An association of Korean dog meat vendors staged a protest in central Seoul on Thursday, calling on the government to separate dogs as pets and for human consumption and legalize dog meat trade.
Nearly 1,500 people gathered near City Hall in one of the largest pro-dog meat rallies ever held in South Korea.
An association of Korean dog meat vendors is staging a protest in central Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Criticizing animal rights group for putting animals’ rights before theirs, they said it is unfair for the government to provide subsidies to animal shelters while not supporting their business.
Earlier this year, Seongnam, south of Seoul, began removing butchery facilities from South Korea’s largest dog meat market, Moran Market, banning the slaughter of dogs and display of live dogs in cages there.
The Livestock Product Sanitary Control Act, which governs slaughtering, processing, distribution and inspection of livestock products, does not categorize dogs as livestock to be processed as food.
Yet, with no law against the sale and consumption of dog meat, farming, butchery and the consumption of dog meat have continued in a legal gray area. The industry has a history that dates back centuries, but has in recent years struggled with the popularity of “stamina-boosting“ dog meat dishes on a marked decline and facing international criticism.
“In the name of animal rights, so many civic activists and animal rights groups have threatened to take away our rights to make a basic livelihood. We want our freedom and rights back to engage in the dog meat business,” said Han Sang-won, president of an association for dog meat businesses.
The protesters also vowed to counter an upcoming anti-dog meat rally, slated for later this month, with their own.
“If (Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon) does not rescind (the permit given to) the rally, we are going to request Seoul City to approve a pro-dog meat festival in Seoul Square,” Choi Hyun-sik, one of the protesters told The Korea Herald.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org)