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 The outdated method was carried out for batch quality control of pharmaceutical and biological products, using mice and guinea pigs.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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Media contacts:

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

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.

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Media contacts:

· South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

· USA: Melissa Smith, mmsmith@humanesociety.org

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

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/HSI

SEOUL—The South Korean government has 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 comes after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. The task force will include officials, civilian experts and stakeholder representatives, who will make recommendations on next steps to take and ways to end dog meat consumption. The discussions are expected to continue until April 2022.   

The news is welcomed by Seoul-based animal protection organisation Humane Society International/Korea as a crucial step, but the organisation hopes for decisive action to end both the suffering of animals and the struggles of dog farmers. Since 2015, HSI/Korea 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.  

Nara Kim, Humane Society International/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager, says: 

“As someone who has visited many dog meat farms and witnessed first-hand the squalor, deprivation, and physical and mental trauma endured by the dogs, I dream of the day when this cruel industry will be consigned to South Korea’s history books. I really hope that this taskforce is a crucial step towards that goal, and HSI/Korea stands ready to contribute our expertise in dog meat farm closures and dog welfare. With more than a million dogs every year enduring excruciating suffering and brutal deaths and with many dog farmers struggling to make a living due to dwindling consumer demand, this taskforce must deliver a bold outcome that brings relief to all. Of course the dog meat association will oppose it, that’s to be expected, but the truth is that the market for dog meat is now so small, most dog farmers know there is no future in it and so it would be far better to launch a government-supported phase out. HSI/Korea has helped many farmers leave the dog meat industry behind them and switch to more sustainable and humane livelihoods. It’s better for them and of course better for the dogs who will no longer be born into a life of suffering.”  

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

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.  

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Media contact:  

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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