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The Korean Dog Meat Controversy

One of the biggest controversies in South Korea has been the consumption of dog meat. This unfathomable “delicacy” is called “Gaegogi” (개고기), which literally translates to “dog meat.”

Unfortunately, this is one of the longest standing traditions in Korean culture and dates back to the first century AD, during the Three Kingdoms Era.

At the time of writing, selling dog meat for consumption is not fully illegal in South Korea, but the inhumane method of slaughtering them is protected by Animal Protection Right – Article 7.

As a result, the topic of outright banning the whole dog meat trade industry has been a hot topic in recent years.

Currently, there are still thousands of dog farms operating all over the country. It’s no surprise this has garnered the attention of the largest animal rights groups in the world. Some of which, include: the ASPCA, PETA and the Korean Animal Welfare Association.

However, the opposing Korean Dog Meat Association is frequently challenging any efforts made by animal rights organizations.

The Korean government understands the negative stigma and scrutiny from international countries. Nonetheless, they fail to take action as quickly as we hope.

During the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, the government urged citizens to cease consumption of dog meat to improve the country’s image to visitors. They understand it’s frowned upon, which is a good first step.

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Dog Meat Trend in South Korea

There is good news to all this. The demand for dog meat is rapidly falling as more Koreans adopt the mindset of dogs being friends, not food. Dog farms are starting to close down as business decline.

The US-based Humane Society International (HSI) has been making the decision easier for farmers by offering compensation to shut down their business. In fact, 10 different farms have shut down in the span of three years. Slowly, but surely.

A 56-year old farmer, with 170 dogs at his Namyangju farm, explains:

This business is doomed…I wanted to exit before it’s too late. Price of dog meat has plummeted in recent years.

According to a Korean Survey, 70 percent of the population do not and will not eat dog. However, only 40% believe that dog consumption should be outright banned. Still, these numbers are much better than they were in the past.

In 2018, a court ruling made headlines when the South Korean city, Bucheon, ruled that killing dogs for meat is illegal. Although this is just one city, the landmark decision could potentially pave way for a country-wide outlaw.

Help End the Dog Meat Trade

There are still a million dogs consumed each year in South Korea, and even more in neighboring Asian countries.

Although were far away from an international ban, South Korea is a great first step. If you truly want to help, there are ways to contribute to the cause.

1. Educate Yourself on the Korean Meat Dog Controversy

To learn more about the cause and how you can help, i’d suggest visiting the Humane Society International.

They’re the frontrunner for this amazing cause and provide up-to-date information on dog meat trade in countries all over the world.

2. Take Action Against Dog Meat Trade

Knowledge is power, but there are other ways of contributing. The Humane Society International (HSI) accepts donations that go directly towards this cause. 

If money is short, feel free to sign their petition to stop dog meat trade. For those that want a more hands-on way of helping, they often have volunteer opportunities as well.

3. Rescue Korean Farm Dogs

As more and more farms close down, the remaining dogs are left without a home. After experiencing brutal living conditions, these dogs are fragile – both mentally and physically.

They need to slowly adjust to the “normal” environment of a loving family. There are several organizations that bring these dogs back to the US and Canada for adoption.

If you feel like this is your calling, visit Free Korean Dogs, Soi Dog and Korean K9 Rescue.

Thank you again, for listening and sharing.