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South Korea is taking steps to end the centuries-old practice of consuming dog meat. The country’s ruling People Power Party has announced plans to introduce a ban on dog meat consumption by the end of this year. This move comes amid growing public sentiment against the practice, particularly among younger generations, as well as international criticism from animal rights groups. The proposed ban would have a three-year grace period, with financial support provided to businesses transitioning out of the dog meat trade. This decision reflects a shift in Korean society’s views on animal welfare and aligns with the growing global movement against dog meat consumption.
The Korean practice of eating dogs has drawn criticism from overseas for its cruelty, but there has also been increasing opposition at home, particularly from 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,” Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the ruling People Power Party, said at a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists.
First lady Kim Keon Hee has been a vocal critic of dog meat consumption and, along with her husband, President Yoon Suk Yeol, has adopted stray dogs.
Anti-dog meat bills have failed in the past because of protests by those involved in the industry and worries about the livelihoods of farmers and restaurant owners. Eating dog meat has been an age-old practice on the Korean peninsula and is seen as a way to beat the summer heat.
But it is much less common than it used to be in South Korea, though it is still eaten by some older people and served in certain restaurants.
Animal rights groups welcomed the prospect of a ban. “A dream come true for all of us who have campaigned so hard to end this cruelty,” Humane Society International said in a statement.
There are about dog 1,150 breeding farms, 34 slaughter houses, 219 distribution companies, and some 1,600 restaurants serving dog, according to government data.
A Gallup Korea poll last year showed 64% opposed to dog meat consumption. The survey found only 8% of respondents had eaten dog within the past year, down from 27% in 2015.
(With inputs from Reuters)