In a victory for canines in South Korea, parliament passed an unprecedented bill on Tuesday which bans the production and sale of dog meat. According to the Associated Press, outcries by animal rights activists had increased significantly, concerned with the country’s international image. Several local dog farmers have expressed frustration and plan to challenge the bill, questioning its constitutionality.
Following the passing of the bill, dog farmers are granted a three-year grace period before all slaughtering practices, breeding, and sales for human consumption will have to cease and are considered illegal. Breaking the law can get you 2-3 years in prison beginning in 2027. The bill does not outline any penalties for the actual consumption of dog meat.
People have been eating dog meat in Korea for centuries. There is no official law against it and it’s believed to provide you with stamina. More than half of South Koreans interviewed for a recent study would like to see dog meat banned, and have admitted to no longer eating it. There is still one in every three South Koreans who oppose the ban.
After passing by a 208-0 vote, the bill needs to be endorsed by the Cabinet Council and signed by President Yoon Suk Yeol to become an official law. “This law is aimed at contributing to realizing the values of animal rights, which pursue respect for life and a harmonious coexistence between humans and animals,” the legislation reads.
To assist dog farmers with transitioning their businesses, the bill is offering assistance, the details of which have not been outlined. Humane Society International called the bill’s passing “history in the making.” JungAh Chae, executive director of HSI’s Korea office, said, “I never thought I would see in my lifetime a ban on the cruel dog meat industry in South Korea, but this historic win for animals is testament to the passion and determination of our animal protection movement.”
South Korea is the only nation with industrial-scale dog farms. The average farm raises about 500 dogs. The Associated Press visited one in July that had around 7,000. In response, a dog farmer named Son Won Hak had this to say, “This is a clear case of state violence as they are infringing on our freedom to choose our occupation. We can’t just sit by idly.”
Outside of South Korea, dog meat is eaten in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, North Korea, and in some African countries.