The ruling political party in South Korea has pledged to ban selling dog meat in the next few years by introducing a bill to enforce a ban this year. On 17th November 2023, Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the ruling People Power Party, said at a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists, “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.” With likely bipartisan support, the bill is expected to sail through parliament. The younger generations of Koreans have increasingly opposed the traditional Korean practice of eating dogs.

Chung Hwang-keun, Agriculture Minister, told the meeting the government would implement a ban quickly and provide the maximum possible support for those in the dog meat industry to close their businesses. First Lady Kim Keon Hee has been a vocal critic of dog meat consumption and, along with her husband, President Yoon Suk Yeol, adopted several stray dogs. The proposed ban will include a three-year grace period and financial support for dog meat trade businesses.

According to government data, there are about 1,150 breeding dog farms in South Korea, 34 slaughterhouses, 219 distribution companies, and some 1,600 restaurants serving dog meat. A 2022 Gallup Korea poll showed 64% of Koreans opposed dog meat consumption, with only 8% of respondents having eaten dogs within the past year, down from 27% in 2015.

Humane Society International said in a statement, “A dream come true for all of us who have campaigned so hard to end this cruelty.” Unfortunately, no similar bans have been proposed in the US, Latin America, and Europe on eating pig, cow, sheep, or chicken meat, which are the animals traditionally eaten there (and in greater numbers), and who suffer as much as dogs bred for meat in other countries.  

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.