Humane Society International / South Korea


WASHINGTON—This week, 34 dogs are arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport from South Korea where they were rescued from the dog meat industry by Humane Society International/Korea and its partners. Romeo, Nuri, Daisy, Phoenix, Brown Bear and the other dogs coming to the U.S. will be cared for at a care and rehabilitation center operated by HSI and the Humane Society of the United States. They will receive the love and comfort that the dog meat industry denied them, including beds, a nutritious diet, enrichment and veterinary care. Eventually they will be transferred to the HSUS’s shelter and rescue partners where they will be ready for adoption into loving homes.

Up to an estimated 1 million dogs a year are killed for meat in South Korea, intensively bred on farms where they are locked in barren, metal cages without water or proper food, living in squalid conditions, many suffering from malnutrition and painful skin and eye diseases. Most are brutally slaughtered at around one year of age, usually by electrocution.

Sangkyung Lee, dog meat campaigner for Humane Society International/Korea, said: “For these dogs flying to the United States, South Korea’s dog meat industry will soon be a distant memory. But hundreds of thousands of other dogs are still languishing in terrible conditions on dog meat farms for a meat that very few Koreans want to eat and most want banned. It’s now been one year since the South Korean government acknowledged the need for a dog meat task force, and we are still no closer to ending this cruel industry. The time for delay is over. We are urging relevant government ministries to proactively work towards ensuring the task force delivers a plan to end the suffering of all dogs living miserable lives on dog meat farms.”

Jeffrey Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said: “As a proud parent of a dog rescued in 2019 from the 15th farm Humane Society International helped transition out of dog meat industry, I know these dogs can become wonderful additions to a family. All these nearly three dozen dogs needed was the chance to be saved from the dog meat industry, and that was made possible by HSI’s fantastic teams and partners on-the-ground in South Korea and here in the United States.”

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, said: “It is a testament to the professionalism and

effectiveness of our staff and animal advocate partners in South Korea that local authorities there are working more frequently with us to help coordinate care for dogs saved from the meat trade. As these rescued dogs arrive in the United States and move into our rehabilitation center, we look forward to the next chapter: preparing them to be adopted into loving homes where they can finally enjoy life as all dogs should.”

As these dogs start new lives, Humane Society International will continue to campaign for an end to the dog meat industry. Since 2015, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has helped dog farmers in South Korea transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery. HSI/Korea has permanently closed 17 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,500 dogs who find adoptive homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a small number rehomed in South Korea.

An opinion survey by Nielsen Korea published and commissioned by HSI/Korea in October this year, shows that 85% of Koreans say they have never eaten dog meat or will not do so in the future. In addition, 56% of people said they support a dog meat ban.

  • Download video/photos of HSI/Korea dog meat farm rescues here
  • Download video/photos of the departure of the dogs from South Korea here
  • Download video/photos of the U.S. arrival of the first group of dogs here 

54% of Koreans in their 20s who ate dog meat, did so reluctantly under pressure from fathers and senior work colleagues

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/For HSI

SEOUL, South Korea—More than half of South Koreans in their 20s who have consumed dog meat in the past year, felt social pressure to do so from influential seniors such as their father or senior colleagues at work, a new survey finds. While the majority of respondents in this age group did not consume dog meat, of those who did, 54% reported that they ate dog meat under pressure, rising to 57.4% in urban areas. Despite this, the survey found that nationwide refusal to eat dog meat is very high, with 85% of people saying they have never eaten it or will not do so in future and 56% supporting a ban.

Animal protection group Humane Society International/Korea which commissioned market research experts Nielson Korea to conduct the survey of 1,500 people from urban and rural areas, says young Koreans instinctively feel that eating dogs is wrong and they should feel empowered to say no in social situations. HSI/Korea says that pressure to eat dog meat from family or work seniors, means that more people—particularly in urban areas—are eating dog meat than actually want to, and the percentage of dog meat eaters would be considerably lower if more people felt free to exercise their individual choice.

Sangkyung Lee, Humane Society International/ Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, said: “Although it is clear that the vast majority of South Koreans don’t and won’t eat dog meat, it is nonetheless concerning that so many young Koreans feel pressured to eat it even though they don’t want to. The data shows that people in their 20s are more supportive of a dog meat ban than other age groups, and are more concerned about animal suffering and the lack of hygiene. Despite those concerns, more than half of respondents in this age group who did eat dog meat in the past year, say they felt pressured to do so. Pressuring people to eat dog meat needs to become socially unacceptable, and young Koreans like myself need to feel empowered to say no and stick to our principles. It’s ironic that while an individual’s right to choose is the top reason put forward by those who oppose a dog meat ban, our survey suggests that if social pressure were removed, even more people would exercise that choice by not eating dog meat at all.”

