Moon jae-in did it casually, Monday, September 27, with this somewhat convoluted question addressed in public to his Prime Minister: “Hasn’t the time come to consider, with caution, the ban on the consumption of dog meat?“As indirect and timid as it is, this” recommendation “is a major commitment.

Because in Korea dog meat has long been considered a delicacy, a tradition that could not be tackled, although the practice is on the decline.

Every year between 1 and 2 million dogs are still killed in South Korea – the statistics are approximate. THE’Animal Welfare Institute estimate that this represents around 100,000 tonnes of meat.

MBut consumption is on the decline, as in most Asian countries. Less than one in three South Koreans now consume dog meat; among the youngest, “eating dog food” has even become completely taboo.

The pressure from activists for animal causes has grown stronger, the dog has gone from the status of a dish in sauce to that of a four-legged companion. The pet market is also growing: 20% of South Korean households now have a dog at home.

Starting with the Head of State! Moon Jae-in loves animals. In 2017, he focused part of his presidential campaign on banning the sale and trafficking of dog meat. He had even undertaken, if elected, to adopt a dog from among the survivors of illegal breeding.

Promise kept: Tory, 4, a little black hairball of an unknown race, has therefore entered the Blue House, the South Korean presidential palace. Like the “first lady” he became “the first dog”. It was a strong gesture, especially since in Korea nobody adopts black dogs: they are deemed to bring bad luck.

The following year, 2018, Moon Jae-in, in accordance with his agenda, passed a law banning the slaughter of dogs and cats. But not their consumption: that was not enough to put an end to the practice.

That made it more complicated of course, but that didn’t stop a whole underground market from flourishing. In 2019, an American NGO infiltrated uillegal dog farm that advertised itself as a breeding center : she discovered 200 animals there crammed in iron cages while waiting to be sold and for a large part of them slaughtered.

The ban on consumption is not a consensus in South Korea. Breeders regularly demonstrate to defend their fat. According to them, the dog is no different from the pig or the duck. They work especially to maintain the legend on its properties: thanks to collagen, the dog would be good for the skin, it would allow to better withstand heat and promote sexual endurance. Virtues in which South Koreans believe less and less.


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