The South Korean authorities on Thursday is opening discussions on laws that might outlaw the consumption of canine meat, a transfer that has delighted animal rights activists and pet homeowners.
Traditionalists, nonetheless, are against the proposal on the grounds that canine meat is a conventional Korean dish, and that folks needs to be free to eat it if they want.
The concern is on the agenda after President Moon Jae-in urged in September that it may be time to think about imposing a ban on the sale and consumption of canine meat.
Moon, a recognized animal lover, stated consuming canine has turn into more and more controversial in worldwide society.
South Koreans have responded earlier than to outdoors criticism on canine meat consumption. In 1988, the federal government closed down all canine meat eating places in Seoul at some stage in the Olympic Games out of concern that it will paint a detrimental picture of native culinary tradition.
And whereas consuming canine has been part of Korean delicacies for hundreds of years, its reputation has fallen dramatically in recent times.
There had been fewer than 100 eating places serving canine in Seoul in 2019, and the trade was reporting that gross sales had been falling by as a lot as 30% per 12 months. The largest canine slaughterhouse within the nation, in Seongnam, closed in 2018. The final main canine meat market, within the metropolis of Daegu, closed this 12 months.
Nevertheless, as many as 1.5 million canines are raised on farms throughout the nation yearly. Most are eaten within the sizzling and humid summer season months, when consuming canine meat is believed to offer stamina and enhance male virility.
Nevertheless, a public opinion ballot commissioned in 2020 by Humane Society International/Korea (HSI) confirmed that 84% of Koreans don’t or is not going to eat canine, and 60% stated they help a authorized ban on the commerce.
“In the last 10 years or so, as more and more people have pet dogs in their homes, dogs are seen as part of the family and not as food,” stated Nara Kim, who heads the group’s End Dog Meat marketing campaign.
“Most young people in Korea would be horrified and disgusted at the idea of eating dog. As well as the rise in pet ownership, there has also been an increase in awareness of animal welfare issues generally and, specifically, far more openness about the animal suffering that takes place on dog meat farms and at dog slaughterhouses,” she informed DW.
The Korean media has sometimes didn’t report on the fact of the canine farms, however when HSI activists started to take reporters to go to farms, viewers had been shocked each on the situations and to see labradors, beagles, huskies and different breeds they thought of to be pets ready to be slaughtered.
Pets or meals?
“The dog meat industry often tries to convince people that the dogs bred for eating are different to pet dogs, almost like a different animal, soulless and vicious,” Kim stated. “When they see that’s just not true, and these farms are full of dogs just like their own pets, it has a big impact.”
Studies repeatedly present that only a few Koreans eat canine right this moment, with Kim suggesting it can’t be thought of part of conventional delicacies.
“It’s more accurate to say it’s an outdated habit for mainly elderly men who like to believe it has health properties,” she stated.
“As a Korean, it’s kind of insulting and a shame for the West to think that dog meat is Korean tradition.”
In the final six years, HSI has cooperated with 18 canine farmers who wished to get out of the enterprise and helped them transition to a unique enterprise whereas discovering houses for his or her canines, together with in Europe.
Kim says she is “cautiously optimistic” that new laws will come out of the federal government’s discussions later this week, though she anticipates robust resistance from the trade.
“Really, the dog farmers with huge farms are the only ones making decent money now,” she stated.
“The small and medium-sized farms are not profitable and certainly the farmers we regularly speak to know very well that this is a dying industry and it’s time to leave it behind. The dog meat associations really aren’t helping dog farmers by resisting a ban though, because they are just condemning them to more years of hardship.”
Yet, there may be nonetheless a level of help for consuming canine meat in wider Korean society.
“For me, eating dog is still a tradition and an important part of our eating culture,” stated Young-chae Song, a professor on the Center for Global Creation and Collaboration at Seoul’s Sangmyung University.
“My feeling is that consumption of dog is decreasing and there are fewer and fewer restaurants now, so there is no need to pass a law to make it illegal,” he informed DW. “Demand is so low now that the market ought to determine which eating places survive and proceed to serve canine. And anybody who desires to eat it, needs to be allowed to.
“It’s not all that different to eating traditions in other countries,” Song stated. “I used to be in Taiwan just lately, and I noticed folks strolling their pet pigs and dressing them up, however Taiwanese folks nonetheless eat pork.
“To me, some animals can be both pets and food, and if my family or friends invited me to a dog meat restaurant, I would go.”