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I just recently became aware of something called the Bok-Nal dog eating ritual. This is a South Korean ritual that has angered many animal rights activists and volunteers throughout the world – it is called ‘Bok-Nal’, apparently Korean for ‘dog-eating days’. They practice the ritual on 3 special days every summer. These people believe that eating dog meat, coupled with other foods, helps them to withstand the summer heat better, as well as benefit from its ‘medicinal effects’.
Bok-Nal Dog Eating Ritual
Despite the fact that South Koreans eat dog meat throughout the year, it is during Bok-Nal that dog meat is sold, served and eaten the most, with more customers ordering dog meat in restaurants than on other days.
There are 3 traditional days each summer that the Bok-Nal dog eating ritual is practiced, according to this quote from a news story on Demotix.com:
…days considered to be the hottest of the year. Some people consume dog meat on these days for its supposedly cooling properties. The practice is controversial both within and outside of South Korea.
Protestors from various places around the world have involved themselves in various protests by caging themselves inside dog cages with placards on the 3 days of Bok-Nal.
According to In Defense of Animals (IDAUSA), an animal rights group, dogs (and even cats) in this $2 billion industry in South Korea are held in dirty cages, and eventually slaughtered inhumanely. Each year, nearly 2 and a half million dogs are hanged, beaten to death and electrocuted, the group added. The reason that they are killed in more gruesome ways is that South Koreans believe that the more the animal suffers, the tastier they will become when cooked and served, and the medicinal benefits are said to be enhanced too.
While it is true that South Koreans eat dog (and cat) meat, they are not alone. You can also find some dog and cat meat in other Asian countries as well, but usually in very little amounts, as animal rights activists in their governments have already passed laws that banned the inhumane killing of these animals and eating them as food.
And it is not just the eating that is disturbing here; it is the way they torture, slaughter and kill the animals, which is clearly an act of brutality and heartlessness. Even cows and pigs, before they are brought into slaughter houses are tended carefully and some even receive anesthesia so that they do not die in pain and in vain. Some studies show that eating meat from a stressed animal can actually increase the stress of the one who eats the meat.
According to another statement by IDAUSA, the last decade in particular has seen many South Koreans who are kind to dogs and cats and treat them as companions. But there are still some people who value tradition and a corrupt industry over companionship with these innocent pets. The IDA is inviting everyone to help persuade the South Korean government to finally take action on banning dog and cat meat to put an end to this heartless pet killing industry.