The main findings of the survey are that:

  • 6% nationwide say they have not or will not consume dog meat in the future.
  • 6% of Koreans in their 20s who ate dog meat in the past year, did so despite not wanting to.
  • 2% nationwide were first introduced to dog meat by their father and 22% by their office senior.
  • 7% nationwide say they are concerned about the welfare of dogs raised for meat.
  • 1% nationwide believe dog meat is not safe and hygienic to consume.
  • 56% nationwide support a dog meat ban.
  • 1% of respondents nationwide who oppose a dog meat ban do so because they believe it should be an individual’s choice.

Earlier this month (Oct 7) at the National Assembly, Democratic Party Assembly member Jeoung-ae Han expressed her frustration that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety isn’t doing enough to tackle the illegal and unhygienic dog meat industry. Han said: “According to the Food Sanitation Act, dog meat is not considered food therefore it is clear that dog meat trade is illegal. The current law states that the Ministry can crack down on dog slaughter, and dog meat processing, distribution and cooking because it is illegal. However, the Ministry does not do its work.” She went on to say, “it is threatening people’s health to turn a blind eye to unhygienically processed dog meat.”

A government taskforce was announced in November last year and established in December, to evaluate options for a dog meat ban. Despite surveys showing that the majority of Koreans would support a ban, the task force has twice delayed publishing its conclusions and has now been silent since June this year. HSI/Korea says the time for delay is over and urges President Yoon to help South Korea end the dog meat era forever.

JungAh Chae, executive director of HSI/Korea says: “The taskforce was originally set up because it was recognized that the time is right to ban dog meat. However, almost a year later, the taskforce has still not advanced any recommendations for how to implement a dog meat ban despite that outcome clearly being favoured by most Koreans. President Yoon is a dog owner himself, including of a rescued Jindo, a breed we typically find suffering on dog meat farms. We urge him to help make all Jindos just as lucky by ending South Korea’s dog meat era once and for all. By doing so we would join with others across Asia such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand in consigning dog meat to the history books.”

Since 2015, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has helped dog farmers in South Korea transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery. HSI/Korea has permanently closed 17 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,500 dogs who find adoptive homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a small number rehomed in South Korea.

Download photos and video of an HSI/Korea dog meat farm rescue.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Notes: The survey of 1,500 people from urban and rural areas was conducted online in August 2022 with a margin of error of +-2.53%.

Humane Society International / South Korea


HSI Global

SEOUL—South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has introduced an amendment to its Biologicals standard and test method guidelines, and will no longer require the Abnormal Toxicity test. The outdated method was carried out for batch quality control of pharmaceutical and biological products, using mice and guinea pigs. Humane Society International/Korea welcomed the ministry’s decision to end this obsolete animal test for biological products.

The World Health Organization guidelines recommended the removal of the Abnormal Toxicity Test in 2018 and it is no longer required in the European Union, the United States and Canada. In Japan and India the test can be waived for some products.

The test was originally introduced in the 1950s using mice and guinea pigs to detect external non-specific contaminants in pharmaceutical and biological products and has remained a standard despite mounting scientific evidence questioning its reliability and value to the detection of quality and safety issues.

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea’s senior policy manager said “We welcome this much-awaited amendment that does away with an obsolete animal test. This test was required for regulatory purposes despite evidence showing its lack of scientific value. Korea has a demonstrated capacity to adopt and refine rapidly advancing technologies. We hope that with this important step, Korea will move even faster, showing its commitment to developing new technologies and reforming regulatory guidelines with non-animal methods.”

Introduced in December 2020, the ‘Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Method’ urges governments to collaborate and coordinate to provide proactive measures in advancing science without animal use. Passage of this bill will provide a legal basis for governments and industries to keep pace with advancing science and enable the global regulatory community to move towards adopting non-animal approaches. In addition, it will encourage regular reviews of obsolete tests for elimination from regulatory test guidelines.

HSI received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to work with regulatory authorities and industry stakeholders across the globe to eliminate or replace redundant animal regulations for human and veterinary products.

