South Korea is planning to put an end to the age-old practice of consuming dog meat, amid the rise in awareness about animal rights. According to a Reuters report, while the practice has drawn criticism from overseas, there has been growing disapproval in the country itself, especially among the younger generation. Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the ruling People Power Party, emphasized during a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists that it was time to end the controversies surrounding dog meat consumption by enacting a special act.
“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 ruling People Power Party, was quoted as saying by Reuters. Yu Eui-dong was speaking at a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists.
Yu stated that the government plans to introduce a bill this year to enforce the ban and expects bipartisan support for the bill’s passage through parliament. During the meeting, Agriculture Minister Chung Hwang-keun, in the same meeting, also announced that support would be extended to those involved in the dog meat industry to facilitate the closure of their businesses. The bill will include a three-year grace period and financial support for the businesses as they make the transition.
The First Lady, Kim Keon Hee, along with her husband President Yoon Suk Yeol, has notably adopted several stray dogs. In the past, anti-dog meat consumption bills have failed following protests by those involved in the industry and worries about the livelihoods of farmers and restaurant owners. There are about 1,150 dog breeding farms, 34 slaughterhouses, 219 distribution companies, and some 1,600 restaurants serving dogs, Reuters reported citing government data.
Eating dog meat has been an age-old practice on the Korean peninsula and is seen as a way to beat the summer heat. However, it is much less common now and is mostly eaten by older generations and served only in some restaurants.