executive of Non-Profit Making Veterinary Services Society