Additional resources:

 

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Media Contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

The dogs were due to be killed after local authorities closed the farm

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI

SEOUL—Twenty-one dogs left behind when authorities closed an illegal dog meat farm in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, have been saved by animal groups just days before the start of Bok Nal—the three hottest days of summer during which most dogs on farms are sold and killed for dog meat soup, known as “bosintang.”

Humane Society International/Korea and Korean K9 Rescue saved the young dogs after Ansan city authorities shut down the facility for operating without a licence. The government officials removed 38 dogs to their shelter for rehoming but left 21 behind with a deadline for removal or they would be at risk of being euthanised or sold to a slaughterhouse.  The farmer had been breeding dogs for human consumption at the site for six years.

The dogs—Romeo, Henry, Tori, Juliette, Brown Bear, Christian and all the others—will now receive veterinary care, vaccinations and undergo quarantine, before eventually being flown by HSI to North America to seek adoptive homes.

The rescue comes just days before South Korea’s first of three “Bok” days when dog meat consumption is most popular and the country’s usually low consumer demand increases. It is also the first Bok Nal since President Yoon Seok-yeol took office and comes as the government’s task force deliberating a nationwide dog meat ban has, for the second time, delayed announcing its recommendations for a phase out. President Yoon and first lady Kim Keon-hee—both of whom have voiced support for an end to dog meat—share their home with four dogs including Tori a rescued Jindo, a breed typically found on dog meat farms. The 21 dogs left on this illegal farm are Jindo crosses.

Sangkyung Lee, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, said: “This dog farm is typical of so many across South Korea where thousands of dogs are languishing in filthy, deprived conditions, enduring the unimaginable frustration of being confined in tiny cages their whole lives until they are brutally killed by electrocution. Thankfully, we are able to bring a happy ending for these young dogs who will receive all the medical care and attention they need before flying to North America later in the year to seek adoptive homes. We urge President Yoon to ensure the national government immediately takes action  to end the dog meat industry, so that no more dogs like these will have to endure this suffering for a food that most people in South Korea no longer wish to eat.”

The farmer, Mr Hwang, has signed a legally binding agreement never to farm dogs again. He said: “I make most of my money from doing handyman jobs, so that’s what I’ll continue to do now. When I took over the farm, the seller deceived me and my partner by telling us it would be a profitable business but it simply hasn’t been true.”

Gina Boehler, executive director of Korean K9 Rescue, said: “Korean K9 Rescue is happy to work in partnership with HSI in dismantling, and rescuing animals from, the Ansan dog meat farm. As the animals are suffering in the sweltering summer heat, we have moved quickly to remove them from an unbearable situation that no living being should endure. It’s important we keep pushing for reform and change to the agriculture laws within South Korea and effectively promote change from within. We are grateful for our collaboration with HSI and we know these dogs will go on to live a better life. We have seen and recognized the approval of most South Korean citizens who actively oppose the dog meat trade and lobby for change, which keeps our mission strong and alive.”

HSI/Korea, which has permanently closed down 17 dog meat farms in the country and assisted local groups and law enforcement in rescuing dogs from other farms and markets, campaigns for legislation in South Korea to end the dog meat industry. A recent opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows nearly 84% of South Koreans say they don’t or won’t eat dog, and almost 60% support a legislative ban.

Dog meat facts:

  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body and build stamina during the hot summer, particularly during Bok Nal season, still holds with some, especially the older generation.
  • Since 2015, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has seen the organisation permanently close 17 dog meat farms, rescuing more than 2,500 dogs who find adoptive homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a small number rehomed in South Korea. The program also helps dog farmers transition to new, more humane, animal-free and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery.
  • Dog meat is banned (with varying degrees of enforcement) in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, Siem Reap province in Cambodia, and in 17 cities and regencies across Indonesia.
  • Despite these growing bans, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat across Asia.
  • This rescue was conducted under careful health and safety restrictions, and all the dogs will receive veterinary care including tests for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”) as well as receiving rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza and Leptospira vaccines. The dogs will be quarantined and health certified prior to transport overseas, in accordance with international export and import requirements.

Download photos and video of the rescue.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Nielsen online research conducted August/September 2020. Total sample size 1,000 people across six major cities in South Korea (Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan) weighted and representative of South Korean adults (aged 18+).

