South Korean Court Rules Against Killing Dogs For Their Meat

Dogs farmed for their meat are often kept in inhumane conditions. parkphoom/Shutterstock

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. 


"Dogs for eating and dogs as pets must be separated," Cho Hwan-ro, a representative from an association of dog farms, said on television. "Cows, pigs, chickens and ducks are all raised to be consumed and why not dogs?" 

Hwan-ro's opinion may be a little biased – what does the rest of South Korea think? Dog meat is a traditional food source in many Asian cultures but, according to Humane Society International, South Korea is the only Asian country to routinely farm dogs for human consumption. Roughly 2 million animals are kept in 17,000 facilities – often in poor conditions – for this very purpose. However, it seems that Korea's taste for the meat is waning.

recent poll found that only 5 percent regularly consume dog meat. Sixty percent have never eaten dog and 46 percent want the trade banned. This is particularly true for the younger generation who increasingly see dogs as man's best friend, not dinner.

And so, it appears, does the country's legislature. A lawmaker from the country's ruling party introduced a bill to ban the killing of dogs for meat last month.

Dog meat for sale in Vietnam. Asia Images/Shutterstock


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