“There is no future in this dog meat industry,” says farmer Kim

Humane Society International / Global


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

SEOUL—More than 70 dogs found languishing on a South Korean dog meat farm by animal charity Humane Society International have been given a second chance by the farmer’s decision to quit the dog meat industry once and for all. Mr. Nakseon Kim has been breeding dogs for nearly 40 years, but he jumped at the chance to leave dog farming behind when HSI offered to help him start a new life growing cabbages and other vegetables instead.

Amid growing South Korean opposition to eating dogs and a series of new regulations and court rulings cracking down on the industry, farmers like Mr. Kim are increasingly looking for an exit strategy but with one request – to save their dogs. After years of sending the animals to slaughter, Mr. Kim is not the first farmer to be relieved to learn that HSI rescues, rehabilitates and seeks happy homes for all the dogs.

“It may sound odd but I started dog farming because I like dogs,” said Mr. Kim, “I’ve never actually been a big fan of dog meat myself. I had a few dogs so I began breeding them and when I had 20 or 30 I started to sell them because I thought it would be good money but it hasn’t really worked out that way. I earn nothing from this dog farm, and pressure from the government is increasing and it’s not a good business at all.”

On his property in Hongseong, Mr. Kim breeds tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers for two abusive industries – the meat trade and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs are destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade. Despite Korea’s dog meat industry attempting to claim a difference between pet dogs and “meat dogs”, the reality is they are all just dogs whose fate ultimately depends on where greatest profits can be made.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more. As Koreans we need to be their voice and call for an end to the dog farming and dog meat industries.”

Marking the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its farmer transition program began in 2015, all the dogs will eventually be flown to partner shelters in Canada and the United States to seek adoptive homes. First, they are being relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea while the organization waits for COVID-19 travel restrictions to relax. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

HSI hopes its model for change will hasten an end to the controversial and cruel industry by demonstrating to the Korean government that a farmer-supported phase out of farms can work.

Mr. Kim said: “It’s too much work and I’ve got too old to be doing this for no profit. I just want to get some rest from all of this now. I’ve had enough, especially now that I have to pay for dog food since the local school decided to stop giving me free kitchen waste. I don’t think there are many people in South Korea who are willing to run dog meat farms anymore. There is no future in this dog meat industry. Once HSI helps me close my dog farm, I think I will start to grow crops instead like lettuce, cabbage, or other greens to sell to restaurants. That’s a business with a future.”

Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. In 2018 both Indonesia and Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi pledged an end to the dog meat trade, and most recently in April 2020 the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai banned dog and cat meat consumption following a public statement by the Chinese government that dogs are considered companions and not livestock. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

Facts:   

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.

Download broll video and photos of the rescue.

ENDS

Media contacts
United Kingdom and international media: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423
United States: Nancy Hwa, nhwa@hsi.org, 1-202-596-0808
South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

Rescued dogs to be temporarily sheltered in Seoul

Humane Society International / Canada


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, February 8, 2020.

MONTREAL –More than 70 dogs found suffering by HSI on a hybrid dog meat farm and puppy mill in South Korea have been rescued and relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

Many of the dogs will eventually be flown to HSI/Canada’s Montreal emergency shelter, where over 450 dogs from the dog meat trade have been successfully rehabilitated before being placed in forever homes. This marks the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its pioneering dog meat farm transition program began in 2015.

Several breeds were found on this facility, including tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers. The facility supplied two abusive industries: the meat trade, and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs were destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade.

Émilie-Lune Sauvé, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada, stated: “We are so relieved to know that these dogs, who have endured such misery, are safe at last. But millions more are still confined on dog meat farms in South Korea and this industry needs to be shut down for good. We urge South Korea to follow the example of the two cities in China that have recently banned dog meat trade, and end this suffering forever.”

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, added: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more.”

Opposition to eating dogs is growing steadily in South Korea, and a series of new regulations and court rulings are cracking down on this cruel industry.

To download broll video and photos of the rescue, click here.

Facts:

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 surveyby Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.
  • Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

-30-

Media contact: Christopher Paré, Director of Communications, HSI/Canada – Cell: 438-402-0643, email: cpare@hsi.org

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at hsicanada.ca.

