SEOUL, 25 Nov 2021:
South Korea’s prime minister today announced the government will create a body to establish a “social consensus” on whether to ban the traditional consumption of dog meat.
“We will form a joint private-government consultative body led by civilians and produce a social consensus,” Kim Boo-kyum said during a policy coordination meeting in Seoul, reported Yonhap news agency.
“The controversy over dog meat consumption is not new and has persisted for over 30 years since the 1988 Seoul Olympics.”
In order not to tarnish the image of the country in the face of hosting those Olympics, in the 1980s, the government prohibited the sale of dog meat in the centre of Seoul.
Many organisations have since demanded the government ban its sale and consumption, which has dropped in the last two decades.
“With the sharp increase in the number of households with pets and growing public interest in animal rights and animal welfare, we are witnessing increasing calls against viewing dog meat consumption as part of an old food culture,” Kim added.
Today’s meeting comes after president Moon Jae-in, a known dog lover, commented in a September meeting with Kim on the need to “carefully look into banning dog meat consumption.”
The current South Korean Animal Protection Law seeks to prevent cruelty in the slaughter of dogs, but does not ban meat consumption.
An early November survey indicated 48.9% of South Koreans are against a consumption ban by law, compared to 38.6% who support it.
Surveys from previous years show that more than 80% of South Koreans have never tried dog meat and have no intention of doing so, while most of the large markets selling it have already closed and the government and various associations have succeeded in closing many farms and slaughterhouses.