South Korea plans to end the tradition of eating dog meat, with the aim of resolving the controversy surrounding this ancient custom. The decision comes in response to both international criticism for its perceived cruelty and growing opposition within the country, especially among the younger generation.
Why is South Korea planning to ban dog meat?
“It is time to put an end to the social conflicts and controversies surrounding the consumption of dog meat by enacting a special law to put an end to it,” said Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the ruling People Power Party, at a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists.
When will the government present the bill?
The government and the ruling party plan to present a bill this year to impose a ban on eating dog meat. With expected bipartisan support, the bill is expected to easily pass parliament.
Agriculture Minister Chung Hwang-keun said the government would quickly implement the ban and offer maximum support to those working in the dog meat industry to help them close their businesses.
First lady Kim Keon Hee, an outspoken critic of dog meat consumption, along with President Yoon Suk Yeol, have adopted stray dogs.
In the past, attempts to pass anti-dog meat bills have faced protests from industry participants, concerned about their livelihoods. The proposed ban includes a three-year grace period and financial support to help companies exit the trade.
While eating dog meat has been an ancient practice on the Korean Peninsula, it has become less common in South Korea, particularly among the younger generation.
The ban is expected to have a significant impact on the remaining businesses involved in the dog meat industry, including breeding farms, slaughterhouses, distribution companies and restaurants.
Animal rights groups such as Humane Society International welcomed the potential ban as a “dream come true” for those who advocate against animal cruelty.
Government data indicates that around 1,150 breeding farms, 34 slaughterhouses, 219 distribution companies and approximately 1,600 restaurants serve dog meat. A Gallup Korea poll last year found that 64% of respondents opposed eating dog meat, and only 8% had consumed dog meat in the past year, a decrease from 27% in 2015.
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