Humane Society International / South Korea


GlobalP/istockphoto.com

SEOUL—On this World Day for Animals in Laboratories, following chilling evidence of the suffering of cats in Korean laboratories, Humane Society International and the Korean Society for Alternative to Animal Experiments wish to acknowledge the pioneering scientists and institutions working to replace animal testing, and urge government ministries to increase their funding support for innovation and medical progress without animals.

HSI’s Senior Policy Manager Borami Seo said, “Across South Korea, scientists are striving to develop and use state-of-the-art approaches for research, instead of opting for outdated animal testing methods. Yet as we’ve seen again this week, many researchers are still stuck in the past, subjecting cats, dogs, pigs and millions of other animals to harmful experiments each year, often paid for with public tax money. It’s time to change the paradigm, and for our government to move away from funding animal research and instead reward our dedicated innovators who are advancing humane science.”

KSAAE President Dr Tae Cheon Jeong said, “As an academic society, we will try our best to provide expert support for researchers who want to move away from animal testing. We highly commend current endeavors and will continue to work together in advancing non-animal technology.”

Korean scientists are rapidly developing human-relevant methods to help understand human disease and identify faster and more effective approaches than relying on animal models. Seoul-based stem cell technology company Nexel recently published its research on Wilson’s disease, incorporating gene editing technology into human cell-based models for drug screening. This is a welcome development as millions of animals are used in gene editing experiments, with millions more animals used for creating and maintaining strains of genetically modified animals. Another Korean bio start-up company, Dana Green, is focusing on establishing human organ-mimetic models using 3D cell technology, aiming to develop next-generation technology that shows higher, more human-relevant prediction rates for drug development.

Korea Institute of Toxicology’s predictive toxicology department recently introduced ToxSTAR, a platform that allows high-speed chemical screening to predict toxicity. Another company, Biosolution, developed a human cornea model that can replace animal testing for various eye conditions, and has since been accepted as an official test method by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. However, despite rigorous validation and international recognition, this method is not yet widely used in Korea due to a lack of support from the government and industry to promote the method.

Similarly, the majority of laboratories certified as Good Laboratory Practice by the Ministry of Environment still use animals even though internationally recognized alternatives are readily available. According to chemnavi.or.kr, only four of 19 registered Korean contract testing facilities are currently providing alternative test services; Biotoxtech, AB Solution, ChemOn and Korea Testing & Research Institute. Of these, only KTR’s Alternative Testing Center is named as a GLP-certified service offering non-animal, human-based tests. Ellead Skin & Bio Research is certified by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for offering human reconstructed skin irritation tests. An industry source said that the company was not aware of any local testing facilities that provide non-animal test services until the HSI-driven amendment to Korea’s chemical law, K-REACH, was enacted. The law requires the Ministry of Environment and companies to minimize the use of vertebrate animals in the process of producing hazard information for chemicals, including prioritizing vertebrate animal alternative tests and sharing of existing chemical test data.

HSI is working with members of the National Assembly on further legal reforms that would require federal ministries that fund biology research to meaningfully fund the development of human-mimetic, non-animal models to replace animal testing in Korea as a mainstream activity.

END

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


sidsnapper/iStock.com

SEOUL—Humane Society International congratulates Assembly member Jeong-ae Han on the National Assembly’s passage of her amendment to the Chemical Consumer Products and Biocides law, promoting alternatives to animal testing.

Assembly member Han, who previously sponsored and helped to pass a similar bill revising the Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemical Substances (K-REACH) to prioritize alternative methods, said, “I am very pleased to see another major amendment prioritizing alternatives to animal testing. With the K-REACH amendment, we learned that policy support is very important not only for government authorities but to encourage chemical companies and research institutions to collaborate on the development of better and more humane safety tests for consumers. With these two amendments, it is my hope that Korean chemical industries will have the stimulus necessary to become global leaders in advancing ethical approaches for consumer safety.”

Han’s measure adds to existing law the principle of minimizing vertebrate animal testing and includes support and incentives for small- to medium-sized enterprises to avoid repeated animal testing and to develop and disseminate alternatives to vertebrate animal testing.

