The Korea Herald

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First lady explains S. Korea's dog meat ban plan to Queen Camilla

Kim invites Prince William to Korea to 'experience unique culture'

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : Nov. 26, 2023 - 13:50

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South Korea's first lady Kim Keon Hee (left) and the UK's Queen Camilla pose for a photo during President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visit to the UK on Tuesday. (Joint Press Corps.) South Korea's first lady Kim Keon Hee (left) and the UK's Queen Camilla pose for a photo during President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visit to the UK on Tuesday. (Joint Press Corps.)

First lady Kim Keon Hee told Queen Camilla about South Korea's legislative moves to ban the consumption of dog meat during their meeting in London last week, according to a presidential spokesperson on Sunday.

Touting the move initiated by the Yoon Suk Yeol administration and the ruling party to ban dog meat sales by 2027, Kim described the proposed legal ban as a constructive step to enhance the awareness of animal rights, spokesperson Lee Do-woon said in a written statement. Yoon's term ends in May 2027.

"Dog-eating culture still persists in Korea," Kim said as she brought up the issue during her meeting with the queen. Yoon and Kim have six dogs and five cats.

In Korea, there were some 3,500 farms breeding dogs to sell them for slaughter in 2022. Under a special bill that the government seeks to introduce before the end of this year, the entire food industry here -- dog farms, slaughterhouses, distribution centers and restaurants -- would face criminal consequences for participating in the dog meat industry. If the proposed bill passes in the National Assembly, a three-year grace period would extend to 2026.

According to a statement from the spokesperson, Camilla said, "We welcome Kim's efforts and we look forward to her further endeavors."

The animal rights issue was among the topics on which Kim exchanged views with King Charles III and Camilla, along with climate change, literature, health care and well-being.

According to Lee, Kim told the king on Tuesday that there is "huge potential for Seoul and London to cooperate to tackle climate change," as he brought up his food waste reduction project to save surplus food and circulate it through charities to tackle food poverty that was launched during his 75th birthday celebration earlier this month.

From left: Catherine, Princess of Wales, South Korea's first lady Kim Keon Hee, President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prince William pose for a photo during Yoon's state visit to the UK on Tuesday. (Joint Press Corps) From left: Catherine, Princess of Wales, South Korea's first lady Kim Keon Hee, President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prince William pose for a photo during Yoon's state visit to the UK on Tuesday. (Joint Press Corps)

Kim also invited Prince William, the elder son of Charles and heir to the British throne, to "come to South Korea, experience its unique culture and relish the beauty" during their meeting in London on Tuesday, according to the spokesperson.

William responded that making a visit to the country is a priority, adding that he has received a great volume of correspondence from the people of South Korea.

Yoon and Kim returned to Seoul on Sunday after a weeklong trip to Europe, including a four-day state visit to the UK and a stop in Paris to rally support for Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo.