South Korea is set to ban dog meat consumption by the end of the year, lawmakers announced on Friday.
Driving the news: The ban will come in the form of a “Special Act” that will allow a three-year transition period for those involved in the industry — including farmers, traders, restaurants and other stakeholders — to work on a phase-out plan. If approved, the law will come into full effect in 2027.
Current state: At present, South Korean law neither explicitly allows nor prohibits eating dog meat. As per government data, more than half a million dogs were raised for consumption last year, with 34 slaughterhouses, 1,156 breeding farms, 219 distribution companies and some 1,600 restaurants involved in the trade.
The industry, however, is in decline. Amid a growing pet ownership trend, more South Koreans — especially younger generations — are saying no to eating dog meat, with 64% expressing opposition in a Gallup poll last year.
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Behind the law: The looming ban, led by lawmakers from the ruling conservative People Power Party, is expected to sail through parliament with bipartisan support. “It is time to put an end to social conflicts and controversies around dog meat consumption through the enactment of a special act to end it,” said policy chief Yu Eui-dong.
President Yoon Suk-yeol and First Lady Kim Keon-hee are known to be animal lovers, owning six dogs and five cats. In August, Kim called for an end to dog meat consumption “in an era when humans and pets coexist as friends.”
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Reactions: While the news was celebrated by animal rights groups, industry stakeholders voiced dissent. One group rallied in front of the National Assembly in Seoul after the announcement, accusing the government and ruling party of “threatening our right to live.”
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