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In a historic move, South Korea’s parliament unanimously passed the bill banning the production, sale, and consumption of dog meat on Tuesday, January 09.
Korea Times reports that the historic ban received 208 votes in favor, none against, and two abstentions. And that it bans the breeding, butchering, distributing, and selling of dogs for meat consumption.
In addition to these, the bill also calls to support the transition of those that are currently in the dog meat industry, providing subsidies for them to switch jobs.
That is why law enforcement will only begin in 2027, after a three-year grace period, to let people in the dog meat industry find stable employment.
Violators can face a maximum of two years of prison time and a fine of up to 30 million won (around $22,000).
“According to government statistics, there are around 1,150 dog farms, 34 butchering businesses, 219 distributors and approximately 1,600 restaurants that sell food made with dog meat in Korea,” Korea Times reveals.
Last month, South Korean dog farmers rallied near the Presidential Office to prevent the ban and intended to release around 100 dogs, causing a scuffle with the police.
But animal rights activists at Humane Society International/Korea have called this “history in the making” after decades of trying to eradicate the controversial centuries-old practice.
Jung-ah Chae, executive director of Humane Society International in Korea says, “I never thought I would see in my lifetime a ban on the cruel dog meat industry in South Korea but this historic win for animals is testament to the passion and determination of our animal protection movement.”
“While my heart breaks for all the millions of dogs for whom this change has come too late, I am overjoyed that South Korea can now close this miserable chapter in our history and embrace a dog-friendly future,” she continued.
The demand for dog meat has seen an all-time time low last year. As a matter of fact, a 2023 Nielsen Korea opinion poll reveals that 86% of South Koreans won’t eat dog meat in the future and more than half (57%) support the ban.
Now, thanks to the passing of this bill, the Humane Society International reveals that South Korea now joins the growing list of countries and territories across Asia that have banned the dog meat industry, including:
- Hong Kong
- The Philippines
- Shenzhen, China
- Zhuhai, China
- Siem Reap province in Cambodie
- 45 cities, regencies, and provinces in Indonesia