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South Korea finally announces when it will ban eating dog meat

After years of public opinion slowly changing on the topic, it appears South Korea is ready to end its ancient tradition of eating dog meat. The combination of outside pressure and its unpopularity among the nation’s youth has pushed the government to take action.

“It is time to put an end to social conflicts and controversies around dog meat consumption through the enactment of a special act to end it,” Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the ruling People Power Party, said at a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists, according to Reuters.

“We live in an era where there are millions of pets,” Yu continued. “In particular, dogs are not just possessions, but family members and friends that interact with people. The majority of the public is against eating dogs.”

​Yu says that the party will introduce a bill to ban the sale, production and consumption of dog meat in the country and it’s expected to receive bipartisan support. The ban would provide a 3-year grace period for those who own restaurants that serve dog meat and those in the dog-meat industry to close their businesses or transition to other products.

If all goes to plan, dog meat consumption will be banned in the country by 2027.

According to government data, South Korea has 1,150 farms dedicated to dog breeding, with 34 facilities for slaughtering, and 219 companies involved in distributing the meat. Additionally, there are around 1,600 restaurants that offer dog meat on their menus.

Humane Society International claims that up to 1 million dogs are farmed and killed for human consumption each year in South Korea. However, given the change in public opinion, demand is dwindling for dog meat. There are 6 million dogs living in Korean homes as pets and polls show that 86% of South Koreans say they won’t eat dog meat in the future.

Although the vast majority of South Koreans don’t eat dog meat, many in the older generations believe that consuming it will help their body stay cool during the hot summer months and that it’s good for their stamina. Even though there have been recent dog-meat bans in Asia, over 30 million dogs a year are killed each year on the continent for consumption.

The impending end of the dog meat industry in South Korea has been applauded by the Human Society.

“News that the South Korean government is at last poised to ban the dog meat industry is like a dream come true for all of us who have campaigned so hard to end this cruelty. Korean society has reached a tipping point where most people now reject eating dogs and want to see this suffering consigned to the history books,” JungAh Chae, executive director of Humane Society International/Korea, said in a statement.

“With so many dogs needlessly suffering for a meat that hardly anyone eats, the government’s bill delivers a bold plan that must now urgently be passed by the Assembly so that a legislative ban can be agreed as soon as possible to help South Korea close this miserable chapter in our history and embrace a dog-friendly future,” Chae continued.