South Korea bans dog meat, a custom now unpopular | ET REALITY


South Korean lawmakers on Tuesday banned the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs for human consumption, a centuries-old practice that is unpopular and rare today.

Dog meat became common again and remained so in the decades after the Korean War, when the country was destitute and meat was in short supply. It is used in a well-known dish that Koreans call “bosintang” or “good-for-the-body soup.” But the practice became increasingly rejected as incomes, pet ownership and concern for animal welfare rose steadily in the late 20th century.

Nowadays, many South Koreans, especially younger ones, consider eating dog meat frightening. About 93 percent of South Korean adults said they had no intention of consuming dog meat in the future, and 82 percent said they supported a ban, according to a study. survey conducted last year by Aware, an animal welfare organization in Seoul.

“This is a story in the making that I never thought I would see in my lifetime,” Chae Jung-ah, director of Humane Society International Korea, said in a statement from the group. He added: “We have reached a tipping point where the majority of Korean citizens refuse to eat dogs.”

With the passing of the ban, South Korea joined a list of other places that have banned the dog meat trade, including Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, the group said. Millions of dogs are still killed each year for their meat in places like Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam, according to four pawsan animal welfare organization in Austria.

President Yoon Suk Yeol’s cabinet is expected to officially put the ban into effect. Mr. Yoon and Kim Keon Hee, the first lady, who own numerous dogs and cats, have campaigned for the ban. The president managed to succeed after previous administrations failed to muster enough support to end the practice.

According to the law, which has approved by the National Assembly With widespread support, a person who slaughters dogs for human consumption could face three years in prison or a fine of 30 million South Korean won, or about $23,000, after a three-year grace period. Breeding and selling animals could be punished by two years in prison or a fine of 20 million won.

The law will also provide financial incentives for dog breeders and dog meat restaurant owners to change jobs, requiring each to submit a phase-out plan to a local government.

In 2022, around 520,000 dogs were raised for human consumption on 1,150 farms and around 1,600 restaurants sold dog meat nationwide. according to legislators — considerably lower than in previous years.

An association of dog breeders protested the bill in the months before its passage, arguing that eating dog meat was a matter of individual choice and demanding more compensation for breeders who would lose their businesses as a result of a ban.

The passage of the law marked a milestone for animal protection activists who have campaigned for the ban for years. Since 2015, they have helped 18 dog breeders close their operations or transition to vegetable farms. Farmers abandoned their animals to adopt them as pets.

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