Humane Society International / Global


Mice in a cage
Guven Polat/istock

SEOUL—Humane Society International/Korea has issued an urgent call for the National Assembly to enact legislation to reverse the alarming and unconscionable increase in cruel animal testing. Statistics published this month by the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency reveal that animal use has increased dramatically over the past five years, from 3.08million in 2017 to 4.9million in 2021, with nearly half (45%) of all animals subject to the most severe pain and suffering since 2017. These statisitcs show no commitment from the government to reduce, refine and ultimately replace the use of animals for testing.

So-called “Grade E” experiments subject animals to extreme distress, unrelieved pain and death. The proportion of these especially cruel experiments occurring in Korea (45%) is dramatically higher than in Canada (1.8%), the European Union (11%) or any other developed countries. A common example of “Grade E” experiments are  lethal poisoning tests in which animals are forced to swallow or inhale a massive dose of  industrial chemicals, pesticides or other products and are observed for up to two weeks for signs of toxic reactions. These  can include seizures and other neurological impairment, hypersalivation, diarrhea, lethargy, coma and death. Other examples include extremely invasive surgical procedures induction of severe stress or shock, burn or trauma infliction on unanesthetized animals, or any experiment where pain cannot be prevented or effectively managed.

Last year, the Ministry of Environment announced its ambition for most new chemical test data to be non-animal by 2030. However, the new statistics reveal a 119% increase in animal use for chemical testing, suggesting that a major regulatory intervention is necessary to meet MOE’s 2030 vision.

The statistics also show a 50% increase in animal use for basic research. This research   studies fundamental biology, physiology, biochemistry, etc. This trend illustrates a failure by research funding bodies in Korea to prioritize funding for human-centered, non-animal technologies. This preferred testing includes  computational systems, organoids and organ-on-chips, which are ideally suited for studies of basic biology.

These negative animal welfare trends are further exacerbated by government and private companies’ decisions to fund the expansion of animal testing infrastructure by constructing new laboratory animal buildings. For example, Jeju National University secured 123,000 dollars of budget to build a new laboratory animal center by 2024.

The Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods (Paam Act) was designed to reverse these backward lab animal testing trends by requiring Korean regulatory and research ministries to work together to develop long-term roadmaps with the goals of:

  • prioritizing research development of state-of-art methods that better mimic human biology rather than cruel and outdated animal models.
  • encouraging authorities to revise regulatory testing requirements to more rapidly phase-in animal-free approaches which support advancements in medicine and consumer safety without harming animals.

HSI/Korea Senior Policy Manager Borami Seo said, “The increase of laboratory animals does not correlate to the advancement of medicine, consumer safety or environmental protection. Modern non-animal technologies can simulate human biology more accurately than tests on monkeys, mice or dogs. We are living in an era that celebrates innovation, and it’s time for Korean central ministries to commit to a future without animal testing. Assembly members can lay the foundation for this shift by enacting the Paam Act.”

View the 2021 laboratory animal statistics report.

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Media contact: Borami Seo: bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International/Korea says taskforce is vital to “close this miserable chapter in South Korea’s history”

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. The operation is part of HSI’s efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia.

SEOUL—The South Korean government taskforce deliberating a ban on the country’s dog meat industry has announced a delay of two months in publishing its recommendations. Humane Society International/Korea, which has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from South Korea’s dog meat industry, says opinion polls show public support for ending the industry, with nearly 84% of South Koreans not eating dog, and almost 60% favoring a ban.

Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s End Dog Meat campaign director, says: “With more than one million dogs a year needlessly suffering for a meat that hardly anyone eats, and with so many dog farmers struggling to make a living in light of dwindling consumer demand, we hope that the taskforce will deliver a bold plan to close this miserable chapter in South Korea’s history. As a candidate, President-elect Yoon Seok-yeol pledged support for ending dog meat provided there is social consensus, and opinion polls show we’ve reached a tipping point in public opinion, so we hope to see that momentum for change reflected when the taskforce makes its recommendations.”

The taskforce was established last year to assess social consensus after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. President-elect Yoon has three cats and four dogs, including Tori the rescued Jindo, a breed typically found on dog meat farms.

Since 2015, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has helped dog farmers in South Korea transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers involved experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled. HSI/Korea has permanently closed 17 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,500 dogs who find adoptive homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom with a small number rehomed in South Korea.

