For the first time, a South Korean court has ruled that it is illegal to kill dogs for their meat, bringing the area one step closer to outlawing the controversial practice of consuming dog meat! The decision excites activists and outrages South Korean dog farmers.
It’s a practice that has confused and angered animal rights activists around the world, however, the consumption of dog meat is common in some Asian countries. In fact, some cultures even believe that the consumption of this particular type of meat during hot weather is beneficial to their health.
In Yulin China, a festival called the ‘Yulin Dog Meat Festival’ is popular among the locals celebrating Summer Solstice. Dating back to 2009, it is believed that as many as 10,000 dogs have been killed for the festival. Not only does controversy surround the actual consumption of the meat, but it believed that many of these dogs were stolen from their owners to be butchered and sold.
While some countries previously associated with the purchase and consumption of dog meat have taken steps to end the practice, this isn’t true for all countries. For example, in 1998 Taiwan banned the slaughter of both dogs and cats as well as the sale of their meat in the country. Recognizing that there was still a strong underground market, the country then passed an even stricter law in 2017, including a fine of up to $8500 for consuming the meat, and up to $65,000 and two years of jail time for those ‘causing deliberate harm to a dog or cat.’
Jill Robinson, founder, and CEO of the Animals Asia Foundation explained, “While not always legal, the countries that allow it to continue are Indonesia, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines – the latter only for religious festivals.”
However, the new ruling in South Korea is a significant step towards having their name removed from this list. A dog farmer based out of Bucheon, near Seoul, was fined over $2500 USD after he was convicted of violating building and hygiene laws, along with ‘killing animals without a legitimate reason.’
Local dog farmers along with the Association for Dog Farmers were outraged with the decision, vowing to fight back. A spokesperson for the association stated, “We can’t accept the ruling that killing of dogs for dog meat consumption amounts to killing animals casually. There must be a distinction between dogs for eating and dogs kept as pets. Cows, pigs, chickens, and ducks are all raised to be consumed, so why not dogs?”
Meanwhile, activists believe that this ruling may be the first step in a positive direction. “It is very significant in that it is the first court decision that killing dogs for dog meat is illegal itself,” said Kim Kyung-eun, a lawyer with the animal rights organization Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth. She went on to add that this ruling has “paved the way for outlawing dog meat consumption entirely.”
The decision was made in April, however, the details about the case, and it’s ruling, were only released to the public this week.
Image via Good News Network