The city court in Bucheon has ruled it illegal to kill dogs for meat consumption in South Korea, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports. This landmark decision could help save some of the 1,000,000 or so animals slaughtered every single year to satiate consumers' appetite for the product.
The case was brought to court by an animal rights group called CARE (aka "Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth"), who sued a Bucheon-based dog-farm owner for “killing animals without proper reason.”
They won their case and the owner was ordered to pay 3,000,000 South Korean won, which roughly equates to $2,700. Not only was he fined for killing dogs without an adequate reason for doing so but he was convicted for eschewing building and hygiene regulations – which are enforced to deter the dog meat trade.
It is worth mentioning that the decision ruled against killing dogs to sell and eat them. It says nothing about the practices of selling or eating dog meat. Nonetheless, these are important steps to outlawing the dog-meat trade altogether, animal rights activists say, and the precedent could make it a lot harder for would-be dog-eaters to get their hands on the meat in the first place. (CARE has already announced they'll be taking on other dog farms and slaughterhouses with similar legal methods.)
"It is very significant in that it is the first court decision that killing dogs for dog meat is illegal itself," Kim Kyung-eun, a lawyer for CARE, told the AFP. She has welcomed the ruling and says that it could pave the way for more legislation that bans the practice of consuming dog meat altogether.
The ruling did not avoid the inevitable backlash from the dog-farming community. Rather than an outright ban, they are calling for the legalization of dog meat and have asked officials to create an avenue whereby slaughterhouses can obtain a license, the National Geographic reports.