The South Korean government will launch a formal discussion on Thursday debating the prohibition of dog meat in the country.
The government’s decision came after president Moon Jae-in suggested a review of the controversial practice during his meeting with prime minister Kim Boo-kyum in September.
While animal rights activists have long been calling for the tradition an international embarrassment, traditionalists have opposed the ban saying it is a Korean practice, and that people should be allowed to eat what they want to.
The move has also received a fresh push in the run up to the presidential election, which is scheduled for next year. Several candidates, including Lee Jae-myung, governor of the country’s most populous province of Gyeonggi and a leading presidential contender from Moon’s party, have vowed to push for a ban through social consensus.
A poll conducted by Nielsen for the Humane Society International in 2020 showed that about 84 per cent of South Koreans have never consumed dog meat nor do they intend to in the near future. The survey also found that 59 per cent of South Koreans support banning dog meat.
But another poll from Realmeter showed that people were deeply divided over the ban, with 38.6 per cent supporting the move and 48.9 per cent opposed to it, reported Yonhap New Agency.
Nara Kim, a campaigner for Humane Society International said: “Most South Korean people don’t eat dog meat, especially younger Koreans, it’s not part of everyday food habit and in fact most people would be appalled at the idea of eating dogs.”
Humane Society International is a Seoul-based NGO that has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from dog meat farms since 2015.
Slamming the practice as outdated, she highlighted the conditions under which canines are kept in dog farms. “I have taken many Korean journalists to our dog farm closures to see the conditions for themselves, and when the viewing public see the appalling suffering, it’s very shocking.”
“In Korea, hundreds of thousands of dogs are suffering for the tastes of the few, and I think that it’s right for the law to intervene to protect animals from unnecessary suffering,” she added.
Additional reporting by agencies
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