HSI’s Senior Policy Manager for Korea Borami Seo said, “Through stakeholder meetings with policymakers and others, HSI has been advocating for the inclusion of language in Korean chemical legislation that promotes the development and adoption of human-based approaches. Many Korean chemical industries support the idea of replacing animal testing with better predictive tools for chemical safety. We hope that with this bill, environmental authorities will provide strong implementation plans to accelerate the move away from animal testing.”

Background

Last December, Korea’s Presidential Advisory Council on Science & Technology published a report on chemical management that advises a shift away from animal testing toward a predictive paradigm based on molecular characterization of chemical activity. This includes supporting Adverse Outcome Pathway research and biotechnology such as omics-based data analysis (comprehensive genetic or molecular profile evaluation of human and nonhuman animals), 3D models or organ-on-a-chip.

In 2019, the US EPA announced that it will eliminate all mammal studies by 2035 and committed significant funding to advance non-mammalian safety testing, in order to “ensure production of human health and the environment.”

 

END

 

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International


Jiri Patava/iStock.com

SEOUL—Global animal welfare organization Humane Society International has presented a petition with 83,232 signatures against dog cloning to the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, urging the Ministry to permanently cease funding research to clone working dogs. HSI’s petition came in response to disturbing footage obtained by the Beagle Rescue Network in 2019, showing cloned dogs created through MAFRA-funded research being used for training in cruel conditions. After their rescue, one dog died as a result of multiple factors including obvious malnutrition and another dog is being treated with strong painkillers due to severe stress caused by the training

HSI’s Senior Policy Manager for Korea Borami Seo said, “As a proud Korean, I am deeply disturbed to learn that our government ministries have been using public tax money to fund frivolous animal cloning tests to breed sniffer dogs for airport security, and that they were doing so without regard for ethical or welfare concerns that are inherent in a highly experimental procedure like cloning. No other government among the OECD countries has funded cloning of sniffer dogs, nor should such experiments ever have been approved or funded in Korea. HSI, along with 83,232 supporters, urges MAFRA to pull the plug on this frivolous dog cloning research once and for all.”

MAFRA’s five-year Master Plan for Science and Technology published last December identified animal cloning technology as a strategic priority. Examples of publicly-funded projects in the past three years include customization and production of cloned dogs for Alzheimer’s and other human disease research, production of cloned pigs and the development of mass production technology for cloning black cattle for agricultural purposes.

Cloning is an invasive and distressing procedure that inflicts pain and suffering on many animals, not just the ‘end’ product clones. The process to create a single cloned animal is inefficient, potentially requiring hundreds of fertilized eggs, which are then implanted into surrogate mothers. Once they have played their part, the fate of the surrogates and the donor animals is often unknown.

Since the Beagle Rescue Network exposé, the MAFRA-funded sniffer dog cloning project has been suspended. MAFRA is currently revising Animal Protection Act regulations related to working dogs for testing, and HSI and others have called on the agency to prohibit any further cloning testing using working dogs.

*Further reading (Korean only): HSI’s statement on dog cloning for detection dogs

END

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Global


Plant-based dish
HSI

With the plant-based eating movement enjoying such momentum in 2019, this holiday season Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States invite you to celebrate in delicious, international plant-based style! Our colleagues around the world have chosen some of their favorite holiday recipes to share with you and your loved ones to kick off an even more humane 2020.

There are many reasons to eat more plant-based foods – for your health, for the animals and for the environment. This holiday season why not let plants take more of the starring role with some of our favorite recipes from around the globe.

Brazil: Festive rice

Treat your taste buds to the flavors of Brazil with this festive rice dish. This recipe is a simple one to prepare and can be made in advance and then warmed before serving. 

Canada: Stuffed acorn squash
Whether making this for yourself on a cozy night in or serving this to guests, our aromatic stuffed acorn squash is sure to be hit.

South Africa: Sweet and sour “chicken” and mushroom braai pie

Have you ever barbequed a pie? Try a taste of South Africa this holiday season with this sweet and sour “chicken” and mushroom braai pie! Fun fact: the term braai is Afrikaans for barbeque or grill, so fire up that grill and get braaing.

