Owners of canine farms have reportedly threatened to release 2 million animals if the South Korean government bans their meat FILE PHOTO: Members of the Animal Freedom Solidarity hold placards say in Stop dog meat during a rally in front of the Blue House, Cheongwadae, the executive office and official residence of the President of the Republic of Korea. © Chris Jung / NurPhoto via Getty Images
South Korean dog meat farmers have threatened to release 2 million canines onto the streets as controversy continues over plans to ban consumption in the country, Reuters has reported. Parties across the political spectrum are working together to outlaw dog meat as part of a bill backed by the country’s first lady, Kim Keong-hee.
Farmers who breed the dogs and owners of restaurants that serve canine meat staged protests in front of parliament, urging the government not to pass a ban this year, the news agency said on Friday.
Joo Young-bong, head of the Korea Dog Meat Farmers’ Association, has called the idea of outlawing canine meat “crazy.” Joo said the organization’s members were discussing the potential release of 2 million dogs near major government buildings in Seoul and the homes of lawmakers who have pushed the bill.
In July, about 200 members of the organization staged a campaign against the activities of animal rights activists by publicly eating dog meat in downtown Seoul and offering it to passersby. At the time, Joo told the Korea Herald that eating canine meat was a right which cannot be violated, insisting that a ban is a form of discrimination.
South Korea to ban eating dogs – media
South Korean First Lady Kim made a surprise visit to a press conference organized by civic groups in August, promising to end the controversial dog meat culture. According to the Korean Times, Kim declared that “humans and animals should coexist” and that “illegal dog meat activities should be put to an end.”
The South China Morning Post reported that the ruling conservative People’s Power Party is proposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison or a fine of 50 million won (US$38,000) for the dog meat trade. The liberal Democratic Party of Korea is calling for three years in prison and a fine of up to 30 million won (US$23,000).
If approved by the government, the measures will take effect in 2027, with financial support for businesses that suffer losses as a result of the ban.
A September study by Nielsen Korea commissioned by Humane Society International (HSI) in Korea found that 86% of respondents have no plans to eat dog meat and that a majority support a ban.
According to Sangkyung Lee, dog meat campaign manager for HSI/Korea, “politicians from all parties are showing support for a ban on the dog meat industry,” citing “cruelty” and “unsanitary conditions” as the main reasons for the move. (RT)