An association of dog meat farmers in South Korea is vehemently protesting against a proposed bill to ban dog meat consumption, arguing that it infringes on basic rights and jeopardizes their livelihoods.
Fighting a bill: On Dec. 12, members of the Korean Dog Meat Association held a protest rally in front of the National Assembly as a subcommittee of the parliamentary committee on agriculture and food prepared to discuss a special bill aimed at prohibiting the raising, butchering, distribution and selling of dogs for meat, reported Yonhap News.
The bill, which includes a three-year grace period post-passage and potential enforcement in 2027, is backed by the ruling People Power Party.
The numbers: Based on government figures, the local meat farm industry involves around 1,150 dog farms, 34 butchering businesses, 219 distributors and approximately 1,600 restaurants. However, the Korean Association of Edible Dogs disputes official figures, asserting that 3,500 farms and 3,000 restaurants will be affected during the transition.
What they are saying: According to the protesters, the bill puts the livelihoods of those in the industry at risk.
“If I have to close down, with the financial condition I’m in, there really is no answer to what I can do,” Lee Kyeong-sig, a protester and long-time dog farmer raising up to 1,100 dogs, was quoted saying.
In a press conference, the association contended that legislating against dog meat consumption without public input infringes on people’s basic rights, specifically the right to choose their food.
They further accused the government of inadequately supporting the industry’s transition to alternative commerce, demanding compensation of 2 million won ($1,517) per dog over five years and a minimum 10-year grace period.
Less dog meat consumption: A 2022 Gallup Korea poll indicated that almost two-thirds of respondents opposed dog meat consumption. It also showed a drop in those who reported consuming dog meat, from 27% in 2015 to just 8% in 2022. The significant decline, however, has yet to result in the success of any attempt to ban dog meat consumption in recent years.