South Korean President Moon Jae-in is considering a ban on the consumption of dog meat in the country, a move welcomed by dog lovers but opposed by the dog farming industry.
Dog eating has a long history in South Korea but has become an increasingly controversial practice as it falls out of favor with the general public, especially among younger generations.
“Hasn’t the time come to prudently consider prohibiting dog meat consumption?” Moon asked the prime minister, Kim Boo-kyum, the presidential spokesperson said on Monday.
Moon made the remarks when the prime minister briefed him on a plan to improve the care system for abandoned pets.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In has welcomed a new member into his family: Tory, a black mutt who was reportedly headed for the dinner table before being rescued two years ago. Photo: handout / The Blue House / AFP
Animal rights activists welcomed the remarks.
Kim Na-ra, an anti-dog meat campaigner at Humane Society International Korea, said she hopes they signal the beginning of the end for the dog meat industry.
“These dogs live a dreadful existence, locked in barren wire cages their whole lives,” she said in a statement.
In another statement, animal welfare group Aware said dog meat consumption is closely intertwined with animal abuse and illegal acts.
Lee Jae-myung, governor of Gyeonggi province and one of the strongest potential candidates for next year’s presidential election, also welcomed the president’s remarks.
But the dog farming industry has opposed any such ban.
“It’s the ruler’s reckless remarks for political purposes,” said Ju Yeong-bong, secretary general of the Korea Dog Meat Association, which he said has some 4,000 dog meat farmers as members.
“I think it should be left to personal choice, not to his decision,” Ju told VICE World News. “The president is going to make 10 million people who eat dog meat criminals in a day.”
“We should be proud of our dog meat culture,” he added.
It is estimated that about one million dogs are slaughtered annually for food in nearly 3,000 dog farms throughout the country, according to Korea Animal Rights Advocates.
Nearly 84 percent of South Koreans said they had not eaten or would not eat dogs, according to an opinion poll released by the market research firm Nielsen last year.
Domestic pressure against dog eating is also mounting in countries such as China and Vietnam, as dogs are increasingly seen purely as companions to humans, not a source of food.
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