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Seoul's district declares nation's first animal welfare act

Seoul's district declares nation's first animal welfare act

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Published : 2013-12-19 13:57
Updated : 2013-12-19 13:57

A district in eastern Seoul has established an animal welfare act for the first time in the nation to better protect their lives and to promote the culture of respect for life, officials said Thursday.

The ordinance, promulgated by the Gangdong District Office on Wednesday, stipulates a wide range of regulations on how to protect the lives of animals and promote their well-being, including duties of the government and residents to guarantee their safety, and the establishment of relevant facilities.

The enactment came some six months after the district office began operating facilities for feeding stray cats, also the first of their kind in the country.

"There has been a controversy over such efforts for street animals, which were considered a headache. Thanks to the residents' cooperation, however, it has rather improved the environment and helped the government better control their population," said a district official.

The number of feeding spots rose from 18 in July to 28 across the Gangdong District, he added.

"We will strive further to guarantee animal welfare by setting out a charter, making a relevant committee and appointing honorary rangers so as to create a community where people and animals live in harmony," said ward chief Lee Hae-sik.

The concept of animal rights is gaining ground in the nation, particularly toward stray cats whose urban coexistence with humans make them major victims of roadkill and animal cruelty.

On the national level, four lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties have been pushing to set up a law on animal welfare by revising the current animal protection law to expand the scope of relevant regulations and toughen the crackdown on animal abuse.

If enacted, South Korea will be the first country in East Asia to have such a rule, according to the lawmakers. (Yonhap News)

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