Southeast Asia: Mango delice

Mango sticky rice, although traditionally a Thai dessert, is immensely popular throughout Southeast Asia. Bring these tropical flavors into your home this holiday season with this mango delice—a delicate dessert sure to melt in your mouth!

United Kingdom: Mushroom chestnut and parsnip barley bake

Delight your guests over the holidays with a beautiful plant-based centerpiece. This recipe for a delicious mushroom chestnut and parsnip barley bake is bound to impress all your dinner guests.

United States: Old fashioned apple pie

Though it is said to have originated in England some 600 years ago, apple pie is a delicious American favorite. This classic dessert and comfort food is simple to make entirely plant-based.

Vietnam: Summer rolls with peanut sauce

In Vietnam, fried spring rolls (nem rán/chả giò) are always a signature feature of a festive meal. Try a healthier twist on this classic recipe with the bold, fresh flavors of summer rolls in a creamy peanut sauce.

Throughout the year, the food and nutrition teams of HSI and HSUS teach the culinary staff at schools, colleges and universities, workplaces, healthcare facilities and more how to prepare and menu tasty, nutritious and creative plant-based meals. In 2019 alone, HSI hosted more than 150 culinary events globally, training over 1,330 food service professionals across Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. For more information about these trainings, contact Stefanie McNerney at smcnerney@hsi.org. Since 2015, the HSUS has trained nearly 11,000 foodservice professionals and helped over 600 institutions throughout the United States adopt plant-based initiatives. To learn more about training benefits and opportunities, contact Maria Katrien Heslin at mheslin@humanesociety.org.

Humane Society International/Korea welcomes move as an important step towards South Korea becoming dog meat-free

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/for HSI Puppies locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Yeoju, South Korea, September 2019

SEOUL—Seoul’s last three dog meat shops have agreed to end dog slaughter on-site, following over a year of campaigning from Seoul’s Mayor Park Won-soon and the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The initiative has been welcomed by leading animal charity Humane Society International/Korea which has been active in South Korea since 2015 working with dog meat farmers to close farms, rescue dogs and drive change.

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% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. In July this year HSI/Korea assisted in the closure of South Korea’s notorious Gupo dog meat market in Busan, following the closure the previous year of Taepyeong, the largest dog slaughterhouses in the country in Seongnam.

Nara Kim, dog meat campaign manager for Humane Society International/Korea says: “I am so happy to see Seoul’s last remaining dog meat shops end dog slaughter. Although these shops can still sell dog meat, it is nonetheless wonderful to see South Korea take one step further away from this dying industry that most Koreans want nothing to do with. It gives me hope that South Korea’s future is dog meat-free. HSI/Korea will continue working with the government, and supporting farmers who no longer want to work in the dog meat trade, so that one day we will be able to celebrate the closure of South Korea’s final dog slaughterhouse.”

HSI/Korea has so far closed 15 dog meat farms in South Korea, helping farmers to close down their dog meat farms and transition to alternative, humane livelihoods. Increasingly, dog farmers are keen to exit the controversial trade due to societal shame, family pressure and decreasing profits.

Photos and video of HSI’s latest dog meat farm closure and rescue are available for download here.

ENDS

Media contact:

HSI Director of International Media Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423

15 puppies headed to the Washington, D.C., area

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI A puppy locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Yeoju, South Korea, on Sunday, August 11, 2019.

WASHINGTON—Humane Society International’s rescue team is on the ground in South Korea to save 90 dogs and puppies from the horrors of the dog meat trade and to bring them to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Fifteen puppies will be arriving in the D.C. area on September 26 and 27, where they will be taken in by local shelter and rescue partners, such as the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, to find new homes.

The dogs were living on a dog meat farm in Gyeonggi-do province that is closing thanks to HSI’s pioneering program that helps dog farmers who want to leave the increasingly controversial industry. This is the 15th dog farm HSI has permanently closed, and one of thousands of such farms across the country supplying live dogs to slaughterhouses and markets for human consumption.

