ANIMAL WATCH - In the past few months, there has been major progress in the fight against the torture and killing of dogs and cats in South Korea, in the Dog Meat Trade.
On September 27,, 2021 South Korean President Moon Jae-in told the Prime Minister: “Hasn’t the time come to prudently consider prohibiting dog meat consumption?” In December, the South Korean Government formed the Consultative Discussion Committee on Ending Dog Meat Consumption (the “Committee”). The Committee consists of Government Ministers, dog meat farmers, butchers, dog meat shop owners, and representatives of Animal Welfare Organizations; it is chaired by Professor Jeong Kwang-Ho, dean of the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University. The Committee has until April 2022 to issue its report on how to proceed.
Approximately two million dogs are killed and eaten every year in South Korea. Prior to their deaths, these dogs endure a lifetime of abuse and are often slaughtered in a completely inhumane and brutal manner. As stated by KoreanDogs.org:
“Dogs suffer their entire lives in filthy, feces encrusted raised wire cages in utter misery only to be slaughtered in the most horrific of ways. They are killed by electrocution, hammer strikes to their head and necks, being hung, being beaten to death, having their throats slit, being burned alive with a blowtorch, or thrown into a vat of boiling water while still alive.”
“[D]ogs are killed in full view of other terrified, caged dogs who tremble with terror. In addition, people’s beloved pets are often stolen and sold to these businesses, where they meet the same horrific fate. Dogs and puppies who died of diseases are tossed away like garbage, often left in front of cages to rot while the mother dogs watch and cry out in despair for their dead babies.”
“In the process of mass breeding of dogs, a lot of noise pollution occurs and its negative effects on the public are serious. To solve that, dog farmers commit the cruelty of forcibly bursting dogs’ eardrums to reduce the noise of barking. … Moreover, to flavor the meat, sometimes the dogs are hung by the neck then mercilessly bludgeoned all over with a club, bursting their internal organs and killing it brutally and heartlessly. We must indeed call this a diabolical behavior.” – Beopjeong, South Korean Buddhist Priest.
Some videos of the brutal treatment endured by dogs in the South Korean dog meat trade are: Shocking Cruelty of South Korean Dog Meat Industry, Part 1 of 2: Part 2 of 2.
Many more such videos and photos, as well as additional information about the Korean Dog Meat Trade, can be found on the website www.KoreanDogs.org
As well as the moral implications of this horrible abuse of dogs, South Korea’s dog meat trade will damage the country economically and diplomatically. South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, has stated that dog meat is becoming an international embarrassment.
The City of Los Angeles, one of South Korea’s largest trading partners and sister city to Busan, officially opposes the dog meat trade in South Korea and other countries. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the dog meat trade and stating that the City will “SUPPORT … legislation or administrative action that would request the governments of China, Vietnam, South Korea, Cambodia, and Indonesia to ban the sale of dog meat and to enforce their animal cruelty laws.” The official position of Los Angeles is set forth in City Council File 19-0002-S101 (sponsored by Councilmembers Blumenfield and Ryu). Link to City Council Resolution. This is also the official position of the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC), representing all 34 Neighborhood Councils in the San Fernando Valley. Link to VANC Resolution.
Some samplings of the strong feelings many people have about this abhorrent practice, which they expressed to the Los Angeles City Council, are contained in this article in CityWatch: LA Passes Anti-Dog Meat Resolution.
As these comments demonstrate, while there may be economic costs associated with ending the dog meat trade, those costs pale in comparison to the economic and diplomatic damage that South Korea has and will suffer if the practice is not ended.
In addition, the United States House of Representatives has passed H.Res. 401, 115th Congress, which “calls for an end to the dog and cat meat trade on cruelty and public health grounds” and “urges all nations to outlaw the dog and cat meat trade and enforce existing laws against such trade.”
There is also a bill pending in the South Korean National Assembly to end dog meat, Bill Number 7035—Proposed Partial Amendments to the Animal Protection Act, introduced and sponsored by Minister of Environment Han Jeoung Ae along with nine other Assembly members.
The call for South Korea to end the Dog Meat Trade recently gained an important new ally, United States Congressman Brad Sherman of Los Angeles. Congressman Sherman is a powerful member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, a member and former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia. At a meeting of the Tarzana Neighborhood Council on October 26, 2021, Congressman Sherman stated:
“I used to chair the Asia Subcommittee, and I’ve been very involved in the issues of a formal end to the Korean War. I’ve worked with some South Korean legislators on that, and it’s about time that I then broadened that relationship to also focus on the dog meat issue as well, so I will leverage those relationships to bring up that issue as well.”
WHAT MORE CAN WE DO NOW TO END THIS BRUTAL, INHUMANE PRACTICE?
Despite all this progress, more has to be done to assure that the Consultative Discussion Committee on Ending Dog Meat Consumption, the South Korean National Assembly, and other government officials in South Korea will quickly act to end the torture and killing of dogs and cats. Giny Woo of KoreanDogs.org has been hard at work drafting petitions to Governors, Mayors, and other government officials in South Korea. (For more about Giny and KoreanDogs.org, please see Interview with Giny Woo, KoreanDogs.org Founder: Stopping Dog Meat Trade in S. Korea.
The petition to the Consultative Discussion Committee on Ending Dog Meat Consumption is here.
Many other petitions, including petitions to Mayors and Governors in the United States that have Sister City relationships with Korean cities, are here.
If you want to send emails directly to South Korean officials, information about how to do that is here. https://koreandogs.org/call-south-korea/
If you oppose the torture and killing of dogs and cats, please sign some of the petitions and/or send emails to Korean government officials asking them to stop it. Thank you to all of you who have supported, and continue to support, the fight against the dog and cat meat trade!
(Jeffrey Mausner (www.MausnerLaw.com) is the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils Liaison to the Los Angeles Animal Services Department, 2nd Vice President of the Tarzana Neighborhood Council and Chair of its Animal Welfare Committee, and a Volunteer at the West Valley Animal Shelter. He was previously a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate and is now a Budget Representative. He is a retired attorney and law school professor and was formerly a Federal Prosecutor for the U.S. Justice Department.)