May 20 (UPI) -- A South Korean pet rescue group has charged a professor at an elite university of illegally experimenting with cats in a laboratory.
The Beagle Rescue Network, an NGO dedicated to rescuing lab animals and protecting animal welfare, said Wednesday outside the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office the group has filed a suit with the office, citing professional misconduct, Yonhap and News 1 reported Wednesday.
"We are filing a motion against the Seoul National University Hospital and otolaryngologist Prof. [name withheld] for the violation of drug laws and [South Korea's] Animal Protection Law," the group told reporters.
According to the NGO, in 2018 the defendant conducted an experiment on six cats without sedation or anesthesia. The defendant was developing an artificial cochlear.
Seoul National University Hospital has defended the experiment and has said the cats were "euthanized using an anesthetic."
The Beagle Rescue Network is challenging the claim. It said Wednesday there is no record the cats were sedated, referring to data from South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The NGO added Seoul National University Hospital should also be held accountable for the experiment.
There is circumstantial evidence cats used in the test at the hospital were acquired from a private farm. There is also a need to investigate whether the lab used strays or abandoned animals, in violation of local laws, the group said.
According to Yonhap, the Seoul National University Hospital research team had conducted a study of the relationship between the cerebral auditory cortex and cochlear implants.
The experiment required damaging the cat's hearing organs, then inserting an artificial device inside the cat's skull, the report says.