The tosa and jindo breeds typical of the trade were kept at the farm alongside a chow-chow, golden retriever, several terrier mixes and two Boston terriers, all destined for slaughter. Most were enduring miserable lives in cramped and barren wire frame cages, while others were chained alone. The farmer, 40-year old Kwon Tae-young also admits to having sold puppies to dogfighters. Despite being illegal, dogfighting persists in South Korea, and HSI has discovered dogfighting rings at a number of the farms closed by the organization since the program began in 2015.

The farmer said: “I’ve thought about closing my dog farm for a while now for various reasons, but never actually did anything about it. I have lost more money on this dog farm than I have made, and I feel like the dog meat industry in South Korea has already ended really because it’s the worst of times for dog farmers I think. One day I talked to a former dog farmer who had worked with HSI and he recommended I work with them to help me leave the dog meat industry. Rather than selling them off to traders, I thought it would be so much better if they can live their life and not die for meat or live the life of a fighting dog. That why I’m working with HSI.”

HSI’s unique program works with dog farmers to rescue their dogs and transition their businesses to more humane and profitable enterprises such as crop growing or water delivery. The farmer signs a 20-year contract, stipulating they must not breed dogs or any animals again, and the cages are demolished to ensure that no animals will suffer on the property in future.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner said: “More Koreans than ever before are speaking out against the dog meat industry, and pressure is building on the government to phase out this cruel business. As a Korean and an adopter of a dog meat trade survivor, I know what a difference HSI’s program can make in hastening an end to the suffering and what wonderful pets dog meat farm survivors can be when given a chance.” 

Recent moves by authorities to curb the dog meat trade reflect how Korean society is increasingly ill at ease with the industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted the Seongnam city council in shutting down Taepyeong, the largest dog slaughterhouse in the country, and in July this year HSI/Korea worked with other Korean animal groups and the Busan city council to close down the Gupo dog meat market.

As political and public momentum grows in South Korea to end the dog meat trade, HSI’s strategy points to the need for a solution that works for both people and dogs caught up in the industry. The organization hopes its program will demonstrate to the government that the group’s voluntary phase-out model can be adopted nationwide with state support and can end the industry for good.

Facts:   

  • An estimated 2 million dogs a year are reared on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dogs are mainly killed by electrocution, taking up to five minutes to die. Hanging is also practiced despite being illegal.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining rapidly in South Korea, particularly among younger generations. According to a June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea, 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future.
  • Most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, but it remains popular during the Bok days of summer (Bok Nal) in July and August, when it is eaten as a soup called bosintang.
  • The dog meat industry is in legal limbo in South Korea, neither legal nor illegal. Many provisions of the Animal Protection Act are routinely breached, such as the ban on killing animals in a brutal way including hanging by the neck, and on killing them in public areas or in front of other animals of the same species.
  • At each dog meat farm closure, HSI’s veterinarian vaccinates all the dogs against the H3N2 (dog flu) virus, rabies, DHPP, corona virus, distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a temporary shelter with no dogs permitted in or out for at least 30 days prior to transport overseas.

Video and photos of the dogs on the farm are available here and here

END

Media contacts:

Humane Society International/Korea says closures of Moran and Gupo dog meat markets mark end of a gruesome era

Humane Society International / South Korea


SEOUL – South Korean authorities have shut down Gupo dog meat market in Busan, notorious for being one of the country’s largest markets selling chilled dog meat as well as live dogs killed to order. More than 80 live but terrified dogs were rescued as part of a negotiated closure with the dog meat vendors who will be offered compensation to set up alternative businesses as part of a remodelling project to regenerate the area.

The dogs are now in the care of animal charities Humane Society International/Korea, Korean Animal Welfare Association, Korea Animal Rights Advocates and Busan Korean Alliance for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who worked with the authorities to close Gupo market. Busan’s Mayor Geodon Oh and the Head of Gu office, Myung Hee Chung, worked together with the dog traders to find a solution.

The closure of Gupo is the latest in a series of crack downs by officials on the cruel trade. In November last year, Seongnam city demolished Taepyeong, the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse, and closed down most of the related dog meat vendors. However, the closure of Gupo market is the first such closure where complete agreement has been reached between the vendors and local authorities.

