South Korea has begun to dismantle the country’s largest dog meat slaughterhouse, located in the Taepyeong-dong complex in the city of Seongman, a city of some 950,000 inhabitants located southeast of Seoul. The property will be empty and clean in a few days and will become a public park, as reported by the BBC. The complex had been criticized again and again by activists in defense of animal rights for the massive sacrifice of dogs for meat.
“This is a historic moment,” the animal rights association KARA has written in a statement, adding: “It will open the door to more closures of dog meat slaughterhouses across the country, accelerating the decline of the beef industry. dog in general.”
The Taepyeong-dong complex, a source of dog meat for restaurants across the country housed at least six slaughterhouses with hundreds of animals in it. The organization Humane Society International (HSI) has described as “horrible” the conditions of the dogs inside the center, with, for example, electrocution equipment used for their death.
The pressure of the animal associations also got two years ago that South Korea ended with the sale of dogs in the Moran market, which was one of the most emblematic of the country, also located in Seongnam. Then the local authorities reached an agreement with the sellers to reorient their business and put an end to the main nerve center of the peninsula of exhibition and sale of meat of dogs.
The agreement between the administration and the merchants consisted, grosso modo, in public financial support and time for the stores to be reformed with the sale of other types of products. These businesses had live dog cages exposed to the public. Once the client chose one, he was sacrificed in the back room.
As in other Asian nations, many South Koreans consider dog meat part of the country’s culinary tradition. Of course, its consumption has fallen drastically in recent decades as the animal has become the mascot par excellence. For example, the number of businesses in Moran specialized in this business had gone from 54 in 2001 to 22 at the time of closing. In this market, about 80,000 dogs were sold annually, which is equivalent to approximately one-third of the total meat of this animal that is consumed in the country.
The dog meat sector, in addition to being increasingly marginalized socially, works in a legal limbo. South Korea does not have a specific law that prohibits the sale and consumption of dog meat, but it does not regulate it either: regulations on the slaughter and distribution of livestock do not include dogs – which is not considered as food -, It is the only country that has commercial dog farms to meet the demand for meat.
With the decline in the consumption of dog and cat meat and the acceptance of these animals as pets in many Asian countries, the authorities of many nations are moving in the same direction as South Korea. In Hong Kong, the slaughter of these animals is prohibited, but not their consumption.
Taiwan is the only territory in which the consumption of dog and cat meat is banned following the approval last year of the Animal Protection Act. Mainland China, however, remains the great battlefield of animal organizations: even though fewer and fewer people eat dog or cat meat, festivals such as Yulin’s, isolated but very controversial and with great repercussion outside and within its borders, they prevent the image of the country as protector of animals from improving.
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