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South Korean parliament passes bill to ban dog meat trade

January 9, 2024

Eating and selling dog meat is to become illegal in South Korea as of 2027 amid growing calls to ban the practice.

Plate of dog meat
Dog meat has long been a part of South Korean culinary tradition but has gone out of fashionImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo

Parliamentarians in South Korea on Tuesday passed a bill to ban selling or producing dog meat, something that has been practiced in the country for centuries.

The law, which is to go into force in 2027, comes amid growing support for animal welfare in the country.

The National Assembly passed the bill by a 208-0 vote. Although it still needs to be endorsed by the Cabinet Council and signed by President Yoon Suk-yeol to go into force, those steps are considered a formality.

Support for a ban has grown under President Yoon, who is known for adopting stray dogs and cats. His wife, Kim Keon-hee, has also been outspoken in her criticism of the practice.

Recent surveys show that most South Koreans no longer include dog meat in their diets.

What does the law stipulate?

Under the new law, it will become illegal to breed, sell or kill dogs for their meat, with offenses punished by up to three years in jail or 30 million won (€21,000, $23,000) in fines.

"This law is aimed at contributing to realizing the values of animal rights, which pursue respect for life and a harmonious co-existence between humans and animals," the legislation reads.

The law does not stipulate punishments for consuming dog meat.

Dog farmers are expected to hold protests against the bill and file a petition at the constitutional court.

The South Korean Agriculture Ministry has estimated that more than 1,000 farms were breeding almost half a million dogs to be served at around 1,600 restaurants as of April 2022.

 tj/wmr (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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