According to research commissioned by HSI/Korea conducted in 2020 by Nielson Company Korea, Seoul has around 436 dog meat restaurants. However, recent reports show that Yang Min-Gyu, a Seoul city municipal council member, has proposed a bill calling on the city’s Mayor to create a plan for banning the consumption of dog meat. The overall aim of this bill is for dog-friendly culture to be promoted throughout Seoul.
Specifications within the bill outline a desire for the Mayor of Seoul to set out a course of action that leads to the banning of dog meat as a food, and to subsequently promote dog welfare around the city.
Positive action already began in November 2021 when the South Korean government first planned to set up a task force that would consider a ban on the consumption of dog meat. This announcement followed the suggestion by President Moon Jae-In that the time is now right to consider a full ban. Next step recommendations are expected from the task force in April this year.
Nara Kim, dog meat campaign manager for Humane Society International/Korea said: “We welcome Seoul city’s proposed bill calling on the mayor to devise a plan to prohibit dog meat consumption, and its explicit recognition that all dogs are cherished family members who must be protected from the inherently cruel dog meat industry. As pet ownership rises exponentially in South Korea, so must our responsibilities to protect them from cruelty and exploitation. This proposed bill sends a powerful message to the national government just as its own task force gathers to deliberate a nationwide dog meat ban. We hope that a ban in Seoul will pave the way for an end to the brutal dog meat industry across the country, in line with public sentiment and national and global trends.”
The Humane Society International/Korea has rescued over 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms since 2015. They’ve also worked tirelessly in ensuring the permanent closure of 17 dog farms, in collaboration with those farmers who were keen to leave the controversial industry. Moving to industries such as chilli plant growing or water truck deliveries can be more profitable as well as a more humane way to make a living.
HSI/Korea reports that most farmers they engage with experience an ever growing societal, family or financial pressure to leave the dog farming industry. There is a growing concern for animal welfare and with over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat continues to dwindle.
Backing this theory is the results of a 2020 HSI/Korea opinion poll that showed nearly 84% of South Koreans either don’t or won’t eat dog meat. Almost 60% supported a legislative ban on the trade.
Dog meat is already banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. However, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia. Work still needs to be done however we are proud of this step towards progression and a more fulfilling life for the millions of dogs in Korea.