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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Historic Victory for Animal Welfare: South Korea Bans Dog Meat Trade

The nation of South Korea has taken a massive step toward putting an end to a centuries-old tradition. The parliament has passed a law banning dog meat consumption and will abolish the industry by 2027. The country’s politicians passed the legislation on Tuesday through a rare unanimous vote. The legislation will make it against the law to slaughter or sell dog meat, and anyone caught violating the new laws will face up to three years in prison or a fine of up to 30 million won.

The decision to do away with the country’s longstanding tradition of eating dogs came after pressure from animal rights groups and a waning appetite for the food among young people. According to a Gallup Korea poll last year, 64 percent of the country’s residents oppose eating dog meat, with only eight percent admitting that they have done so.

Amid the growing opposition to the practice, politicians in the bitterly divided National Assembly voted 208-0, with two abstentions, on the legislation, which will ban the breeding, butchering, and sale of dog meat for consumption. The law, which still needs to be endorsed by the Cabinet Council and signed by President Yoon Suk Yeol before it will go into effect, would also offer financial subsidies to those in the industry to help them transition to other types of business.

Animal rights group In Defense of Animals hails the move as a monumental one that will spare more than a million dogs from an inhumane and unsustainable trade. “We have reached a pivotal point to save millions of dogs from this cruel industry, and it is time to stop the slaughter once and for all,” the organization said in a statement. The group praised the National Assembly for making history and urged the other two branches of government to do the same. Celebrities, including Priscilla Presley and Katherine Heigl, recorded videos supporting the law while several Korean War veterans lobbied their members of Congress.

The sweeping legislation will punish anyone who slaughters, breeds, or sells dogs for consumption with up to three years in prison or a 30 million won ($23,000) fine. However, customers who purchase dog meat will not face punishment.

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