In a historic move reflecting shifting societal values, South Korea’s parliament has voted unanimously to end the consumption of dog meat, passing a bill that marks a significant departure from a longstanding and contentious practice.
The National Assembly, often bitterly divided, made an unprecedented decision with a vote of 208-0, with two abstentions, to cease the breeding, slaughtering, and sale of dogs for human consumption. The legislation, which President Yoon Suk Yeol has vowed to enact into law, imposes stringent penalties for violations, signaling a firm stance against the practice.
Under this new law, the act of slaughtering a dog for food carries severe consequences, with offenders facing imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to 30 million won ($23,000). Similarly, breeding or distributing dogs for consumption incurs penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine of up to 20 million won.
Although enforcement will commence in 2027, a three-year grace period has been instituted, accompanied by provisions offering financial aid and subsidies to assist those in the dog meat industry transition to alternative livelihoods. This move aligns with President Yoon’s electoral promise to eliminate the consumption of dog meat, supported notably by First Lady Kim Keon Hee, a vocal advocate for ending this practice.
South Korea’s traditional consumption of dog meat has drawn international criticism, particularly for the inhumane methods involved in the trade, such as bludgeoning, hanging, and electrocution to kill the animals.
The decision to outlaw dog meat consumption comes amidst a considerable decline in its popularity within South Korea. Pet ownership has surged, and public sentiment has turned away from the consumption of dog meat, leading to a sharp decrease in its consumption over recent years.
This landmark legislation’s passage is a significant victory for animal rights groups and proponents of ethical treatment, marking a notable shift in societal values. Previous attempts to introduce bans faced staunch opposition from dog farmers and restaurant owners, making this unanimous decision in the National Assembly a momentous achievement.
According to South Korean government data, approximately 1,600 restaurants currently serve dog meat, supported by around 1,150 dog farms supplying the industry. The passage of this legislation represents a critical step in reshaping the country’s cultural landscape and fostering a more compassionate approach toward animal welfare.
Sources By Agencies