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South Korea bans dog meat

Parliament bans slaughter and sale. Ban fully implemented by 2027, with compensation for producers

For South Korea it is a historic turning point. The slaughter of dogs and the sale of their meat becomes a crime. A victory for animal rights activists, after months of relentless campaigning. The National Assembly unanimously approved (208 votes in favor and zero against) the new law which will come into force after a three-year transition period. Breeding, selling and slaughtering dogs will be punishable by up to three years in prison or sanctioned with a fine of 30 million won (around 21,000 euros).

The tradition of dog meat as a meal, also widespread in neighboring countries, from China to Vietnam, had been rooted in South Korea for centuries but, in recent years, with the spread of an animal rights mentality, the phenomenon has drastically reduced and, particularly among young people, this practice is now out of use.

If, however, slaughter and sale become a crime, the consumption of dog meat will not be punishable. The new legislation will come into force in three years, giving slaughterers and restaurateurs time to find alternative sources of work and income. They will have to present a plan to local authorities to phase out their activities. The government has promised subsidies to slaughter dog breeders, as a "slide" in the prospect of closing their business. The amount of compensation, however, is yet to be defined.

According to government statistics, as of 2023, South Korea had approximately 1,600 dog meat restaurants and 1,150 dog farms. Dog meat stew, called "boshintang", is considered a delicacy among some older South Koreans, but as mentioned the meat is no longer popular with young people.

According to a Gallup poll last year, only 8% of people said they had eaten dog meat in the last 12 months, down from 27% in 2015. Less than a fifth of those surveyed said to support the consumption of this type of meat.

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EFA News - European Food Agency