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South Korea Bans the Dog Meat Industry

Dog meat trade ban

South Korea’s National Assembly has taken a historic step by voting to ban the dog meat industry, marking a significant shift in the country’s approach to animal welfare and cultural practices. The decision comes after years of debate and shifting public opinion, reflecting a growing awareness and sensitivity towards animal rights.

The Dog Meat Industry

caged dog

The dog meat industry in South Korea, while never officially sanctioned, has been a part of the country’s culinary tradition for many years. Dogs bred for consumption have often been raised in poor conditions, leading to widespread criticism from animal rights activists both within the country and internationally. The practice of consuming dog meat has been decreasing, particularly among the younger generation, who view pets more as family members than as sources of meat.

The Decision

Sad dog
@Richard Probst

The National Assembly’s decision was influenced by several factors. First, there has been a significant change in public attitudes toward dogs, with a growing number of South Koreans keeping dogs as pets. This shift has led to increased empathy and concern for the welfare of dogs, and a corresponding decrease in the acceptance of consuming dog meat.

International Pressure

Dog in a cage

There has been intense international pressure and scrutiny, particularly from Western countries where eating dog meat is considered taboo. South Korea, keen on maintaining its image as a modern and progressive nation, has been responsive to these international perspectives. The upcoming major international events in South Korea have also played a role, as the country seeks to avoid negative publicity.

A Future for Animals

caged dog

The move aligns with a broader trend in South Korea towards improved animal welfare standards. In recent years, the government has introduced several measures aimed at protecting animal rights, including stricter regulations on animal breeding and increased penalties for animal abuse.


Animal welfare

The ban on the dog meat industry is not without its controversies. Proponents of the industry argue that the ban is an infringement on their cultural rights and livelihoods. They claim that the decision to eat dog meat is a personal choice and part of Korean heritage. Meanwhile, animal rights activists argue that the ethical treatment of animals should take precedence over cultural practices, especially those that cause harm and suffering.

The government has indicated that it will provide support to farmers and workers affected by the ban, helping them transition to alternative livelihoods. This approach aims to address the concerns of those who rely on the dog meat industry for their income, while still moving forward with the ban.


The ban on the dog meat industry by South Korea’s National Assembly is a landmark decision that reflects changing attitudes towards animals in Korean society. It balances respect for cultural traditions with a growing emphasis on animal welfare and ethical considerations. This decision is likely to have far-reaching implications, both in South Korea and internationally, as it contributes to the global conversation on animal rights and cultural practices.

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