South Korea has officially banned killing dogs in Seongnam, home to the largest dog meat market in the country.
All dog meat butcher shops and slaughter facilities in the city will begin shutting down beginning next week, following an agreement reached between the local officials of Seongnam and the vendors’ association at Moran market. The agreement stated that every cage in the facilities will be completely moved out by early May, according to the Korea Herald. At least 22 dog meat vendors in the area will be provided with financial assistance to help them pursue other means of livelihood.
In an interview with local press, Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-Myung stated that the initiative is aimed to promote animal welfare and help change the image of the city and the country. Quoting Gandhi, Lee said, “Seongnam City will take the initiative to transform South Korea’s image since ‘the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.'”
The Korean Animal Welfare Association welcomed the move but admitted it still has reservations on whether it will be fully implemented.
“We will have to constantly monitor dog meat shops in the market to see if they really stop slaughtering dogs, and the city government will also need to keep pushing the idea to ultimately ban the sales of dog meat here,” association official Jang In-young was quoted as saying.
If implemented properly, the move could make a considerable impact in dog trade as Moran Market currently supplies one-third of the country’s dog meat consumption.
Despite some locals view of dog meat consumption as part of Korean culinary tradition, calls for action against the practice have been voiced out by citizens and animal welfare groups in recent years. Pet ownership has increased in the past couple of decades while consumption has proportionately declined.