SEOUL—In response to South Korean President Moon’s reported suggestion that it could be time for South Korea to ban dog meat, Humane Society International/Korea’s dog meat campaigner Nara Kim issues this response from Seoul:
“As a Korean who has visited many dog meat farms and seen the appalling animal suffering first hand, I welcome these words from President Moon and hope that it signals the beginning of the end for the brutal dog meat industry. These dogs live a dreadful existence, locked in barren wire cages their whole lives, most in a pitiful state of malnutrition, skin disease and fear, only to be painfully electrocuted often in front of each other. It’s like a living nightmare for them, all to produce a meat that most Koreans don’t want to eat. Banning dog meat would be the right thing to do not just for the dogs but also for South Korea. HSI/Korea works with dog farmers who want to get out of this dead-end trade. Our program helps them transition to more humane livelihoods, and so we urge President Moon to advance a ban but also to adopt HSI’s farmer transition program to make sure the phase out happens with the backing of farmers so that it is sustainable and permanent. Consigning the dog meat industry to the history books is within our grasp.”
President Moon first issued a Blue House pledge in 2018 to consider removing dogs from the legal definition of livestock following a 1 million signature petition submitted by HSI/Korea and partners KARA.
- Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and the Siem Reap province in Cambodia, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.
- In South Korea up to 2 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.
- A recent opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows growing support for a ban on the dog meat trade, with nearly 84% of South Koreans saying they don’t or won’t eat dog, and almost 60% supporting a legislative ban on the trade. Although most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the blood during the hot summer still holds with many, particularly the older generation.
- In South Korea, there have been a string of crackdowns by authorities in recent years to curb the dog meat industry include the shutting down of Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest) by Seongnam City Council in November 2018, followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan, and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. In November 2019 a Supreme Court found that a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs was in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on electrocution as a killing method.
- HSI in South Korea works in partnership with dog meat farmers to permanently close down dog meat farms and help them switch to alternative livelihoods as part of the charity’s strategy to demonstrate that the cruel trade can be phased out. It’s a strategy that so far has seen HSI close down 17 dog meat farms and rescue more than 2,000 dogs who are adopted out to loving homes in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada through the help of placement partners.
- Of the more than 2,000 dogs that HSI has rescued from South Korea’s dog meat trade, 30 dogs now live in happy homes in the UK. The majority of dogs are adopted out in the United States and Canada. Pumpkin the jindo in Surrey, Winston the Boston terrier in Hampshire, Molly the jindo mix in Camberley, and Penny the spaniel mix in Farnborough, were all fated to have been amongst the more than one million dogs who would have been electrocuted, butchered and eaten during this Bok Nal season. They were rescued by HSI from a dog meat farm in November 2019. Other dogs now living happy lives in the UK include Nara the jindo in Devon, Robin the maltese-cross in Oxfordshire, Millie the spaniel in Staffordshire, Sandie the Labrador in Nottinghamshire, Henry the golden retriever in Brighton, and Roxy the jindo in south west London.
Media contact: HSI/United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)7989 972 423