Happy Dog - © Gather Cowork Space

South Korea To Ban Human Consumption Of Dog Meat

South Korea has long been cited as a major offender by Animal Protection groups. The custom of eating dog meat goes back at least a thousand years there. Now the South Korean government has pledged to outlaw dog meat consumption by 2027…

Riley the Wonder Dog - © 2018 Maggiejs.caRiley the Wonder Dog! Our faithful, beloved snuggle buddy and burglar alarm.

Most of the world already agrees

“Across Asia, millions of dogs and cats are brutally killed for meat. In South Korea, dogs are farmed in appalling conditions,” Humane Society International (HSI) declares at the top of its main webpage. “HSI closes down dog farms for good by helping farmers transition to more humane industries and rescuing the dogs on the farms. HSI Canada transports hundreds of these dogs to Canada and then provides care and rehabilitation before they are placed in forever homes.”

With the passage of the new bill – predicted to come by early next year – one of the 3 major offenders will be off HSI’s list. The new law is expected to enjoy bi-lateral support from parliamentarians.

Staggering numbers

HSI claims 30+ million dogs and 10+ million cats are killed annually for food across Asia. South Korea alone has thousands of dog ‘farms’ dedicated to raising dogs for human consumption.

Though neither dog nor cat meat is eaten by the majority of Asians, HSI says the practice remains a cultural norm in certain regions.

Time to end it

“It is time to put an end to social conflicts and controversies around dog meat consumption through the enactment of a special act to end it,” Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the People Power Party, said at a recent meeting with government officials and animal protection activists.

HSI was delighted to hear about the pending dog meat ban: “A dream come true for all of us who have campaigned so hard to end this cruelty.”

Passage of the law will come with a 3-year adaptation period during which former dog farmers will receive financial and practical help from the government to convert to other forms of agriculture.

Transition support is key

Previous attempts to pass a dog meat ban were unsuccessful. Largely because many people protested that such a move would put thousands of breeders and restaurants our of business.

A report by Al Jazeera states, “South Korea [currently] has about 1,150 dog-breeding farms, 34 slaughter houses and 219 dog meat distributors in the country, according to government data. About 1,600 restaurants serve dog meat.”

On the decline, anyway…

Human consumption of dog meat has been on the decline in Korea in recent years. A Gallup Korea poll last year revealed:

  • 64 percent of South Koreans were opposed dog meat consumption.
  • 8 percent of respondents had eaten dog within the past year. And…
  • that figure was down sharply from 27 percent in 2015.

The time was simply deemed right for another try at a ban.

My take

As the Mom of two cherished cats and a beloved dog, I am pleased as punch to see that public opinion and cultural tradition have met in the middle on the dog meat issue in South Korea. Even if it’s only one of the smaller ‘markets’. Next stop the Philippines or Indonesia?

I note with some satisfaction that China – heretofore the worst offender per capita for human dog meat consumption – quietly outlawed its dog meat trade in 2020. Alas… I suspect that a lot of dogs are still routinely slaughtered or human consumption there, especially in the hinterland…

~ Maggie J.