Killing dogs for meat ‘illegal’

By: AFP June 21,2018 - 09:20 PM

South Koreans have long eaten dog but in recent decades consumption has dropped.
/AFP

A South Korean court has ruled the killing of dogs for meat is illegal, in a landmark decision that animal rights activists said Thursday could pave the way to outlawing eating canines.

The meat has long been a part of South Korean cuisine, with about one million dogs believed to be eaten annually.

But consumption has declined as South Koreans increasingly embrace the idea of dogs as man’s best friend rather than livestock, with the practice now something of a taboo among younger generations and pressure from activists mounting.

Even so it remains a legal grey area. Despite no specific ban, authorities have invoked hygiene regulations or animal protection laws that ban cruel slaughter methods to crack down on dog farms and restaurants ahead of international events such as the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Animal rights group Care last year filed complaints against a dog farm operator in Bucheon, accusing him of “killing animals without proper reasons” and violating building and hygiene regulations, and prosecutors later charged him.

He was convicted by the Bucheon City court, which ruled that meat consumption was not a legal reason to kill dogs, and fined three million won ($2,700). He waived his right to appeal.

Care lawyer Kim Kyung-eun welcomed the ruling – made in April but with details only released this week – telling AFP: “It is very significant in that it is the first court decision that killing dogs for dog meat is illegal itself.”

The precedent “paved the way for outlawing dog meat consumption entirely,” she added.

Care leader Park So-youn said her group was tracking down dog farms and slaughter houses across the country with a view to filing similar complaints against them to judicial authorities.

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