70% of South Korea Is Against Dog Meat And Their Government Is Taking Action
A legal battle between animal rights activists and dog meat farmers in Buncheon, South Korea just resulted in a landmark victory. Animal welfare organizations and concerned citizens have been standing up to the dog meat industry for decades—and the tide is finally turning in their favor.
Last year, the Korean animal rights group CARE filed a complaint against a dog farmer in Buncheon, stating that he was “killing animals without proper reason” in addition to violating building codes and hygienic standards. These activists did not expect what would happen next—instead of simply closing down this one farm, the court ruled that killing dogs for meat consumption is illegal. This practice had never been ruled completely illegal in any context in South Korea until now.
Kim Kyung-en, the lawyer for CARE, was highly satisfied with the results. “It is very significant in that it is the first court decision that killing dogs for dog meat is illegal itself,” she commented. She also stated that this ruling “paved the way for outlawing dog meat consumption entirely.”
In South Korea, the dog meat trade is on the decline, with 70% of Koreans stating that they would not eat dog. The industry came under fire during the Pyeongchang Olympics this past winter, with many athletes stating that they strongly opposed this practice. Some even adopted dogs from the farms to give them another chance.
But while eating dog meat is considered somewhat taboo amongst younger Koreans, older generations view dog meat as a delicacy. Some believe that the meat has medicinal properties which can boost strength and vitality, and continue to eat it merely because it is traditional.
Until the new ruling in Buncheon, the industry existed in a legal gray area, with activists unsuccessful in their attempts to ban it completely. Authorities had been coming down hard on dog farms and restaurants serving dog, and while they were able to shut some of them down by citing hygiene violations and banned methods of slaughter, the law was not always on their side.
Most importantly, there is now an official bill in South Korea’s parliament that will outright ban all dog farming if it is passed. While there is not a full ban in effect all across South Korea yet, authorities have the Buncheon ruling to back them up when it comes to shutting down other dog farms. It will now be much easier to crack down on this trade.
The dog meat trade in South Korea and other nearby countries has sparked international outrage in recent years. In China, events like the Yulin Dog Festival, where thousands of dogs are slaughtered each year, continue despite worldwide protests. But soon, events like this could become a thing of the past. As younger generations raise their voices in support of animal rights, we can hope to see an end to this cruel industry.