South Korea is planning to ban eating dog meat and end the controversy surrounding the ancient custom amid increasing awareness of animal rights, stated a ruling party policy chief on Friday (Nov 17).
The practice of eating dog meat in Korea has been criticised overseas because of its cruelty and it has also been opposed increasingly at home, especially by the younger generation.
“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,” said Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the ruling People Power Party, at a meeting held with animal rights activists and government officials.
Yu stated that the government and ruling party will introduce a bill to enforce a ban this year, adding that with expected bipartisan support, the bill must sail through Parliament.
“We will provide full support to farmers, butchers and other businesses facing closure or transition due to this law,” Yu stated. He stated that compensation will be given only to legally registered dog meat farmers, slaughterers, traders, and restaurant owners.
Maximum support to be extended to people in dog meat industry
Speaking at the meeting, Agriculture Minister Chung Hwang-keun said that the government will quickly implement a ban and extend the maximum possible support to those people in the dog meat industry for closing down their businesses.
“With so many dogs needlessly suffering for a meat that hardly anyone eats, the government’s bill delivers a bold plan that must now urgently be passed by the Assembly so that a legislative ban can be agreed as soon as possible to help South Korea close this miserable chapter in our history and embrace a dog-friendly future,” stated JungAh Chae, executive director of Humane Society International, in a statement after the meeting.
First Lady Kim Keon Hee has been criticising the consumption of dog meat and has adopted stray dogs along with her husband President Yoon Suk Yeol.
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In the past, anti-dog meat bills have failed due to protests from those working in the industry, and increasing concern regarding the livelihoods of restaurant owners and farmers.
The ban proposed by the government will include a three-year grace period as well as financial support for businesses to transition out of the trade.
In the Korean peninsula, eating dog meat has remained an age-old practice and is considered as a way to tackle the summer heat.
The idea of the ban has been welcomed by the animal rights groups. “A dream come true for all of us who have campaigned so hard to end this cruelty,” stated Humane Society International, in a statement.
(With inputs from agencies)