MEDIA RELEASE: South Korea Poised to Begin the New Year on a Humane Note
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (Jan. 4, 2024) — South Korea stands at the precipice of an historic cultural shift at the beginning of the new year. The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea has never been closer to enacting a law to ban dog meat consumption, a move that would save the lives of more than one million dogs per year. The vote could come as soon as Tuesday (January 9). A force spurring this monumental change is In Defense of Animals, which has been working for twenty years to end the dog meat trade in South Korea — longer than any other U.S. organization.
Late last month, an alternative Special Bill on the breeding, slaughter, and distribution of dogs for consumption and ending dog meat consumption was proposed by the National Assembly’s Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans, and Fisheries Committee Chairman. The new Special Bill replaces eight bills that were tasked with a similar purpose.
Momentum for ending the dog meat trade began to build in the National Assembly last June with the introduction of a Special Bill to end dog meat consumption introduced by Rep. Han Jeong-ae of the Democratic Party, followed by a Special Bill to ban dog meat consumption and support business closures by Rep. Lee Heon-seung of the People Power Party. Several other bills to end dog meat consumption followed and three partial amendments to the Animal Protection Act were also introduced. One of the Special Bills to end dog meat was passed by a subcommittee of the Agriculture Committee and then by the full Committee on December 20. All eight bills have now been replaced by the alternative Special Bill, which will be discussed in the National Assembly on Monday (January 8), clearing the way for a vote as soon as the next day.
Emmy Award winner Katherine Heigl and Priscilla Presley recorded videos applauding the developments and encouraging the South Korean National Assembly to sign the bill into law. Several Korean War veterans also gave video statements in support of the Special Bill to end dog meat, which can be seen HERE.
In Defense of Animals’ Global Anti-Dog Meat Coalition created an alert that allows its members and others to send the video link to key members of the South Korean National Assembly. In Defense of Animals is aware that some members of the National Assembly have seen the video, but the more people who send it to them, the more likely it is that every member will see the video prior to the vote. Anyone can add their voice to urge members of the National Assembly to view the video and to support the Special Act to End Dog Meat Consumption with just one CLICK.
Eating dog meat in South Korea is a fading practice that is controversial amongst its population. Many Koreans view it as barbaric. Dog meat is most commonly eaten in the hottest months of the year as some people believe that it cools the body. However, according to a survey conducted by Nielsen Korea, 86% of Koreans do not plan to eat dog meat.
According to South Korean government statistics, there are around 1,150 dog farms, 34 butchering businesses, 219 distributors, and approximately 1,600 restaurants that sell food made with dog meat. Dog meat farmers claim that the actual numbers are significantly higher.
Pushback to the legislative bill has come from the Korea Dog Meat Farmer’s Association, which recently threatened to release two million dogs near government landmarks in Seoul and lawmakers’ homes in protest.
Co-Founder of the Global Anti-Dog Meat Coalition Jeffrey Mausner, who produced and directed the video, is hopeful that the bill will pass but stresses the need to continue reminding members of the South Korean National Assembly of how important this matter is to South Korea’s American allies.
“A broad array of Americans strongly supports the Special Act to End Dog Meat Consumption. The video, which was specifically produced for members of the South Korean National Assembly, features Korean War veterans, who risked their lives to save the lives of South Koreans and to save the country. Famous celebrities also add their voices to the plea to the National Assembly to end the brutality. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a high-ranking United States Congressman who was formerly Chair of the House Subcommittee on Asia, lends his support. The video also points out that it is the official position of the City of Los Angeles, one of South Korea’s largest trading partners, to oppose the dog meat trade in South Korea and other countries,” said Mausner.
In 2017, In Defense of Animals, a 40-year-old international animal protection nonprofit based in Northern California that fights for animals, humans and the environment, partnered with Jindo Love Rescue. Together, they have saved more than 1,200 dogs from the South Korean dog meat trade, flying them to forever homes in North America.
For more information, please visit https://www.idausa.org/dogmeat.
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Photo caption: Dogs rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea by In Defense of Animals and Jindo Love Rescue.
Photo credit: In Defense of Animals/Jindo Love Rescue.
Contact: Rick Scott, 310.714.0248, [email protected]