June 24, 2024

South Korea considers banning dog meat | Globalism

4 min read
South Korea considers banning dog meat |  Globalism

Government South Korea Thursday (25) announced that it plans to form an advisory committee to discuss a possible ban on the consumption of dog meat in the country.

South Korea’s Agriculture Ministry said the 20-member panel will consist of experts, members from private organizations and government officials, and is expected to reach consensus on the issue by April 2022.

On the other hand, the project has been praised by activists and pet owners. On the other hand, traditionalists claim that meat is a typical South Korean recipe and that people should be free to eat it.

The issue entered the government’s agenda after the president Moon Jae In It was suggested, in September, that It’s time to ban the sale and consumption of dog meat.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jong-suk play with dogs in a 2018 photo – Photo: Courtesy of South Korean Presidency

Mun, who is an animal lover, said dog eating is becoming increasingly controversial in the international community. This is not recent. In 1988, for example, the government closed all dog restaurants in Seoul during the Olympics, in order to avoid a negative image of the local cuisine.

Sudden drop in popularity

While dog meat has been a part of Korean cuisine for centuries, its popularity has declined dramatically in recent years.

In 2019, there were fewer than 100 restaurants serving dogs in Seoul, and the industry reported that sales fell by as much as 30% in one year. The country’s largest dog slaughterhouse, in Seongnam, closed in 2018. The last major dog meat market, in the city of Daegu, closed earlier this year.

However, as many as 1.5 million dogs are bred each year for feeding purposes on farms across the country. Most are consumed in the hot and humid summer months, amid the belief that eating dog meat increases men’s stamina and virility.

Dogs that will become food in South Korea arrive for adoption in San Francisco, California – Photo: AP

According to a public opinion poll released in 2020 by the animal rights NGO Human Society International (HSI), 84% of Koreans don’t or don’t want to eat dogs, and 60% say they support banning the trade.

“In the past decade, as more and more people have pet dogs at home, animals are seen as part of the family rather than food. Most young people in Korea are terrified and disgusted at the idea of ​​eating dogs.” Nara Kim, who runs HSI’s “End Dog Meat” campaign.

“In addition to the increase in the number of pet owners, awareness of animal welfare issues, specifically animal suffering that occurs on farms and slaughterhouses, has also grown,” Kim says.

The Korean media has been slow to inform society about the true situation of dog farms. But when HSI activists began bringing reporters to these locations, viewers were shocked not only by the conditions, but by seeing the animals they considered pets waiting to be slaughtered.

Traditional food or pet?

According to activist Nara Kim, the dog meat industry in South Korea seeks to convince residents that animals bred to eat are different from pets. “Almost like a different animal, without a soul,” he says. “When people see that it’s not true, it has a huge impact.”

While research shows that Koreans are less and less enjoying dog meat, Kim reiterates that food can no longer be considered part of traditional cuisine.

“It’s more correct to say it’s an outdated habit, especially for older people who think it affects health issues,” he says. “As a Korean, it is kind of insulting and disgraceful for the West to think that dog meat is a Korean tradition.”

Over the past six years, HSI has teamed up with 18 dog breeders who wanted to leave this market and has helped them move on to a different business while finding a home for their dogs, including in Europe.

Kim says he is “cautiously optimistic” that the government’s planned move will come out of the paper, although he expects strong resistance from the industry.

“Only the big farmers make money from it. Small and medium-sized farmers are not profitable and certainly the farmers we talk to regularly know that this is a dying industry and it is time to leave it behind, even if the dog meat associations are not cooperating.”

While less in recent years, there is still a degree of support for the consumption of dog meat in South Korean society. Young Chae-sung, a professor at the Center for Global Innovation and Collaboration at Sangmyung University in Seoul, argues that with fewer and fewer followers of the dish, it would not be necessary to pass a law to ban it.

“Demand is so low right now that the market has to decide which restaurants should survive and continue serving dog meat. Anyone who wants that should be allowed to,” he says.

“It is not much different from the food traditions of other countries. I was recently in Taiwan and saw people walking pet pigs, but Taiwanese still eat pork. For me, some animals can be pets and food, and if I invite my family or friends to a steakhouse Dogs, I will.”

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