In an interview on June 13, South Korea’s First Lady, Kim Keon-hee, publicly expressed her desire to eliminate the culture of dog meat consumption, signifying South Korea’s determination to emerge as a civilized nation in Asia, which drew enthusiastic reactions from people around the world.
The South Korean “First Family” consists of four dogs and three cats, with five of the pets coming from animal shelters. In her first press interview since becoming First Lady, Kim chose the topic of “animal rights protection” as an indication of the importance she places on this issue.
During the interview, Kim spoke about dog meat consumption, animal cruelty and stray dogs, and expressed her hope to see concrete improvements during Yoon Seok-hyeol’s term in office. On the issue of dog meat, she gave clear signals several times, stressing that the culture of dog meat consumption can be ended through the government, such as support for small operators to have new businesses: “I think South Korea and other developed countries should share the universal culture of not eating dog meat, otherwise it will lead to international anti-Korean sentiment. Respect for animals means respect for the disadvantaged in society, and compassion for animals should be extended to care for the disadvantaged in society. For example, children who are abused, women who are victims of domestic violence, and babies who are abandoned should receive attention, so I have a sense of mission to respect animals. Among countries of economic scale, only South Korea and China eat dog meat, and not eating dog meat represents the respect of human beings for their closest friends and for life.
Although South Korea has one of the highest percentages of dog meat eaters, as society progresses and dogs and cats become part of the human family, most people are disgusted by the practice of eating dogs and cats. In fact, under the order of the previous president, Moon Jae-in, the South Korean government has established a committee to discuss the issue of banning dog meat, and is expected to release the results of the poll in late June of this year.
The World Dog Alliance (WDA) placed a full-page advertisement in Politico, the largest political newspaper in the US, on May 11, in the form of an open letter in support of South Korea’s dog meat ban legislation, which caused a huge international reaction. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Animal Husbandry and Food sent a letter to the WDA thanking them for their concern and contribution to the ban on dog meat in South Korea.
Founder of the WDA, Genlin said, “The resilience and passion of women in animal protection is evident to all. The First Lady of South Korea has a wide range of influence, and her public call for a ban on dog meat, just weeks before the release of the poll results by the Dog Meat Ban Committee, has undoubtedly set the tone for the policy and brought a ray of hope for the 30 million dogs and cats slaughtered for food in Asia every year!”