BREAKING NEWS: SOUTH KOREA
On Monday, 27 September, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in finally declared there might be a need to ban dog meat consumption.
Moon made the remarks after being briefed by Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum on the countries efforts to improve the handling of abandoned animals creates a mandatory registration system for dogs.
After the briefing, animal lover and dog owner Moon said the time has come to carefully consider imposing a dog meat ban, Moon’s spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee confirmed in a formal statement.
This is the first time that Moon raised a ban, which is likely to give fresh momentum to debate over whether to curtail the practice.
Several presidential hopefuls have pledged also to ban dog meat in recent weeks. This has been seen as a way to boost their popularity, especially as dogs have become popular in South Korea and many animal welfare groups have campaigned for the ban.
Lee Jae-myung, governor of the country’s most populous province of Gyeonggi has vowed if he wins he would push through the ban.
Yoon Seok-youl, his opposition and a frontrunner, has said it was a matter of people’s personal choice.
In our ten years of campaigning for the end of the dog meat trade in South Korea, we have witnessed the closure of brutal dog meat markets such as Moran and Busan and supported the work of activists CCSAGAON, who have successfully closed multiple dog meat farms.
Although eating dog meat is not as common as before and is mostly eaten by older people, it is still served in some restaurants and can be bought at specific markets. During the summer Boknal days, the ‘ tradition’ still favours dog meat soup as a way of ‘ cooling the body’, and our research shows the cruel use of cats for broths and remedies continues.
Recent polling in the Korean population shows 78% of respondents agree the production and sale of dog and cat meat should be prohibited, and 49% supported a consumption ban.
However, many Koreans are still divided over whether the government should ban eating dog meat and do not like to be told what to do when it comes to their ‘traditions’.
Dog meat sellers have insisted on the right to their occupation, saying their livelihoods are at risk and in the past have taken to the streets to protest.
Amendments to the civil code to grant animals legal status have been in the pipeline for some time, and it is due to be discussed during the next parliamentary session in South Korea.
If approved, South Korea would join a handful of countries, beating even the UK to recognise animals as beings, with a right to protection, enhanced welfare and respect for life.
More news to follow as it breaks.
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