President Moon’s cabinet will discuss a dog meat ban next week

News welcomed by HSI/Korea, which has saved almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI

SEOUL—The South Korean government has announced that the cabinet will launch a formal discussion next week on how to proceed with actions to address the increasingly controversial dog meat industry, news welcomed by Humane Society International/Korea which has rescued almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the controversial and dying industry. Of the almost 2,500 dogs that HSI has rescued from South Korea’s dog meat trade, 30 dogs now live in happy homes in the United Kingdom, with the majority adopted out in the United States and Canada.

This announcement issued by the Office for Government Policy Coordination, follows President Moon’s suggestion in September that it could be time for the country to consider a ban on dog meat. Next week’s discussion, reported to be presided over by Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, will be the first time the cabinet is known to have held a formal meeting on the issue of dog meat.

Nara Kim, Humane Society International/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager, lives in Seoul with her two dog meat farm rescues, Blondie and Claire. She has visited dozens of dog meat farms and witnessed first-hand the squalor and deprivation as well as the physical and mental trauma experienced by the dogs.

Nara Kim says: “South Korean society has struggled to come to terms with the difficult reality of dog meat for many decades, but we’re at a tipping point now where people care deeply about animal welfare and cannot reconcile that concern with a tolerance of dog meat. When I was a child growing up, nobody really spoke about dog meat farms, but that’s definitely changed in recent years. Most Koreans don’t eat dog meat, and certainly most young Koreans are horrified by the idea. I don’t think anyone really understands quite how dreadful dog meat farms are though, because it’s so rare for anyone to see inside them like I have. It really is a hellish existence for these animals.”

HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm program helps dog farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked experience mounting societal and family pressure to get out of farming dogs, amidst growing concerns for animal welfare, with over six million pet dogs now being raised in Korean homes. As demand for dog meat dwindles in South Korea, it is also increasingly challenging for farmers to turn a profit.

Nara Kim adds: “I’ve spent many hours talking with the dog farmers. They often tell me that it’s almost impossible to make a profit because the market for dog meat is now so small, but they don’t know how to do something different. They know there is no future in this industry, and so ignoring or resisting that reality is really just condemning both farmers and dogs. HSI/Korea’s work shows how it’s possible to support farmers in switching to other livelihoods. It’s better for them and of course better for the dogs who will no longer be born into a life of suffering.”

A 2020 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 body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.

Download here video and photos of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action: https://newsroom.humanesociety.org/fetcher/index.php?searchMerlin=1&searchBrightcove=1&submitted=1&mw=d&q=SKFarm16Rescue0520

Facts:

  • Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and 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 1.5 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.

ENDS

Media contact: HSI/United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org +44 (0)7989 972 423

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