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Will Korea put an end to eating dog meat?
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2018.08.16 17:29
  • Updated 2018.08.16 17:29
  • comments 0

Back in June, an online petition made to the Blue House called for legally removing dogs from the livestock category, drawing more than 200,000 signatures, calling for the presidential office to make a formal response.

The government says it would reexamine the livestock law that puts dogs into the livestock category, in response to a Blue House petition calling for a ban on dog meat consumption, which gathered more than 200,000 signatures.

The petition called for separating dogs from other animals such as cows, pigs, chickens as part of livestock bred for eating. The request grew traction in a country where the growing perception of dogs as pets has led to an increasing number of pet owners and animal rights activists.

The government on Friday came back with the response, saying that it would “examine the system to remove dogs from livestock category, sparking controversy over whether or not the government should outlaw dog meat consumption.

In Korea, people consume dog meat soup, or boshintang, to reenergize, particularly during the sweltering months of the summer. Even though cries for outlawing dog meat consumption is growing from animal rights groups and citizens alike, eating dog meat is still partially considered a part of the food culture.

“A recent public poll regarding legally prohibiting dog meat consumption showed that 51.5 percent opposed it while 39.7 percent were for it,” Cheong Wa Dae’s Presidential Secretary for Agriculture Choi Jae-gwan said.

If the government does remove dogs from the livestock category under the Livestock Law, then it would be officially illegal to breed dogs in a factory-like manner and slaughter them.

However, the change would not make dog consumption itself illegal since it would be possible to slaughter dogs in designated areas and by using preferred slaughtering methods.

In other words, dog lovers will likely have to wait more before they see the government illegalize dog meat consumption. However, various opinion polls show their fight will not be a lonely battle.

A recent poll by animal rights group Kara showed that seven out of 10 people who have tried dog meat did so because other people recommended it to them. About 27 percent they had no choice but to eat it because of strong “recommendations” by others.

More males and people over 50 years of age had experience eating dog meat while women and those under 30 were more likely to have not tried it.

The poll found nearly half had never tried dog meat. Of those that did, a whopping 70 percent said they had no intention of eating dog meat again with 84 percent of women and 56 percent of men saying so.

About 40 percent who said they would not eat it was because of the perception of dogs as pets, followed by 24 percent who said they were worried about inhumane treatment and slaughtering of dogs, and 10 percent who were concerned for sanitary reasons.

About 38 percent of those who viewed dog meat consumption positively said it is an excellent nutritional dish for health, followed by 10 percent saying that dog meat is one type of food and 9 percent saying it tastes good.


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