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November 22, 2018

South Korea closes its largest dog meat slaughterhouse in landmark moment in the demise of the dog meat trade

The dog meat industry is increasingly unwelcome in Korean society, says HSI/Korea

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Michael Bernard/HSI

  • Michael Bernard/HSI

  • Michael Bernard/HSI

  • Michael Bernard/HSI

  • Michael Bernard/HSI

  • Michael Bernard/HSI

MONTREAL—Taepyeong, the largest dog slaughterhouse in South Korea, has been shut down by local authorities, bringing the country one step closer to ending its brutal dog meat trade. Seongnam city council intends to build a community park on the land, creating a vibrant public space where once hundreds of thousands of dogs were slaughtered for human consumption.

HSI/Canada rescuers are on the scene and report that conditions inside the slaughterhouse are shocking. They found a large number of empty wire pens that would once have held hundreds of dogs, as well as the electrocution equipment used to kill them, knives, and a de-hairing machine. A pile of dead dogs was also found abandoned on the floor.

HSI/Canada senior campaign manager Ewa Demianowicz said: “It was deeply disturbing to see the inside of this slaughterhouse and to know that millions of dogs have died terribly here. It was a bleak, brutal facility, and a stark reminder of the unimaginable suffering caused by this industry. Thankfully, today’s events have brought us a giant step closer to ending the South Korean dog meat trade for good.”

HSI/Korea’s Nara Kim stated: “Both as a Korean citizen and an animal campaigner, it was incredibly moving for me to a part of the historic closure of this notorious dog slaughterhouse. I shudder to think how many millions of beautiful dogs will have met their horrific fate at this place over the years. It was a stain on the city of Seongnam and we are so pleased to see it bulldozed. This really feels like a landmark moment in the demise of the dog meat industry in South Korea, and sends the clear message that the dog meat industry is increasingly unwelcome in Korean society.”

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Taepyeong comprises six individual slaughterhouses, five of which will be bulldozed immediately; permission to destroy the sixth building was not secured in time for the closure however all its cages will be destroyed and equipment removed so that it is no longer operational.

The closure of Taepyeong comes at a time when dog meat consumption is declining rapidly in South Korea, particularly among younger generations. A survey by Gallup Korea conducted in June 2018 Shows that 70 percent of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future, and a series of recent moves to curb the dog meat trade reflects a society increasingly ill at ease with the industry. Most recently, last September, a Supreme Court struck down a lower court decision to allow dog electrocution (the favoured method of the dog meat trade), saying the method is "too cruel."

Over the past four years, Humane Society International’s pioneering program of dog meat farm closures has shone a global spotlight on the plight of dogs in the South Korean dog meat trade. HSI works in partnership with dog farmers who want to leave the increasingly controversial business, helping them transition to more profitable and humane livelihoods. So far HSI has permanently closed 13 dog farms and rescued nearly 1,600 dogs, who are flown to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to find new homes.

Korea Animal Rights Advocates is an HSI/Korea partner group, and the two organisations recently teamed up to present a petition of nearly 1 million signatures to the President’s Blue House, calling for an end to the dog meat trade.

Hyunji Kim of Korea Animal Rights Advocates says: “We have been making constant efforts to shut down the Taepyeong-dong dog slaughterhouse through investigations and putting pressure on Gyeonggi province and Seongnam-si. As Korea’s biggest, brutal, illegal dog slaughterhouse, Taepyeong-dong is notorious for supplying huge amounts of dog bodies to nearby Seongnam Moran traditional market. Its closure is an historical event, and hopefully may trigger the closure of other illegal dog slaughterhouses throughout the country. Until we achieve this, we really appreciate the support of both Korean people and global citizens who love animals for helping our campaigns to completely end dog meat in Korea.”

Korea Animal Welfare Association has campaigned against the dog meat trade for many years. KAWA’s Iltaek Chae, says: “The slaughterers in Taepyeong have long been accumulating their wealth and a huge number of dogs have been killed over the years. It is hoped that the closure of this horrific dog slaughterhouse can halt the suffering of more dogs in the future, and help trigger the collapse of the dog meat industry in Korea.”

Download photos and video of the dog slaughterhouse closure and rescue by clicking here (warning: graphic content).

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Media contact: Christopher Paré – office: 514 395-2914 x 206, cell: 438 402-0643, cpare@hsi.org

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