KoreanDogs.org in the BBC Vietnam news
Korean Dogs: ‘Dogs will continue to be brutally killed if the government and public are indifferent’
We were contacted by BBC News Vietnam reporter Mr. Tran Vo, asking to help him with the series of news he is working on regarding the dog meat industry in Korea and Vietnam.
👉 Click HERE for the news article he published today: Korean Dogs: ‘Dogs will continue to be brutally killed if the government and public are indifferent’
Below is the list of questions and our responses to the BBC Vietnam:
1. Do you think South Korea has changed its perception of eating dog meat? If possible, can you please give us some statistics on this shift?
The perception of the Korean people regarding eating dog meat is changing, but not quickly enough. Unfortunately, most South Koreans remain profoundly indifferent to the unimaginable suffering of dogs raised on the meat farms and all those that end up in the dog meat industry. Over the years, this issue of the horrific cruelty inflicted on these dogs has been reported on various TV programs, news outlets, and social media. Still, it has not gone a long way to shifting the attitude of South Koreans.
By simply ignoring the issues associated with the dog meat industry, the government can avoid the costs of policing it, avoid moral debate, and avoid any backlash from farmers and dog eaters. The government is able to do nothing because the majority of Koreans show a profound indifference to both the law and moral principles concerning the dog-meat industry. With an indifferent government and general public, dogs are still being brutally tortured and eaten as if it were legal.
Regarding statistics on people’s perception of eating dog meat, results vary. I found this news about the dog meat issue: https://www.yonhapnewstv.co.kr/news/MYH20211015018500641 On YouTube: https://youtu.be/hoH-Qu_oU6s
In that news report, based on a 2021 survey conducted by the ANIMAL WELFARE AWARENESS, RESEARCH AND EDUCATION (https://bit.ly/3mrXyUt), 8 out of 10 people support a law that would ban dog and cat meat production and sale. You can see the breakdown from the graph below: 48.9% of people strongly support, 29.2% rather support, 12.7% rather not support, and 9.3% strongly do not support such a law.
However, in the same news report, it was stated that “In a recent survey, 72.1% said that dog meat consumption should be left to individual decisions.” There was no disclosure as to who conducted this survey.
Between May 11 – December, 1000 residents of Gyeonggi-do province in Korea were asked the following survey question: “Do you plan to eat dog meat in the future?” As shown below, 84% responded “No”, and 15% responded “Yes”.
2. Do you think there will be a real ban on dog meat in South Korea after President Moon raised the dog meat ban? President Moon is the first sitting president who has raised this possibility, is this significant?
While it is significant that President Moon raised the possibility of banning dog meat consumption, a decision made as a result of decades of campaigning by many animal activists, he should have addressed this matter sooner. How committed President Moon is to ban the consumption of dog meat is questionable. He has had more than four years to address this situation but has waited until his term is coming to an end, on May 10, 2022, before issuing a rather lukewarm statement. In addition, the fact that he has not yet ordered his government to prioritize this matter of the dog meat industry seems to validate that he is not committed to making this happen.
Since President Moon hinted at banning dog meat on September 27, relevant South Korean governments have done nothing to implement that into action.
On October 18, Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) held a press conference in front of these government offices pointing out the indifference of related ministries, which remained silent despite President Moon Jae-In’s order to review the ban on dog meat (https://ekara.org/activity/against/read/15041). KARA stated that even by current laws, the dog meat industry is illegal, and the failure by the Korean government to enforce these current laws make them accomplices to the continuation of the illegal dog meat industry. They demanded that the government take measures to completely end the dog meat industry right away. Below is a summary of KARA’s demands:
• The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs must conduct a full investigation into dog farms, dog auction markets, and dog slaughterhouses across the country and punish illegal acts.
• The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety must strictly enforce the law and punish those engaged in the illegal slaughter, distribution, and sale of dog carcasses.
• The Ministry of Environment must investigate the illegal importation of food waste by dog farms and ban all food waste from being fed to animals.
• The National Assembly must pass amendments to the Animal Protection Act prohibiting dog meat consumption and push for legislation to end dog meat consumption.
• Daegu City Mayor Kwon Young-Jin must immediately close the Chilseong Dog Meat Market.
3. In your opinion, after more than a decade of campaigning to end South Korea’s dog meat trade, what decisive factors that Vietnam can learn from to make a real change (legislation, public education..)? In Vietnam, for years, people still think dogs are like pigs when it comes to slaughter for meat.
The most effective way to ban dog meat consumption is through legislation. To accomplish this, to pressure their government to address the issue of the dog meat trade and take action, activist campaigns both from within and outside the country are crucial.
A boycott campaign is also crucial because the economic impact is a big motivator for change. Vietnam cannot stand to lose revenue from potential tourists who refuse to visit that country due to the dog meat industry. While the exact results of our boycott campaign against South Korea’s conglomerates and tourism cannot be quantified, we believe it impacted South Korea’s export revenue. Changing people’s attitudes can be difficult, so in the case of Vietnam, economic sanctions might be more effective.
4. In one sentence, can you please send a message to end the dog meat trade? (I will gather your message together with other organizations for the video ending).
The dog meat industry is cruel and barbaric, where dogs suffer their whole lives. It is a shameful betrayal of animals who see humans as their guardians and companions and must be stopped. – Giny Woo
This is from a 2017 survey from KARA regarding dog farms in Korea: https://koreandogs.org/kara-press-conference/