A white and brown dog behind rusty metal bars

South Korea Announces Groundbreaking Ban on the Consumption of Dog Meat

In a historic move, South Korea is paving the way for other countries to follow suit

22.11.2023

Here at FOUR PAWS, we welcome this historic step by the South Korean government to ban the consumption of dog meat and we hope it paves the way for other Asian countries to follow suit.

In a move that is being celebrated by animal lovers across the world, Yu Eui-dong, head of policy for the ruling People Power Party announced the plans on Friday 17 November 2023, saying “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”.

Across an estimated 1,000 breeding farms, up to one million dogs are farmed and eaten in South Korea annually, however, there has been mounting pressure from citizens within the country alongside growing international outcry to ban the cruel trade once and for all. A Gallup Korea poll in 2022 found that 64% of South Koreans opposed the consumption of dog meat, while only 8% of respondents had eaten dog meat in the last year.

Similar surveys carried out by FOUR PAWS in Vietnam and Cambodia indicate a much higher demand for an end to the trade. In fact, our survey found that a total of 91% of Vietnamese citizens say the trade should be banned or discouraged, and only 6% of Vietnamese citizens regularly consume dog meat. Meanwhile in Cambodia, our survey concluded that 90% of the public would support a ban on the trade and only 12% of citizens regularly consume dog meat.

We therefore hope that this huge step forward by South Korea, having acknowledged and acted upon the public outcry, will set an example to other governments that ending the abhorrent dog meat trade is not only achievable, but highly desired.

Much like FOUR PAWS’ livelihood conversions for slaughterhouse owners, those involved in the trade in South Korea will be offered support by the government to move away from the industry and find new sources of sustainable income. The new bill is expected to come into full effect by 2027, to allow a three-year grace period for the industry to shut down operations completely.

We hope that this momentous action by the South Korean government will send a clear message to others around the world that it’s finally time for the dog meat trade to be abolished for good.  

Learn more about our campaign to end the dog and cat meat trade in Southeast Asia

Nick Weston

Nick Weston

Head of International Campaigns Companion Animals

FOUR PAWS International

Nick Weston is an experienced Animal Welfare campaigner working for FOUR PAWS International, based in the UK. Nick is responsible for overseeing the international companion animal campaigns at FOUR PAWS, which includes work to end the puppy trade in Europe as well supporting the efforts to end the dog and cat meat trade in South East Asia.

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