South Korea passes bill to ban dog meat trade

South Korea has lost its taste for dog meat, with a bill passed banning the trade from 2027.

South Korea has lost its taste for dog meat, with a bill passed banning the trade from 2027. Photo: AAP

South Korea’s parliament has passed a bill to end the eating and selling of dog meat, a move that will outlaw the controversial centuries-old practice amid growing support for animal welfare.

Eating dog meat was once seen as a way to improve stamina in the humid Korean summer.

But it has become a rarity – now eaten mostly by some older people – as more Koreans consider dogs as family pets and as criticism of how the dogs are slaughtered has grown.

Support for the ban has grown under President Yoon Suk Yeol, an animal lover who has adopted six dogs and eight cats with first lady Kim Keon Hee, also a vocal critic of dog meat consumption.

Proposed by the ruling party, the bill was passed by an overwhelming 208 votes with two abstentions in the single-chamber parliament after its bipartisan agriculture committee approved it on Monday.

The legislation will take effect after a three-year grace period.

Breaking the law will be punishable by up to three years in prison or 30 million won ($33,939) in fines.

“The bill would see an end to the breeding and killing of dogs for human consumption,” said Borami Seo of Humane Society International Korea, an animal protection group.

“We have reached a pivotal point to spare millions of dogs from this cruel industry.”

Previous efforts to prohibit dog meat have failed in the face of industry protests, and the bill seeks to provide compensation so that businesses can move out of the trade.

In November, a group of about 200 breeders of dogs for consumption held a rally near the presidential office, demanding the bill be scrapped.

The agriculture ministry has estimated that as of April 2022, some 1100 farms were breeding 570,000 dogs to be served at 1600 restaurants.

The Korean Association of Edible Dogs, a coalition of breeders and sellers, said the ban will affect 3500 farms raising 1.5 million dogs as well as 3000 restaurants.


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