S. Korea dog meat festival bites the dust

A South Korean dog meat festival has been cancelled following growls of protest from animal rights activists, one of the would-be organisers said Tuesday.

The Korea Dog Farmers' Association had scheduled for Friday a festival aimed at promoting traditional dog meat consumption, said Ann Yong-Geun, an adviser to the association.

"We couldn't possibly go on with the plan due to endless phone calls of complaint... now there are few willing to rent us a place for the event," Ann, a professor of nutrition at Chung Cheong University, told AFP.

The association had said the festival, to be held in a traditional open-air market in the city of Seongnam just south of Seoul, would showcase various canine delicacies including barbecued dog, sausages and steamed paws.

The event at the market, well known for selling dogs for meat, would also have featured products such as cosmetics and spirits with canine ingredients.

Ann said the festival would have displayed video clips and pictures of farms raising dogs under sanitary conditions, contrary to public perceptions.

He said there are about 600 farms raising dogs for meat in South Korea, where their meat has long been eaten and dog soup, or Boshintang, is a summer delicacy.

But growing numbers of Koreans oppose the practice and consider it an international embarrassment.

The planned festival stirred fury from South Korean animal rights groups and many Internet users.

"This is making our country an international laughing stock, and making the whole world mistakenly believe that all South Koreans eat dogs," said Park So-Youn, head of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth.

The group led online campaigns to force cancellation of the festival.

"Canines are the animals emotionally closest to humans. You can't just publicly celebrate killing and eating them," Park said.

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