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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

South Korea to consider banning dog meat | World News

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South Korea is launching a task force to consider outlawing the consumption of dog meat after the country’s president offered to study the possibility of ending the practice.

The number of restaurants serving dog meat in the country has declined as younger people generally find it a less appetizing option and pets are gaining popularity.

But recent polls indicate that more people are opposed to banning dog meat, even if many don’t eat it.

Image:
Members of the Korean Dog Meat Association eat dog meat during a rally to support the practice in Seoul in 2019. Photo: AP

Seven government offices, including the Ministry of Agriculture, said they decided to launch the group made up of officials, civil experts and people from related organizations to deliver recommendations on the possible outlawing of dog meat consumption.

He said authorities would gather information on dog farms, restaurants and other facilities while they sift through public opinion.

The statement said that “public awareness of their basic rights and animal rights are entangled in a complicated way” when it comes to dog meat.

Public opinion suggests that “people have negative opinions about eating dogs and legally banning it,” he noted.

The government says the initiative does not necessarily guarantee a ban on the centuries-old practice, a stance that sparked immediate protests from dog breeders and animal rights activists.

Farmers say the launch of the task force is a formality to shut down their dog meat farms and restaurants, while activists insist the government’s announcement lacks determination to ban dog meat.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks at the UN General Assembly in New York
Image:
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a dog lover, sparked a debate about the practice in September.

Ju Yeongbong, general secretary of an association of dog breeders, accused the government of “trampling” the right of people to eat what they want and the right of farmers to live.

Lee Won Bok, director of the Korean Animal Protection Association, described the government’s announcement as “very disappointing” because it did not include any concrete plans to ban dog meat.

Approximately one million to 1.5 million dogs die each year to feed on South Korea, a decline of several million about 10-20 years ago.

Thousands of farmers raise up to two million dogs for meat, according to the Association of Dog Breeders.

Ju said farmers, mostly poor and elderly, wanted the government to temporarily legalize the consumption of dog meat for about 20 years, with the expectation that demand would gradually decrease.

But Lee said animal rights organizations wanted a quicker end to the business.

“South Korea is the only developed country where people eat dogs, an act that is undermining our international image,” he said.

“Even if the K-pop band BTS and the (Korean drama) Squid Game are ranked number one in the world, foreigners still associate South Korea with dog meat and the Korean War.”

He also accused many farmers of animal cruelty and other illegal activities when they breed and kill their dogs. However, Mr. Ju argued that the activists “exaggerated” this information and that it only applied to a small number of farms.

It comes after President Moon Jae-in, a dog lover, asked during a meeting with his prime minister in September “if it’s time to carefully consider” the dog meat ban, sparking a new debate. .

Dog meat is neither legally nor explicitly prohibited in South Korea.

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