Koreans sink teeth into their dog meat dilemma

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South Korea

Concerned about its international image, next year's World Cup co-hosts are considering a plan to crack down on the mistreatment of dogs in the Asian country before they are slaughtered for food.

The campaign, which could start next month, would be designed to fend off criticism from international animal rights groups ahead of the 2002 tournament. Millions of South Koreans eat dog meat, which is considered healthy and is particularly popular in summer. Many people also believe it enhances male sexual prowess.

"We are currently studying a proposal to intensify checks on cruel killings of dogs," said Lee Byong-jin, an official at the prime minister's office in Seoul. "But it would be realistically impossible to impose a ban on the sale of dog meat."

Traditionally, dogs were hanged or beaten with bats to soften the flesh before slaughter. The government has cracked down on the old methods, and most handlers nowadays kill dogs swiftly with electric shocks.

South Korea closed thousands of dog-meat restaurants in big cities during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. But, after the Games, the ban was relaxed.

South Africa

Bruce Grobbelaar has been fired as coach of the Premier League side SuperSport United following a series of poor results for the Pretoria-based team. The former Liverpool and Southampton goalkeeper had been with the club for almost two years.

"Bruce was asked to leave simply because he has let the club down by failing to find a winning combination," the club chairman Khulu Sibiya said at the weekend. Officials also complained that the 44-year-old former Zimbabwean international frequently missed training sessions. Grobbelaar, who started his coaching career in charge of the Zimbabwean national team, first coached in South Africa with the Cape Town club Seven Stars.