Photos and video of the dog market and slaughterhouse closure and rescue are available for download here: https://newsroom.humanesociety.org/fetcher/index.php?searchMerlin=1&searchBrightcove=1&submitted=1&mw=d&q=MarketRescue0719

Nara Kim, dog meat campaigner for Humane Society International/Korea (휴메인 소사이어티 인터내셔널) who attended the closure and rescue, says: “I cannot express enough my joy at helping to close down the dog meat shops and slaughterhouse at Gupo market. For decades they have stood as a very public symbol of the immense cruelty of the dog meat trade, with live dogs displayed in cages on the street for shoppers to select for slaughter by electrocution. The closure of Gupo’s dog meat market means the end of a gruesome era in South Korea’s dog meat history, and a sign of the times that law enforcement and local authorities are cracking down on this increasingly unpopular industry that most Koreans want nothing to do with. I know we have a long way to go to end the dog meat trade here, but even two years ago I would never have believed we would see such progress. It has been a pleasure to work with the Busan authorities, and especially in being able to save the last remaining dogs we found alive.”

At the height of business at Gupo in the 1970s and 1980s, the market housed around 60 dog meat shops but after the Seoul Olympic in 1988 it started to decrease. Just 17 dog meat vendors and two dog tonic (gaesoju) shops remained before today’s closure.

Humane Society International/Korea’s rescue team was on site to assist the closure and rescue with partners KARA, KAWA and Busan KAPCA. They found more than 80 mainly jindo mix dogs cowering in their cages, just a handful of the estimated 2 million dogs bred on thousands of dog meat farms across the country. HSI/Korea specialises in working with dog meat farmers to close down these farms and transition farmers to alternative, humane livelihoods. Increasingly, dog farmers are keen to exit the controversial trade due to societal shame, family pressure and decreasing profits.

HSI/Korea’s Nara Kim says: “The dog market scene was really upsetting, with dogs displayed in cages in front of each store. The smell was overwhelming.  HSI has closed down 14 dog meat farms in South Korea and rescued nearly 1,800 dogs, all of whom would have ended up in a terrible place just like this. All the dogs at Gupo have been removed and transported to a temporary shelter where they will recover from their ordeal. A few will remain in Korea to find new homes, but HSI will fly all the others overseas to Canada or the United States to get the love and care they deserve before being placed with shelter and rescue partners who will seek adoptive homes.”

Kim Ae-ra, president of Busan Korean Alliance for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: “We started anti-dog meat protests in front of Gupo dog meat market for the first time in 2007 and so we are deeply moved that the market will be the first complete shutdown of its kind in Korea.”

Yim Soonrye of Korea Animal Rights Advocates, said: “Dog slaughterhouses are collapsing one by one, from Seongnam Moran Market to Taepyeong-dong and Busan Gupo Market, and in addition Gyeonggi Province has introduced its own judicial polices to crack down on illegal dog slaughterhouses. This all shows that the Korean dog meat industry is starting to fall. As local governments are moving forward, the Korean government must also take action by closing all illegal dog farms, by the Blue House keeping its promise to exclude dogs from the legal definition of ‘livestock’, and by the National Assembly passing the proposed bill to end the dog meat industry before the end of next year’s session. We welcome the decision made by Busan Metropolitan City and the merchants of Gupo, and believe that the shutdown of Gupo dog market will be a major stepping stone towards ending dog meat in Korea.”

Cho Hee-kyung, president of Korean Animal Welfare Association, said: “The permanent shutdown of Gupo dog meat market is a long-awaited victory against animal cruelty in our campaign to end the dog meat trade in South Korea. We will now step forward to call for the shutdown of Chil-seong market, another large dog meat market in Daegu.”

Facts

  • 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% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future.
  • Busan city has signed a closure contract with each dog meat vendor, contractually prevented from transitioning to other dog meat related businesses. The entire street of stores will be demolished.
  • The regeneration plan is due for completion by 2020 and will culminate in the launch of a community park.
  • Busan city veterinarians will give all the rescued dogs a health check, and further care and vaccinations will be performed by HSI and partnering local groups. Every dog will be tested for the presence of the H3N2 virus (dog flu), and vaccinated against rabies, DHPP, corona virus vaccines, distemper and parvo. The dogs will then be quarantined in Korea under the groups’ care before travel to Canada and the United States.
  • The decision by the Busan authorities to close the dog market at Gupo is the result of lots of factors, not least years of protests by local residents and Korean animal groups including CARE, and Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation.

