International animal protection organization debates on dog meat at the Busan Gupo Market
This is a translation of Yonhap News article on April 17, 2014: International animal protection organization debates on dog meat at the Busan Gupo Market. 부산 구포시장서 국제동물보호단체 ‘개고기 논쟁’ Click for news in Korean!
International animal protection organization debates on dog meat at the Busan Gupo Market.
“Korea’s traditional food culture” vs ” Dog meat consumption issue is an international issue”
(Busan = Yonhap News) Jeong-Ho Cho reports. “Please respect the differences in food culture.” (Gupo Market dog trader)
“The culture of dog meat consumption must change.” (International animal protection organization)
On the 17th, 10:00 a.m., the issue of the culture of dog meat consumption was fiercely debated between the officers of the Livestock Traders Association and the representative from international animal protection organization at the Gupo Market Merchant Association office.
David Neale, an animal welfare director of Animals Asia, stated “There are cultural differences between the East and the West. However, the public awareness about animal protection is changing. As more and more people oppose the culture of dog meat consumption, strong pressure will be imposed on the Gupo Livestock Market.”
Director Neale explained, “Basically, we oppose the stress of all animals that includes dogs from breeding facilities. The campaign to raise awareness about the plight of these animals and to change public perception is taking place around the world.”
Yong-soon Park, the president of the Gupo Livestock Market Traders’ Association refuted this by saying ”Dogs have been used as an important health food since our ancestors. Forcing your view on our ethnic traditional food culture is an interference in our domestic affairs.”
President Park demanded, “This is a matter of survival for the traders who have been operating livestock shops for over 20-40 years. We ask animal protection organizations to provide us with other alternatives.“
Hun-Young Park, the president of the Gupo Market Merchant Association, vented his frustration by saying “Currently there are no laws prohibiting the slaughter of dogs and the only regulation by the City and the District has been based on sanitation laws. When the congress enacts the law prohibiting dog meat consumption, we will close down the shops.”
In a statement they released today, Gupo Market livestock traders argued that “there are 400,000 people working in our nation’s meat dog breeding farms, dog meat wholesale distribution, dog butcher shops, dog meat restaurants, etc. Our culture of health food might be unfamiliar to others but it is not a matter that a foreign organization should interfere with.”
Director Neale stated “The culture of dog meat consumption will become an international issue and there will be considerable pressure on Korea. The purpose of our visit is to resolve this issue through dialogue and currently we are in discussion about the alternatives.”
In the afternoon, Director Neale visited the organizing committee of the Busan International Film Festival and the Busan Metropolitan City government urging the closure of the Gupo Dog Meat Market.
For the past five years, Humane Society International, Animals Asia, In Defense of Animals, and Change for Animals Foundation have been campaigning against Korea’s culture of dog meat consumption and they even formed a group called “Gupo Project” in order to resolve the illegal dog slaughter problem.
Beginning with Director Neale, representatives from the remaining organizations are scheduled to visit the Gupo Dog Meat Market one by one.