South Korean Constitutional Amendments to Include Animal Rights

On March 20th, the Blue House Secretary for Civil Affairs, Cho Kuk, announced a detailed briefing of the constitutional amendment bill in which President Jae-in Moon expands basic rights and strengthens the power of the people. This is the first amendment since the 9th constitutional amendment that was introduced after the June Democracy Uprising in June 1987. It reflects the public’s hope for positive change in the Republic of Korea following the protests in 2016 and 2017.

The amendment bill includes a clause that gives provision to establish a policy for the protection of animal rights.

After the presidential election last year, CARE and other animal rights organizations demanded that animal rights be included in the constitution. Proposed were policies such as a ban on the dog meat trade to be the first amendment clause under animal protection section. Countless citizens had signed a petition supporting these changes.

CARE is pleased to welcome this amendment. It is a great initial step for President Moon government’s response to our request to expand animal protection, and in his campaign promise to improve the lives of both humans and animals in South Korea. However, we will monitor the government’s efforts to implement these policies to ensure that this declaration is not just empty words.

President Moon Jae-in is delivering a message; both humans and animals have rights to freedom from abuse and unnecessary suffering.

While we can can take a small breather to congratulate ourselves and all the other animal rights organizations and activists, we still have plenty of other issues to deal with; the revision of animal protection laws, the transfer of animal welfare responsibilities to the appropriate government ministry, the ban on the dog meat trade, and the importing of fur, among others.

We look forward to the Moon administration’s next steps to make good their campaign promises to make the lives of animals in Korea better.

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