South Korea Ban Dog Meat Trade

South Korea has taken a historic step by voting to outlaw the centuries-old dog meat industry, marking a significant shift in societal attitudes. The industry, which involves the farming and killing of hundreds of thousands of dogs annually, will face a ban on breeding, slaughter, and sale of dogs for human consumption starting from 2027. The new legislation imposes penalties of up to three years in prison or a fine of £18,000 for violators.

Immediate measures include the prohibition of establishing new dog farms, slaughterhouses, and processing facilities. Notably, while the bill addresses the production and sale of dog meat, it does not specify penalties for the consumption of such meat.

The bill received unanimous support in South Korea's parliament with 208 votes in favour and none against. However, dog farmers have expressed their intention to appeal the decision and organise protests. The momentum for the ban gained strength under President Yoon Suk Yeol, an advocate for animal welfare who has personally adopted six dogs and eight cats.

JungAh Chae, the head of South Korea's Humane Society International, remarked, "This is history in the making," emphasising the significance of the victory for animal protection advocates.

Despite being a long-standing practice in South Korea, eating dog meat has become increasingly rare, primarily limited to older generations. Once perceived as a means to boost stamina in the country's humid summers, public sentiment has shifted.

The legislative proposal was introduced last year, following the establishment of a task force in 2021 to explore the possibility of making the consumption of dog meat illegal. Most dogs in the industry are reportedly electrocuted or hanged, though there are conflicting claims about improvements in slaughter methods.

Estimates on the scale of the industry vary, with the agriculture ministry suggesting around 1,100 farms breeding 570,000 dogs for consumption at approximately 1,600 restaurants in 2022. In contrast, the Korean Association of Edible Dogs, comprising breeders and sellers, contends that the ban will impact 3,500 farms raising 1.5 million dogs and 3,000 restaurants.

Past attempts to enact anti-dog meat laws faced opposition due to protests and concerns about the livelihoods of farmers and restaurant owners. However, the current ban includes a three-year grace period and support measures to assist businesses in transitioning away from the dog meat trade.

Help for Paws is thrilled about this news. It's something we feel very passionate about, and it's a step in the right direction. Hopefully, more countries will follow suit.