Seoul Mayor to Ban the Dog Meat Trade

The dog meat trade may soon come to an end in Seoul. Park Won-soon, the mayor of the capital, has vowed to eradicate the notorious business.

The South China Morning Post reports that announcement followed a screening of “Underdog,” a 2018 South Korean animated film directed by Lee Chun-baek and Oh Sung-yoon. The film follows the story of stray dogs who wander the streets and come to realize the meaning of freedom and their individuality.

“In the past, we had several dog butcher shops in Cheongnyangni [a northern region of Seoul], but I closed almost all of them down through various measures,” Park told attendees. “Currently, one or two dog slaughterhouses remain. I cannot force them to go out of business, so I will put pressure on them to move.”

South Korea’s Dog Meat Trade

The public opinion on the dog meat trade is changing in South Korea. Last November, the government shut down Taepyeong, the largest dog meat slaughterhouse in the nation, on the grounds of animal cruelty.

Dogs were kept in wire cages and exposed to electrocution and shearing machines. A pile of dead dogs was found as investigators surveyed the area. That same month the last remaining brick and mortar selling live dogs at Moran Market, which was once the nation’s largest market serving dog meat, shut down.

One dog meat farmer of 14 years freed 200 dogs last October and chose to convert his business to a medical herb farm. The change was made with the help of the nonprofit oranization, Humane Society International. “I think there will be a lot of interest from other dog farmers wanting to quit too,” said at the time. “Because it’s not just about saving the dogs but about helping us farmers too, and I appreciate that.”

The nation’s president, Moon Jae-in, adopted a stray dog named Tory in 2017, who had been rescued from a meat farm. Park also believes that adoption is important: “Every year, 8,500 dogs are being abandoned in Seoul, and one-fourth of them are put to death because they aren’t adopted in time. Creating a world where animals too can enjoy peace and safety is something that I believe is very important,” he said after the screening.

There are currently five remaining dog meat stores on Seoul’s Gyeongdong Market, two of which are known to slaughter and sell dogs.