After facing years of international scorn and embarrassment, South Korea’s government has finally banned the breeding, slaughtering, and sale of dogs for their meat. Koreans have been eating dogs for centuries, and activists estimate that as many as one million dogs per year are slaughtered in South Korea for lunch. Dog eating has declined sharply in recent years in South Korea as more and more people are becoming pet owners and realizing that, unlike chickens, cows, or pigs, dogs actually have personalities and souls. (Okay, some cows have personalities, but those are called dairy cows.)
As South Korea’s birth rate has declined, people are turning more and more to pet ownership there. Rather than eating their pets, they’re learning to embrace them. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol describes himself as an animal lover, and he and his wife have adopted several rescue dogs and cats. First Lady Kim Keon-hee has also been a vocal critic of the practice of eating dogs, like Barack Obama did that one time.
The bill to ban breeding, slaughtering, and selling dogs for meat passed unanimously by a vote of 208-0. Raising and slaughtering dogs for meat will be banned, as will distributing or selling the meat. While it will still be technically legal to eat a dog in South Korea, butchering one carries a three-year sentence. Selling dog meat or raising dogs to sell for meat will carry a two-year prison sentence.
Under South Korea’s system, there will now be a three-year grace period until the new law goes into effect.
“Now there is no longer any justification for being criticized as a ‘dog-eating country’,” said Thae Yong-ho, the People Power Party lawmaker who proposed the ban.
Well… you did sort of wait until 2023 to pass the ban, Thae Yong-ho. And it’s technically still legal for the next three years until the ban goes into effect. But we kind of see your point.
Congratulations probably are in order for South Korea, since they have now joined the ranks of civilized countries that don’t eat dogs. Unlike those barbarians in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, which was where Barack Obama ate his family’s dog.
China still has brutal wet market “festivals” in cities like Yulin, where people brutally slaughter puppies and then cook them up in a “hot pot.” Dog merchants travel to Yulin every year in June and transport dogs to the festival, where they kill them, gut them, and skin them right out in the open. That festival first started in 2009, and it has drawn international criticism ever since then.
Celebrities like Matt Damon, Ricky Gervais, and Joaquin Phoenix have all publicly called for an end to China’s barbaric dog murder-and-lunch festival, but to no avail. (How could China resist Matt Damon’s pleas?!)
Even though Communist China initially tried to blame the Chinese coronavirus on a wet market, the country has done nothing to shut wet markets like the doggy festival in Yulin down. Scientists all agree that these types of disgusting, unsanitary wet markets remain one of the most viable ways for various types of barnyard flu to pass from animals to humans. In a hilarious aside, Yulin officials claim in state Chinese media reports that the dog-eating festival does not exist, despite all the alarming videos of the festival on the internet.
At any rate, we’re happy for all the dogs in South Korea that now get to live. It’s long past the time when the barbaric practice of eating dogs should have been banned, and the South Korean government is finally doing the right thing.