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South Korea has banned the dog meat trade

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South Korea's Parliament has banned the production of dog meat from 2027.
south korea dog meat

South Korea’s Parliament has banned the production of dog meat from 2027.

While very few South Koreans still consume dog meat, farms where dogs are bred and killed for meat still exist in the country.

Animal welfare advocates said they’re “overjoyed” with the decision to outlaw dog farms.

Here’s what you need to know.

Background

Eating dog meat has become increasingly unpopular in South Korea over recent years.

However, among some older generations of Koreans, a soup containing dog meat called “bosintang” (which translates to “rejuvenating broth”) is considered a delicacy.

Some Korean and Chinese cultures believe eating dog meat has therapeutic benefits like reducing heat stress, particularly during summer months.

Changing attitudes

South Korea has repeatedly drawn international criticism for the practice of eating dog meat.

However, according to a 2023 survey, 93% of South Koreans had no intention of eating it in the future.

When asked if they’d consumed dog meat in the past year, almost 95% of respondents said they had not.

New laws

This week, 208 South Korean MPs voted in favour of a bill to “end the breeding, slaughter, and distribution of dogs” for meat. Two MPs abstained (didn’t vote).

While the act of eating dog meat won’t be illegal, the law outlines plans to “end the consumption of dog meat” in South Korea.

The reform also means it will become illegal to sell or trade dogs for human consumption.

Next steps

President Yoon Suk Yeol – a vocal supporter of the ban – will now need to approve the laws, which will come into effect after six months.

Dog breeding farmers and restaurants serving dog meat will then have three years (until 2027) to phase out the practice.

Anyone found in breach of the laws faces fines of up to $AU34,000 or three years imprisonment.

Reaction

Humane Society International has welcomed the decision to outlaw the “cruel” practice.

The group’s executive director JungAh Chae said “Most Korean citizens reject eating dogs and want to see this suffering consigned to the history books”.

Some farmers have told media outlets they will rally against the change and mount a legal challenge in the Constitutional Court of Korea.

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