Dog meat facts:

  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body and build stamina during the hot summer, particularly during Bok Nal season across July and August, still holds with some, especially the older generation.
  • Most dogs slaughtered for meat in South Korea are killed by electrocution although some are also hanged.
  • Dog meat is banned (with varying degrees of enforcement) in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. In Indonesia, 14 cities, regions or regencies have banned dog meat: Karanganyar, Sukohrajo, Salatiga city, Malang, Semarang city, Semarang Regency, Blora Regency, Brebes Regency, Purbalingga Regency, Magelang city, Jepara, Blitar city, Mojokerto city and Mojokerto Regency. Despite these growing bans, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat across Asia.

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Ralph and syringe
HSI

SEOUL—On this World Day for Animals in Laboratories, Humane Society International/Korea is releasing a Korean version of its stop-motion animated short film #SaveRalph to rally citizen and political support for the passage of a groundbreaking new law to advance animal-free approaches in science and product testing.

Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing (PAAM Act). The proposed law is the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods (PAAM Act) introduced by National Assembly member In-soon Nam, stipulates setting up a strategic legal system to prioritize the development and implementation of animal-free approaches  to support advancements in medicine and consumer safety without harming animals.

Featuring an international cast of A-list celebrities including Zac Efron and Taika Waititi, #SaveRalph shines a light on the suffering animals endure in laboratories and engages consumers and policymakers in HSI’s mission to promote science without suffering.

Korean government statistics reveal that 4.14 million animals were used for testing in 2020, yet according to a public opinion survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 70.9% of respondents agreed to the need for an increased effort to replace animal testing in medical and scientific research. A similar survey by Realmeter on behalf of HSI/Korea found that 81.6% of Koreans agreed to the need for legislative support to develop and disseminate alternatives to animal testing.

HSI/Korea senior policy manager Borami Seo said: “Save Ralph is a wake-up call for the public and policymakers that animals are still suffering in the name of science, and we have a  responsibility to do better. Whether it’s testing to assess consumer safety or to study human disease, innovative technologies can simulate human biology more accurately than experiments on rodents, dogs or other animals. We are living in an era that celebrates innovation, and it’s time for Korean research and central ministries to commit to a future without animal testing.”

Additionally, from April 27-29, a #SaveRalph exhibition will be held at the National Assembly, co-organized by Assembly member In-soon Nam and HSI/Korea.

Watch Save Ralph with Korean subtitles and sign the petition online and at Lush Korea shops across Korea.

ENDS

Media contact: Borami Seo, senior policy manager in research and toxicology: bseo@hsi.org

 

Humane Society International / South Korea


Save Ralph photo with logo
HSI

SEOUL—Twenty-four Korean lawmakers and Humane Society International/Korea are hosting an exhibition to celebrate the stop-motion animated short film Save Ralph and to raise awareness amongst lawmakers about innovative science without animal suffering. The exhibit also urges lawmakers to pass a new bill, Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing (PAAM Act).

Co-hosted by the National Assembly Animal Welfare Forum and its members of the 24 lawmakers across political parties, the Save Ralph exhibition is organized by HSI/Korea and Assembly member In-soon Nam and supported by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Osong Medical Innovation Foundation.

Save Ralph, which tells the story of a rabbit used in a cosmetic testing facility, is nominated for the 2022 Webby Awards and its Korean version was released yesterday on laboratory animal day.

The exhibition opening will be visited by a special guest, South Korea’s TV celebrity Sam Hammington, who  has been a supporter of HSI/Korea’s activities for animal protection in the past years. Hammington is joining the opening ceremony to celebrate Ralph and encourage visitors to sign the petition to pass the PAAM Act.

The opening of the exhibition is April 28. It consists of four sections:

  • A screen for visitors to watch Save Ralph
  • Details about the PAAM Act
  • Information about the alternatives to animal testing, a including organ-on-a-chip, human cell test method and 3D printing approach.
  • A display that offers visitors the opportunity to take action to sign the petition that urges the passage of the PAAM Act.

Hammington said: “Watching Ralph’s story left me with many different feelings for Ralph and other animals. I hope many people will visit the exhibition and learn about scientific approaches that replace animals. I’m glad to be a part of this change.”

Hong-geun Park, co-leader of the Assembly Animal Welfare Forum, said: “The Animal Protection Act has recently been revised entirely since its enactment 31 years ago. The amendment included strengthening the ethics around animal testing. Reflecting this positive change in our society, I hope that this exhibition will create an opportunity to raise awareness to pass the PAAM Act for all animals and humans.”

