South Korea’s new president urged to act on his pledge to end dog meat trade

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The majority of South Koreans consider dogs pets and do not eat dog meat
Nara Kim, Campaign Manager of HSI/Korea, cuddles Pam at a dog meat farm in Haemi, South Korea, on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Animal groups in South Korea are urging the newly elected president Yoon Seok-yeol make good on his pre-election pledge to tackle the dog meat industry – and fast.

Seoul-based animal protection group Humane Society International/Korea (HSI/Korea) says Yoon’s election must herald “an historic opportunity” to consign the industry to South Korea’s history books.

Yoon Seok-yeol made several statements confirming his support for for a ban – providing there is social consensus. A 2020 opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows that “nearly 84 per cent” of South Koreans saying don’t or won’t eat dog, and “almost 60 per cent” support a legislative ban on the trade.

HSI/Korea joined other Korean animal groups in rescuing more than 80 dogs in South Korea as the local authorities shut down Gupo dog meat market in Busan, one of the country’s largest markets selling dog meat and live dogs.

With fewer and fewer people eating dogs across the country, the industry is already in a crisis. HSI/Korea runs a scheme in the country working in partnership with dog farmers, to help them leave the industry and transition to a more humane livelihood. Several farmers have left the industry thanks to this scheme, remarking that dog meat farming has “no future” in South Korea.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, says, “The election of Yoon Seok-yeol as South Korea’s new president presents our country with an historic opportunity to consign the dog meat industry to South Korea’s history books where it belongs.

“More than one million dogs a year – from small dachshunds to large tosas – are needlessly suffering on miserable meat farms just to be killed for soup.”

Nara Kim, Campaign Manager of HSI/Korea, holds a puppy at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The operation is part of HSIs efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia.

She added, “With changing perceptions of dogs as family members, social consensus in favour of a dog meat ban is now beyond doubt so HSI/Korea stands ready to work with the new president to put his pledge into action.

“Factory farming dogs for eating must become a thing of the past as soon as possible.”

In December last year, the South Korean government set up a cross-ministerial task force to consider a ban on the industry, following a suggestion by the then President, Moon Jae-in. The task force is expected to make recommendations in April this year, and Seoul city municipal council is also due to vote on a proposed bill calling for the mayor to ban the consumption of dogs citywide.

Images by HSI

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