PYEONGTAEK – The canine bark and stare as Kim Jong-kil approaches the rusty cages housing the big, short-haired animals he sells for his or her meat. Kim opens a door and pets one canine’s neck and chest.
Kim says he’s pleased with the canine meat farm that has supported his household for 27 years, however is upset over rising makes an attempt by politicians and activists to outlaw the enterprise, which he’s turning over to his youngsters.
“It’s more than just feeling bad. I absolutely oppose these moves, and we’ll mobilize all our means to resist it,” Kim, 57, stated in an interview at his farm in Pyeongtaek metropolis, simply south of Seoul.
Canine meat consumption is a centuries-old apply on the Korean Peninsula and has lengthy been seen as a supply of stamina on scorching summer season days. It is neither explicitly banned nor legalized in South Korea, however increasingly more folks need it prohibited. There’s growing public consciousness of animal rights and worries about South Korea’s worldwide picture.
The anti-dog meat marketing campaign not too long ago obtained a giant increase when the nation’s first girl expressed her help for a ban and two lawmakers submitted payments to remove the canine meat commerce.
“Foreigners think South Korea is a cultural powerhouse. But the more K-culture increases its international standing, the bigger shock foreigners experience over our dog meat consumption,” stated Han Jeoungae, an opposition lawmaker who submitted laws to outlaw the canine meat business final month.
Prospects for passage of an anti-dog meat legislation are unclear due to protests by farmers, restaurant homeowners and others concerned within the canine meat business. Surveys recommend that one in three South Koreans opposes such a ban, although most individuals don’t eat canine meat anymore.
Canine are additionally eaten in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, North Korea and a few African nations, together with Ghana, Cameroon, Congo and Nigeria.
Earlier this month, Indonesian authorities introduced the top of canine and cat slaughter at an animal market on the island of Sulawesi following a yearslong marketing campaign by native activists and world celebrities. The Tomohon Excessive Market will turn out to be the primary such market in Indonesia to go canine and cat meat-free, based on the anti-animal cruelty group Humane Society Worldwide.
South Korea’s canine meat business receives extra worldwide consideration due to its status as a rich, ultra-modern democracy. It’s also the one nation with industrial-scale farms. Most farms in South Korea have greater than 500 canine, based on a canine farmers’ affiliation.
Throughout a current go to, Kim’s farm, one of many nation’s largest with 7,000 canine, appeared comparatively clear however there was a powerful stench in some areas. All canine are saved in elevated cages and are fed with meals waste and floor rooster. They’re not often launched for train and usually are bought for meat one yr after they’re born.
Kim stated two of his youngsters, age 29 and 31, are operating the farm with him, and that enterprise has been going fairly nicely. He stated the canine bred for his or her meat are totally different from pets, an concept opposed by activists.
It is troublesome now to seek out canine meat eating places in Seoul’s bustling downtown, although many nonetheless exit within the countryside.
“I only earn one-third of the money I used to make. Young people don’t come here. Only ailing old people come for lunch,” stated Yoon Chu-wol, 77, the proprietor of a canine meat restaurant in Seoul’s Kyungdong conventional market. “I tell my elderly customers to come and eat my food more frequently before it’s banned.”
Farmers additionally face rising scrutiny from officers and more and more damaging public opinion. They complain that officers go to them repeatedly in response to complaints filed by activists and residents over alleged animal abuse and different wrongdoing. Kim stated greater than 90 such petitions had been filed in opposition to his farm throughout a current four-month span.
Son Received Hak, basic secretary of the canine farmers’ affiliation, stated many farms have collapsed in recent times due to falling canine meat costs and weaker demand. He thinks that is a results of activist campaigns and unfair media studies specializing in farms with inferior circumstances. Some observers, nevertheless, say consumption of canine meat was already declining, with youthful folks staying away from it.
“Quite honestly, I’d like to quit my job tomorrow. We can’t confidently tell our children that we’re raising dogs,” Son stated. “When my friends called me, they said ‘Hey, are you still running a dog meat farm? Isn’t it illegal?’”
The variety of farms throughout South Korea has dropped by half from a couple of years in the past to about 3,000 to 4,000, and about 700,000 to 1 million canine are slaughtered every year, a decline from a number of million 10 to twenty years in the past, based on the canine farmers’ affiliation. Some activists argue that the farmers’ estimates are an exaggeration meant to indicate their business is simply too huge to destroy.
In late 2021, South Korea launched a government-civilian job pressure to contemplate outlawing canine meat on the suggestion of then-President Moon Jae-in, a pet lover. The committee, whose members embody farmers and animal rights activists, has met greater than 20 occasions however hasn’t reached any settlement, apparently due to disputes over compensation points.
Agriculture officers refused to reveal the discussions within the closed-door conferences. They stated the federal government needs to finish canine meat consumption primarily based on a public consensus.
In April, first girl Kim Keon Hee, the spouse of present President Yoon Suk Yeol, stated in a gathering with activists that she hopes for an finish to canine meat consumption. Famers responded with rallies and formal complaints in opposition to Kim for allegedly hurting their livelihoods.
Han, the lawmaker, stated she “highly positively appraises” influential figures talking out in opposition to canine meat consumption.
Han stated her invoice gives help packages for farmers who agree to shut their farms. They’d be entitled to cash to dismantle their amenities, vocational coaching, employment help and different advantages, she stated.
Ju Yeongbong, an official of the farmers’ affiliation, stated farmers wish to proceed for about 20 extra years till older folks, their major clients, die, permitting the business to naturally disappear. Observers say most farmers are additionally of their 60s to 70s.
Borami Web optimization, a director of the South Korea workplace of the Humane Society Worldwide, stated she opposes the continued killing of thousands and thousands of canine for such a protracted interval. “Letting this silent cruelty to (dogs) be committed in South Korea doesn’t make sense,” Web optimization stated.
“(Dog meat consumption) is too anachronistic, has elements of cruelty to animals and hinders our national growth,” stated Cheon JinKyung, head of Korea Animal Rights Advocates in Seoul.
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