SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) — A ruling People Power Party (PPP) lawmaker on Friday proposed a bill outlawing the butchery and sale of dog and cat meat in what was seen as a bipartisan effort to put an end to the contentious cultural practice.
Tabled by Rep. Tae Yong-ho of the PPP, the revision to the Animal Protection Act also allows the government to provide subsidies to dog and cat meat businesses that have voluntarily shut down or changed business.
“The culture of eating dogs and cats should be rooted out in an era where 15 million people raise animals,” Tae said. “Like first lady Kim Keon Hee said, the ruling and opposition parties and the government should take the lead in animal rights protection.”
The first lady has called for an end to dog meat consumption. In an interview in June, she mentioned how South Korea and China are the only countries among big economies where people eat dog meat.
On Thursday, the chief policymaker of the main opposition Democratic Party also said the party will push to enact a special law banning dog meat consumption and supporting people working in the dog meat industry to change jobs.
Dog meat consumption has dramatically declined in recent decades amid perceptions that the tradition is becoming an international embarrassment. Still, advocates argue people should have the freedom to choose what they eat.