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South Koreans Urged to Stop Eating Dog Meat

South Korean Dog Meat
South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged South Koreans to stop eating dogs. Credit: Jeon Han, CC BY-SA 2.0

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has spoken out against the practice of eating dog meat. The President is even considering banning the dish entirely.

Eating dog meat has been a part of the country’s culinary tradition for many generations, and approximately 1 million dogs are eaten per year in South Korea, according to CBS News.

Although the meat is still popular with older demographics, younger people have increasingly voiced their dissatisfaction with the tradition. A 2020 poll commissioned by the Humane Society found 84% of South Koreans won’t eat dog meat and 60% agreed with banning the practice completely.

Jae-in reportedly asked the Prime Minister of South Korea, Kim Boo-kyum “Hasn’t the time come to prudently consider prohibiting dog meat consumption?” during a meeting on Monday.

Jae-in personally has many dogs as pets, and even rescued one — named Tory –off the streets. South Korea already has an animal protection law in place that seeks to stop the killing of dogs and cats. However, the law does not include the consumption of dog or cat meat in restaurants in its purview.

Dog meat is believed to have mythical and healing properties in Korean culture. Despite Jae-in’s interest, the Korean government has not yet placed a ban on eating dog meat in fear of offending traditionalists.

South Korean tradition of eating dog meat under fire

“A growing number of South Koreans are considering the consumption of dog meat as a matter of animal abuse rather than tradition,” said Jeon Jin-kyung, who heads the Korea Animal Rights Advocates.

Multiple politicians hoping to make a bid for Jae-in’s office have made banning dog meat part of their platforms in the past few weeks. The momentum for outlawing the practice comes at a moment when dogs have reached an unprecedented popularity as domestic pets in South Korea, and advocacy groups have strengthened their efforts to shut down restaurants that prepare dog meat.

Lee Jae-myung, the governor of South Korea’s biggest province, Gyeonggi, and one of the top competitors for Moon’s role, has publicly stated that he would try to ban dog meat through popular vote.

Yoon Seok-youl, another presidential hopeful, has diverged with this position and said that he believes that eating the dish is a matter of personal choice.

Images of dogs being breed for consumption on Jindo Island in South Korea were leaked earlier this month, causing international outcry from Animal Rights organizations.

The animals were being killed by electrocution and the images should piles of countless dog collars that were left behind by the fallen animals.

Nara Kim, the Humane Society International Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, said that:

“The authorities will pursue cruelty charges against the farmer. As the Animal Protection Act currently offers little protection for dogs on dog meat farms, it’s encouraging to see law enforcement officials making use of those few regulations at their disposal. But in order to fully crack down on this brutal industry, we will continue to campaign for a ban on the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs for meat.”


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