The Korea Herald

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9 out 10 S. Koreans say they won't eat dog meat: survey

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Jan. 8, 2024 - 17:24

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Workers from Humane Society International move a dog from a cage at a dog farm to a mobile kennel in this file photo taken in March 2023. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald) Workers from Humane Society International move a dog from a cage at a dog farm to a mobile kennel in this file photo taken in March 2023. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald)

Over 90 percent of South Korean respondents said they would not eat dog meat, the results of a survey showed Monday, as the government seeks to pass a bill prohibiting dog meat consumption in the country.

In a Dec.12-17 survey on 2,000 adults across the country conducted by local animal rights group Aware, 93.4 percent of respondents answered that they have no intention of eating dog meat in the future, up from 88.6 percent in a survey conducted by the same group the year before.

The survey also indicated that dog meat is enjoyed by only a small portion of the population, as 94.5 percent of the respondents reported that they have not eaten dog in the past year.

The apparent disapproval toward the consumption of dog meat was prevalent among both pet owners and those without pets, with 94.7 percent of respondents who owned pets declaring that they would not eat dog meat, and 92.7 percent of those without pets saying the same.

When asked the reasons behind not wanting to consume dog meat, 53.5 percent said they were "emotionally repulsed," while 18.4 percent said they took issue with the brutal process of breeding and butchering dogs. Another 7.1 percent said they were mindful of the negative perception toward dog meat from the rest of society.

Aware's survey also suggested that a growing percentage of the population are favorable toward a dog meat ban, with the percent of those supporting a ban rising to 82.3 percent from 72.8 percent in 2022. About 60.9 percent of respondents said the law will "reduce the number of dogs in pain."

"The survey proves that the people (of South Korea) no longer regard dogs as 'food,' and that they are asking for the issue of dog meat consumption to be resolved through legislation," the group's chief Lee Yung-ju said.

Most dog meat in South Korea is produced through 1,156 farms across the country. These farms breed the animals specifically for meat, according to research by a government-civilian committee working on legislation for a dog meat ban. The committee was launched last year.

An annual average of 388,000 dogs are thought to be consumed at some 1,600 restaurants across the country, according to the committee.

Upon taking office, the incumbent Yoon Seok Yeol administration has launched a drive to end dog meat consumption, which has sparked backlash from those working in the industry. The Dog Meat Federation, a group of those who breed dogs for meat, has been protesting the government plan and demanding financial compensation.