Co-organizer Assembly member In-soon Nam said: “Save Ralph made Mexico become the first country in North America to end cosmetics animal testing. I hope Ralph brings a positive change to Korea as well. Considering scientific limitations to apply animal results to humans, we need to promote the development and dissemination of alternatives to animal testing approaches.”

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea senior policy manager, said: “Ralph represents over 4 million laboratory animals. In addition to the Save Ralph film, the highlight of the exhibition is also the modern technologies that can replace animal testing. The passage of the PAAM Act is important to  support these animal-free technology areas.”

The Save Ralph exhibition is being held from April 27-29 at the lobby of the National Assembly. Anyone with an ID card can enter the exhibition venue and help save Ralph.

Watch Save Ralph with Korean subtitles.

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Media contact: Borami Seo, senior policy manager in research and toxicology: bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. The operation is part of HSI’s efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia.

SEOUL—Animal groups in South Korea are urging the newly elected president Yoon Seok-yeol to act swiftly on his pre-election pledge to tackle the dog meat industry. Among them, Seoul-based animal protection group Humane Society International/Korea says Yoon’s election must herald “an historic opportunity to consign the dog meat industry to South Korea’s history books.”

Yoon Seok-yeol of the People Power party, has made several statements confirming his support for a ban on dog meat providing there is social consensus. A 2020 opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen demonstrates such consensus, 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.

During the 20th presidential election campaign, Yoon was criticised for expressing an often-repeated but baseless claim by the dog meat industry that dogs raised for meat are different from pet dogs. But he later clarified that he is personally opposed to eating dogs and would progress a phase-out plan as soon as possible as long as such an action has Korean society’s support, which polling suggests is the case.

HSI/Korea has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms since 2015 and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the dying industry. 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 dog meat farms just to be killed for soup. 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 dog meat industry, following a suggestion by the then President, Moon Jae-in. The task force, comprising of four ministries, as well as academic, dog meat industry and animal welfare stakeholders, 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 dog meat citywide.

Facts:

  • HSI/Korea helps 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, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled.
  • Although most people in South Korea don’t 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.
  • 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.*
  • Dog meat is banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, as well as in the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, Siem Reap province in Cambodia, and five cities and regencies in Indonesia. An estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

Media contacts:

  • South Korea: Nara Kim, dog meat campaign manager: nkim@hsi.org
  • United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

*Since publication of this press release and progress towards the decline of the dog meat industry in South Korea, current estimates suggest that up to 1 million dogs are reared on dog meat farms in the country.

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/HSI

SEOUL Humane Society International/Korea is encouraged to see reports that Yang Min-gyu, a Seoul city municipal council member, has proposed a bill calling on Seoul’s mayor to create a city-wide plan to ban the consumption of dog meat and promote a dog-friendly culture in Seoul.      

Nara Kim, dog meat campaign manager for Humane Society International/Korea said: “We welcome Seoul city’s proposed bill calling on the mayor to devise a plan to prohibit dog meat consumption, and its explicit recognition that all dogs are cherished family members who must be protected from the inherently cruel dog meat industry. As pet ownership rises exponentially in South Korea, so must our responsibilities to protect them from cruelty and exploitation. This proposed bill sends a powerful message to the national government just as its own task force gathers to deliberate a nationwide dog meat ban. We hope that a ban in Seoul will pave the way for an end to the brutal dog meat industry across the country, in line with public sentiment and national and global trends.” 

The proposed bill calls upon the mayor of Seoul to chart a course to ban dog meat eating and to promote a city-wide culture of dog welfare. As dog meat consumption and trade is not explicitly prohibited in South Korean national law, the municipal action is needed. According to research by Nielson Company Korea commissioned by HSI/Korea, Seoul has an estimated 436 dog meat restaurants in 2020.   

In November 2021, the South Korean government announced its plan to set up a task force to consider a ban on the eating of dog meat. The joint announcement by government ministries came after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. The task force is expected to make recommendations on next steps in April this year.   

Since 2015 HSI/Korea has rescued more than 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.  

Facts:  

  • HSI/Korea helps 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, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled.  
  • 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 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.  
  • 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.*  
  • Dog meat is 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.  

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

Media contacts:

· South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

· USA: Melissa Smith, mmsmith@humanesociety.org

*Since publication of this press release and progress towards the decline of the dog meat industry in South Korea, current estimates suggest that up to 1 million dogs are reared on dog meat farms in the country.

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