At the beginning of September, the World Dog Alliance (WDA) sent a proposal for a ban on dog meat to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Animal Husbandry and Food, expressing the sincere hope and concern for a ban on dog meat in South Korea. As the South Korean government has not yet fully resolved the issue of the effective period of the dog meat ban and the compensation caused by the ban, the WDA has provided the following analysis and comments.
An analysis of the dog meat industry profile in South Korea by the WDA shows that the total value of the dog meat industry in 2021 is less than one ten thousandth of South Korea’s total GDP, but has a significant negative impact on the country’s international image. And with less than 10,000 people working in the industry, if the dog meat industry could be completely ended within three years. If achieved, it would be a remarkable achievement for the current government.
In addition, specific proposals put forward by the WDA include that, following a legislative ban on dog meat, the government will issue temporary licences to existing dog farms and dog shops to ensure legal operation for the next three years, but will not be able to expand the sale of dog meat. And after the three-year grace period, the sale of dog meat would be banned; as well as the government’s welfare policy of providing certain financial compensation to dog farms, support for job transition and related tax and low-interest loans.
On the other hand, within South Korea, legislator Han Jeong-ae(韓貞愛), the most passionate member of the National Assembly for animals for three consecutive terms (19th, 20th and 21st) and the 19th Minister of Environment, has continued to propose changes to the animal protection law, and in an interview with the Korea Daily last month, she said that legislating a ban on dog meat will not happen overnight, but can certainly succeed if persevered with.
The legislator said that the attitude of the National Assembly towards animal protection is very different from before, when most legislators did not pay much attention to animal protection during the 19th National Assembly. But now it is very different. Even if legislators themselves do not care much, they will actively listen to the opinions of the people concerned, and when the people’s demand for animal welfare increases, the National Assembly will follow suit. However, the South Korean legislators believe that the National Assembly should be half a step ahead of the people, ahead of the people.
However right now the South Korean National Assembly still has great difficulties and problems with legislating a ban on dog meat, for example the process of discussion and passage is too slow. There is also a big disagreement with the Agriculture, Marine and Fisheries Commission, as there are many people working in dog farms in the areas managed by the Commission, and they do not want to affect the livelihood of too many people, so the legislation has been delayed to succeed. But Han believes that even so, the government should not let go of the issue and should actively address it through social consensus. And it should not be left to allow time to address the issue of dog meat consumption, it is not in the public consciousness if the National Assembly looks at the suffering of so many animals and does not take action. Han Jung-ae is now actively pushing for the passage of the Act on the Prohibition of the Slaughter of Cats and Dogs, so that those who allow the slaughter – disposal of dog and cat meat for food purposes are criminally punished.
The WDA will be a strong supporter and backer of the South Korean legislation to ban dog meat, and together with the South Korean legislators, we will follow the trend of the times and actively promote the legislative process in the country.