Seoul, Jan 9 (EFE).- In a landmark move, the South Korean parliament passed a law on Tuesday prohibiting the breeding, distribution, and sale of dog meat for human consumption.
The groundbreaking legislation, proposed by the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and championed by First Lady Kim Keon-hee, garnered broad support, with 208 votes in favor and two abstentions.
The law, set to take effect after a three-year grace period, imposes penalties of up to two years in prison or fines of up to 30 million won (over $22,000) for violators starting in 2027.
The government will provide subsidies to aid those switching from the dog meat industry to other economic activities.
According to South Korean government data, about 1,150 farms, 34 slaughterhouses, 219 distributors, and 1,600 restaurants are still involved in the dog meat trade.
However, the practice has declined significantly as South Korea has witnessed a surge in pet ownership, and recent polls reveal that a majority of South Koreans have never tried dog meat and have no intention of doing so.
Most large markets that provided dog meat have closed, and the government and various associations have managed to shut down many farms and slaughterhouses, helping their owners switch to other businesses in the last decade.
Humane Society International (HSI) Korea, which collaborated in drafting the
Chae Jung-ah, HSI Korea’s director, emphasized that the measure signifies “a turning point” in South Korean society, where “the majority of citizens reject eating dogs.”
The organization urged the government to collaborate with animal welfare groups during the moratorium to rescue as many dogs as possible.
HSI data indicates that up to a million dogs are bred and sacrificed annually in South Korea for human consumption, even though demand is at a “historic low,” with about 6 million dogs residing in South Korean homes and 57 percent of the population supporting the ban.
With the ban on the sale of dog meat, South Korea joins other Asian countries and territories that have taken similar measures, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand, Singapore, various cities in China, and several provinces in Cambodia and Indonesia.
Humane Society International notes, however, that the degree of enforcement of the ban “differs to various degrees” in these territories. EFE