The Olympics are long over in South Korea, but the push to get the country to ban farms where dogs are bred for human consumption, continues — and with a few positive developments.
A new bill, introduced to the National Assembly earlier this month by Lee Sang-don, a member of the Bareunmirae party, would remove the legal basis for factory-style mass breeding of dogs, reported the Korea Times.
Animal Liberation Wave, an animal rights group that launched a campaign against the farms in January, praises the introduction of the bill.
“There are more than 3,000 dog farms where a million dogs get slaughtered every year,” it said in a statement this week. “We hope the bill will become a law to take the first step to end the dog meat industry in Korea.”
The campaign seeks to ban the production and consumption of dog meat and to have dogs legally defined as companions only.
It is still legal to breed dogs to sell their meat in South Korea — and to consume it — as long as the animals are not killed in open areas.
The practice of eating dog meat has been declining, and younger Koreans are generally opposed to it.
But the tradition continues among older people, many of whom believe dog meat aids their virility.
Under livestock industry law, farmers can pursue profit with livestock, which includes dogs and many other animals. But according to the Livestock Processing Act, dogs are not categorized as livestock.
As a result of that, dog meat cannot be traded through major distribution channels like other meat. Instead it is most often sold directly to restaurants, or at outdoor markets.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the number of restaurants serving dog meat soup, known as “bosintang,” decreased from 528 in 2005 to 329 in 2014.
Regardless, the ALW says, there are still up to 3,000 dog meat farms operating in the country, where more than a million are raised each year, only to be slaughtered for their meat.
The Animal Liberation Wave (ALW), in partnership with the international animal rights organization Last Chance for Animals (LCA), launched a global campaign to ban dog meat from South Korea. The campaign started with a website, petition page (www.donghaemul.com/stopdogmeat) and video against dog meat.
Jiyen Lee, the founder of ALW, said, “there has been a tendency in this country to consider the dog meat issue as a matter of personal choice when in fact it is the government who is hugely responsible for exacerbating the problem by failing to formulate social consensus.
“It is high time that a change is made to fit the current Korean society where 1 out of 5 nationals are living with dogs as companions.”
As part of the campaign, a “Flower Dog Project” is underway, featuring 8 dog statues that will appear in major cities.
(Image, from the Flower Dog Project, via Animal Liberation Wave)