NEWS AND OPINION: It appears to me that money trumps morality for the cruel South Korean dog farmers but it seems that they don’t see their dog meat farms as cruel places. You may remember that the South Korean president, with his wife’s encouragement, has decided to ban dog meat in his country with it coming into effect in 2027. There will be a gradual phase-out of the businesses and there will be compensation provided by the government.
But despite what appears to be a reasonable and lengthy process, the farmers are up in arms and there are lots of them. The Korean Association of Edible Dogs claims that there are 3,500 dog meat farms in South Korea raising 1.5 million dogs annually and there are 3,000 restaurants where they sell dog meat. They claim that this is twice the official number.
South Korea’s dog farmers are devastated. They have nothing to fall back on. But the point is that it is going to be a four-year phase-out so that have time to find alternative employment.
But they are so disappointed in the government that they have threatened to release 2 million dogs around government buildings in the capital Seoul. That’s a rather impressive threat but animal advocates will hope that the government does not back down.
It is a cruel business
You don’t have to go far to discover that a high percentage of these millions of dogs are diseased and suffer from malnutrition due to extreme neglect. And the methods they used to kill the dogs are very cruel with electrocution being the most common.
The Humane Society International can add some more information about the cruelty of these businesses. For example, they live outdoors in small cages with no protection from the hot summers or brutally cold winters.
Superstition leads elderly to believe in medicinal benefits
And to add insult to injury, one reason why usually senior South Koreans eat dog meat is because they think it has medicinal benefis but there is no science to back it up. They believe eating dog meat invigorates the blood and reduces lethargy. For them it is some kind of tonic and it sold in traditional medicine shops.
It’s particularly popular in the summer months especially during a period called Bok Nal which is the three hottest days between July and August when 70-80% of dog meat is consumed.
HSI has worked hard on this
Humane Society International has worked with South Korea since 2015 with the objective of closing down the farms. They’ve rescued more than 2,500 dogs who’ve been rehomed in The Netherlands, Great Britain, Canada and United States.
Businesses are closing anyway
The Korea Times stated that, “Fewer people in Seoul are eating dog, as nearly 40 percent of the restaurants selling dog meat have closed over the last 10 years”, which supports what I just said namely that the dog farms will need to start closing anyway. The ban speeds things up.
An important point to make is that only 8% of South Koreans eat dog meat despite the large number of restaurants which is a huge drop from 27% in 2015. The population, in any case, is going off dog meat and therefore it won’t be a big loss.
It might be reasonable to argue that these dog meat farmers will go out of business anyway over the next 5-10 years. It’s hard to know why they are complaining so much particularly when they conveniently ignore the cruelty of their businesses.
My conclusion is that the dog farmers should face up to the reality of what they’re doing in terms of cruelty and in terms of a business which is no longer in favour and accept the inevitable.
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