NEWS AND COMMENT-SOUTH KOREA: the first lady of South Korea, Kim Keon-hee, has called for an and to dog meat consumption in her country. What about cat meat? Does the first lady suffer from speciesism? Does the First Lady think that it is acceptable to eat cat meat but not dog meat? I will give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she wants to end the eating of dog AND cat meat in our country. If that is a correct interpretation then I am delighted. It has been a long time coming but better late than never. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of what people in the West considered to be a barbaric cultural habit.
Kim Keon-hee with her husband, the current president of South Korea, live with 4 dogs and 3 cats. This encourages me to believe that she is as concerned about eating cats as she is about eating dogs.
Kim Keon-hee was interviewed by the Seoul Shinmun newspaper in which she confessed that she wished her government could achieve real and tangible progress in animal welfare by reducing animal abuse and perhaps beginning the process of eradicating dog and cat meat consumption.
“I believe the universal culture should be shared with developed countries because it can create negative sentiment against Korea”.
This is certainly very true. There is a lot of animosity against South Koreans in the West because they seem to have broken the unwritten agreement that they have between companion animals which is to kill them and eat them. That was not part of the deal when the concept of cat and dog domestication emerged between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. It is a gross breach of an unwritten rule to eat your companion animals! Perhaps that does not need to be stated but perhaps it does seeing as there is still a lot of dog and cat meat consumption in South Korea.
I’m pleased to say that Kim Keon-hee also says that: “Not consuming dog meat is ultimately an expression of respect for man’s best friend and it also means respect for life”.
A suggestion by the First Lady is to close the businesses currently engaged in trading in cat and dog meat and those businesses providing restaurant facilities for people to eat cat and dog meat and compensate them for their loss. This could be a government policy. It would gradually undermine the culture of eating cat and dog meat so that people got out of the habit.
My suggestion would also be that there needs to be an educational program to stop the superstitious belief that eating cat and dog meat is somehow medicinally beneficial. There is no science to support the superstition. A parallel educational program would be essential in my view.
Kim Keon-hee also said that there needs to be stronger animal welfare laws in her country and greater punishment for animal abusers because she confessed that Korea has “the weakest animal protection laws” among developed countries.
And what is surprising about South Korea is that 15 million people have pets. There’s lots of beautiful relationships between companion dogs and cats and their caregivers. How can they accept the eating of cat and dog meat in restaurants when they walk down the main road in the village or city?
She hinted that South Korea does not have a mature society because she also said that “If order is established by strengthening the level of punishment for abusers, I believe we can become a mature society. After all, animal abuse and domestic violence are just different branches from the same stem.”
Source: Korea Times. Thanks. And thanks very much Kim Keon-hee.
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