South Korea is to close down the Gupo dog meat market in Busan, known for being one of the country’s largest markets selling chilled meat as well as live dogs killed to order.
This comes as a further blow to the trade, which is already in a crisis: although about two millions dogs a year are reared in meat farms across South Korea – the only country known to farm dogs specifically for human consumption – dog meat consumption is declining rapidly in South Korea, particularly among younger generations.
Although dog meat does remain popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August, when it is eaten as a soup called bosintang in the belief that it improves stamina and virility, a survey by Gallup Korea conducted in June 2018 shows that 70 percent of South Koreans say they will not eat dogs in future.
The industry is in legal limbo in South Korea, neither legal nor illegal, but the brutal ways dogs are often killed regularly breach provisions of the Animal Protection Act. The closure of Gupo is the latest in a series of crackdowns: in November last year, Seongnam city demolished Taepyeong, the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse, and closed down most of the related vendors.
Nara Kim, dog meat campaigner for Humane Society International/Korea휴메인 소사이어티 인터내셔널, said, “We very much welcome the agreement reached to close Gupo market, home to one of the largest dog meat markets in South Korea.
“The closure plan is the result of months of hard work between the local authorities and the market vendors, and both sides are to be commended for working towards this goal that will not only bring to an end to Gupo’s dog meat era, but will also see the area regenerated with new amenities and businesses for the benefit of the local, modern economy.
“HSI has been working with dog meat farmers in South Korea for nearly four years helping them close their flagging businesses as more people in the county turn away from dog meat, so the closure of Gupo’s grimly iconic dog market, which follows the demolition last year of the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse complex, is a sign of more compassionate times.
“This is the latest crack down on an increasingly unpopular dog meat trade, and we hope that it inspires further closures in future where dogs also suffer for the meat trade, such as Chilsung market in Daegu.”
Images by HSI.