South Korea bans dog meat: breeders face up to 3 years in prison

By vote of the National Assembly of South Korea the dog meat trade was banned. A historic event in the country, considering that a million dogs are bred and killed every year. The ban will take effect in six months, with a three-year transition period: raising, slaughtering and selling meat will be officially illegal from 2027, with penalties of up to three years in prison or fines for up to 30 million South Korean citizens. won (around 20 thousand euros).

South Korea therefore joins a growing list of Asian countries and territories that have banned – with varying enforcement – the meat trade, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the mainland cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai. China, Siem Reap Province in Cambodia and 45 cities, regencies and provinces in Indonesia.

Activists welcomed the news positively Humane Society International/Korea also strong in public and political support: demand is currently at an all-time low. A 2023 public opinion poll conducted by Nielsen Korea (a public research body that deals with viewership measurement) showed that 86% of South Koreans do not intend to eat this type of meat in the future and 57% are in favor of a ban.

JungAh Chae, Director HSI/Korea, declared: «A page of history is being written. I never thought I would be a witness in my life the introduction of the ban to the cruel meat industry a dog in South Korea historic victory for Animals is a testament to the passion and commitment of the animal rights movement. We have reached a tipping point: the majority of Korean citizens refuse to eat dogs and want this suffering to be relegated to the past. Today, our lawmakers acted decisively to make it a reality. While my heart breaks for the millions of dogs for whom this change of pace came too late, I am so happy that this country can finally close this miserable chapter in its history and embrace a dog-friendly future.”

Kitty Block and Jeff Flocken, respectively CEO and President of Humane Society Internationaltogether they declare: “This is truly a historic day in our campaign and efforts to end the horrors of the dog meat industry in South Korea. Having visited numerous dog farms, we know full well the suffering and deprivation these poor animals must endure. an enterprise that is finally being forced to close its shutters. “

The adopted measures also allow dog breeders, slaughterhouse operators and restaurant owners to apply for compensation and, if accepted, receive government support for the transition or closure of these businesses.

The historicity of this day is also given by the fact that, after years of disputes, it seems that there has been a meeting between the fronts that have been fighting for years to achieve conflicting goals: those who, like the breeders, refused to give way to the possibility of a new law, long sought in the country, and those who as activists, but also many political figures supported radical change. Traditionalists and conservatives, who last “fought” last November.

In fact, although the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol provided compensation for going out of business and closing the doors of the dog meat industry, breeders considered this provision abandoning traditions, a direct attack on the country’s culture. Criticism has also been directed at First Lady Kim Keon-hee, who during the election campaign urged people to ban dog meat. But most workers in the dog meat industry are in their 60s and 70s, meaning they’re looking for retirement, not a new job.

On November 17, 2023, Yu Eui-dong, a political leader of the ruling Party of Power, said in a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists, “It is time to end social conflicts and disputes over the consumption of animal meat by passing a special law.” Chung Hwang-keun, Minister agriculture, told the meeting that the government would quickly implement the ban and provide as much support as possible to those working in the dog meat industry to close their businesses.First Lady Kim Keon Hee has been a vocal critic of dog meat consumption and along with her husband, President Yoon Suk Yeolem, adopted several stray dogs.

Dog meat is traditionally considered an invigorating food and is mainly consumed in the hottest summer months, July and August. And while some cultures might seem absurd to most people, there is a culinary tradition in South Korea dedicated to this type of meat. Among the most popular dishes are boshintang – a boiled meat soup considered to be invigorating – and gaesoju, a drink obtained by cooking dog meat together with various herbs. It is estimated that around two and a half million dogs are bred every year in South Korea to produce these recipes, often in conditions described as terrible: mostly Nureongs and Korean Mastiffs, but there are also Jinds and crossbreeds that add to the breeding of purebred dogs. who are abandoned by their owners and then introduced to breeding grounds. According to data from South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, there are approximately 1,100 breeding facilities in the country, breeding 570,000 dogs. There are 1,600 restaurants that serve dog meat. So the revolution would actually be a radical change in the secular culture of the entire country. It is the new generation that is changing the direction of travel with its sensitivity to this topic, and today’s victory is a strong signal.

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