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Pets no longer considered ‘waste’ under new law

Pet owners are no longer required to dispose of the bodies of their beloved pets in the trash, as a revised animal protection law came into effect Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, pets treated at animal cremation facilities will no longer be classified as waste under the revised law.

Animals not treated at cremation facilities will still be subject to the waste management law, which requires pet owners to dispose of the bodies as waste.

Before the law was amended, the dead bodies of companion animals were been considered waste, leaving their owners with largely three options: Throw out the bodies in a trash bin, have a veterinary clinic treat them as medical waste or illegally bury them. 

Animal advocacy groups have taken issue with the way companion animals have been treated like goods, calling for a change in what they view as unethical practice.

With the revision in place, animal funeral operators will not have to ask for a permit from the municipalities to run a facility to process animal cremation and burial, making it easier to set up animal funeral facilities. 


“We were aware that there had been opposition to treating pets as waste,” an official from the ministry said. “The revision will relieve burden of setting up and running animal cremation facilities and improve their accessibility for pet owners.”

Currently, there are only 15 privately run animal cremation facilities across the nation. It costs an average of 300,000 won to 500,000 won to use the services, according to industry watchers.

By Ock Hyun-ju (
Korea Herald Youtube