 

Media contacts:

  • HSI/Korea휴메인 소사이어티 인터내셔널: Nara Kim김나라  nkim@hsi.org  010-2834-5703
  • HSI/United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org +44 (0)7989 972 423

Humane Society International / South Korea


Feeding a drug to a mouse
Manjurul/istock

SEOUL — Korean laboratory animal statistics published this week by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs revealed record-high animal use in 2018, and that one in every three animals in a Korean laboratory (38%) is subject to a chemical poisoning experiment – the most severe category of experiment, in which animals are denied pain relief. In total 3,727,163 rodents, rabbits, dogs, fish, monkeys and other animals were used in Korean experiments in 2018, an increase of 21% over the previous year.

The continued upward trend in animal use has been slammed by Humane Society International as a reflection of the ongoing failure of Korean product safety regulators and industry to use all available non-animal approaches to testing and assessment for chemicals and other products. Local demand for animal testing under the Korea Act on Registration and Evaluation, etc of Chemical Substances (K-REACH) and Biocidal Products Act (K-BPR) are believed to be major contributors to this trend, because the government statistics show that companies used the overwhelming majority (89%) of animals, compared with national and public institutions (less than 9%).

Alarmingly, the statistics also revealed that 2,167 animals were used in 2018 for cosmetics testing in Korea despite the Cosmetics Act reform bill, which came into effect to limit animal use in 2017.

HSI Senior Policy Manager Borami Seo said, “It’s disgraceful that Korean companies are still performing cosmetic animal testing after the government has banned this practice, and that more than a million animals were made to suffer last year in the cruelest of animal tests for the sake of chemicals and other products. It’s an unacceptable betrayal to consumers, who mistakenly believe that cosmetics sold in Korea are now cruelty-free, and does little to improve consumer or environmental protection because tests on rodents, dogs and other animals are so often poor predictors of human response. It’s time for private testing facilities and public institutions to get serious about adopting existing non-animal approaches, and for Korean authorities to accept and require use of such methods when available instead of calling for new animal testing. We look forward to working with scientific communities in promoting the use of advanced technology such as in vitro bio-mimetic and computational methods, as well as investing their resources for human-relevant research, replacing animal use.”

HSI has been working closely with Korean politicians in the National Assembly to address the explosion in animal testing through legislative revisions to K-REACH and K-BPR to make it compulsory for regulatory authorities and companies to use available non-animal methods to the fullest extent possible. HSI is also working to establish legislation that will support scientific studies and research based on human-relevant methods without using animals.

Facts:

Animal use by testing purpose

Research area % Animal number
Regulatory test 38.0 1,415,631
Basic research 29.4 1,095,412
Translational & applied research 24.1 897,113
Production of genetically engineered animals 3.5 129,838
Etc. 3.1 114,518
Research for species conservation 1.4 51,910
Education or training 0.5 18,851
Forensic 0.0 1,322
Environmental protection research for human or animal health or welfare 0.0 568
Total 100 3,727,163

 

Use of animals by institutions under regulatory testing category

Institutions % Animal number
National/public institutions 8.5 120,268
Universities 2.0 27,930
Medical institutions 0.4 5,995
Companies 89.1 1,261,438
Total 100 1,415,631

 

Use of animals under toxicity and other safety assessments category

Regulatory toxicity and other safety assessments % Animal number
Test for human pharmaceutical related law 46.3 167,134
Test for animal pharmaceutical related law 5.3 19,194
Test for medical devices related law 18.6 67,121
Test for industrial chemicals related law 6.7 24,353
Test for plant protection product related law 4.2 15,177
Test for insecticide, pesticide related law 0.5 1,756
Test for food related law 6.1 22,114
Test for animal feed related law 0.0 46
Test for cosmetics related law 0.6 2,106
Other 11.6 41,998
Total 100.0 360,999

END

Media contact: Borami Seo, bseo@hsi.org