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Today is the International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs & Cats!

August 16, 2011

International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats

Today, In Defense of Animals, in partnership with KARA and CARE, are sponsoring an international day of action for South Korean dogs and cats. You might recall that we participated with KARA and CARE at an anti-fur protest in Seoul against Fendi this summer.

Pet ownership in South Korea has boomed along with its economy and most people frown on the eating of dogs and cats. Still, legally the practice exists in a grey area, so restaurants still offer dog meat stew in the summers, and the meat market still exists in Seoul. The show Animal Farm, which we blogged about before, has run several episodes on the horror behind the dog meat industry. One series of episodes tracked the story of a dog that escaped from one of the meat farms, where he had lived jammed in a tiny cage, seeing his fellow dogs beaten to death in front of his eyes. He was fed dog meat scraps while in captivity and cannibalized neighborhood dogs after he escaped. He was captured, and the show followed up on the attempts to rehabilitate him, as he was absolutely terrified of all humans.

Another series of recent segments showed another dog that was rescued when someone saw a man beating her to death. The rescuers found her with an eye knocked out of her head and screaming in pain. It was so horrible to hear and the woman who rescued her was weeping at the sound. They did manage to save her life, and the segment launched a furious search for the man responsible as well as the quick passing of a new law that allowed for a fine of $10,000 and one year of prison time for animal cruelty. A suspect was eventually caught, but someone posting online as his daughter complained of the witch hunt and said that he had just been killing one of the number of dogs they kept for slaughter to sell to support themselves when he became spooked that someone was watching him and left the dog unkilled. She claimed that he was doing nothing illegal and that if he had not been interrupted, would have finished killing the dog, so that it was not torture.

This demonstrates the greyness of the current law in Korea.

Defenders of the industry cite tradition, and culture, rightly pointing out that most people do not have a problem with the eating of pigs, which are known to be as intelligent and personable as dogs. However, one tradition behind eating dogs is the idea that they can be used as traditional medicine to increase virility, particularly if they suffer when they die, so they are often beaten to death! It is true that the meat industry in general is full of cruelty, and the animals “living” in these industries experience horrible lives and cruel deaths; however, citing one evil as a justification for another is not a good argument.

Another defense is that a particular breed of dogs is raised for meat; however, it is clear, and could be seen in the Animal Farm episode, that dogs of many breeds had been captured and were being used for meat. Ultimately, there can be no defense for cruelty in any form, and it is clear that the dogs and cats in South Korea used for meat suffer during life and death.

Won’t you please join us, IDA, CARE, and KARA in petitioning the South Korean government to correct the animal treatment law and officially outlaw the use of dogs and cats for food?

You can sign the petition here, and you can read more about the International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats here.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2012 1:01 pm

    Would you have no problem if the dogs were raised humanely?

  2. Bill permalink*
    January 17, 2012 3:08 pm

    Hi, Tasting Korea. Thanks for the question. Whether animals are raised humanely certainly is a big concern, but the slaughter techniques are also a very big concern. And ultimately, we feel that the killing of any animal to eat, whether cow, chicken, pig, fish, dog, or cat is unnecessary.

    We feel that eating meat is harmful to humans’ health, is bad for the environment, and is ineffective in addressing world hunger. Furthermore, even if the law states that animals must be raised humanely, which they don’t, governments often do not regulate these laws.

    We understand that some people might consider our point of view extreme; however, many things in the past that were once common practice are now considered immoral. At one time, the idea of racial equality, abolishing slavery, girls attending school, giving women the right to vote, or limiting child labor were considered extreme. However, these ideas have become mainstream over time human history.

    So, what we consider “extreme” is very relative. It is our belief and hope that at some point in the future, the killing of animals for food will likewise become abnormal to the mainstream view, regardless of the kind of animal.

    Thanks again for the question and let us know if you have any others!

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