South Korea seeks to reduce dog meat consumption after global criticism

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South Korea’s ruling and main opposition party lawmakers are planning to introduce a special act to ban the consumption of dog meat after facing global calls to halt consumption of the animals.

The main opposition Democratic Party, which holds a majority in parliament, proposed Thursday to legislate the act during the last regular session of parliament, which end on December 9.

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Lawmakers from President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative People Power Party are also on board, bringing enough votes to pass a measure despite the opposition of farmers who raise dogs for consumption.

“About 10 million South Korean households raises pets. Now is the time to put an end to dog eating,” Park Dae-chul, head of ruling party’s policy committee, said.

South Korea is one of several nations where dog meat is consumed and has faced international criticism for parts of the trade that include killing the animals through bludgeoning, hanging and electrocution.

While pet ownership has grown and the public has turned away from dog meat — with consumption dropping sharply over the past several years — attempts to introduce bans have previously failed due to strong opposition from dog farmers and restaurant owners.

South Korean first lady Kim Keon Hee has pushed to end the practice, making a surprise appearance last month at activists’ news conference and vowing to work with them until the dog meat industry is eradicated, the Korea Herald reported.

The ruling conservative bloc and the main progressive opposition are gearing up for parliamentary elections next April, which could lead to subsidies being provided for people who have long made their living from dog farming operations.

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