SEOUL, South Korea: South Korea is taking a decisive step to end the practice of eating dog meat, a longstanding tradition, as the nation recognizes the importance of animal rights.
The consumption of dog meat has faced criticism both domestically and internationally for its perceived cruelty. Notably, the younger generation in South Korea has increasingly opposed this traditional custom.
"It is time to put an end to social conflicts and controversies around dog meat consumption through the enactment of a special act to end it," Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the ruling People Power Party, said at a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists.
Yu stated that a bill would be introduced later this year with bipartisan support, signaling a smooth passage through parliament. Agriculture Minister Chung Hwang-keun pledged swift implementation of the ban and offered maximum support to those in the dog meat industry who wish to transition to other livelihoods.
First Lady Kim Keon Hee and President Yoon Suk Yeol have been vocal critics of dog meat consumption and have adopted stray dogs, further highlighting the shift in public sentiment against the practice.
While previous anti-dog meat bills faced opposition from industry stakeholders and concerns about their livelihoods, the proposed ban includes a three-year grace period and financial support to aid businesses in transitioning out of the dog meat trade.
Animal rights groups welcomed the prospect of a ban. "A dream come true for all of us who have campaigned so hard to end this cruelty," Humane Society International said in a statement.