Our international conference for banning dog meat consumption, titled ‘Dog Meat Free Korea 2017,’ was held in the National Assembly Library, Seoul on November 24th. The conference was the first of its kind discussing legislation on banning dog meat, and over two hundred people including a dozen speakers from various animal rights groups from the inside and outside Korea attended.
The main speakers of the Conference were So Youn Park, the president of CARE, Gen Lin, representing Hong Kong-based World Dog Alliance (WDA), Suki Deng from Animals Asia, a Chinese animal protection organization, and Chen Yu Min from Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST), an animal protection group that has taken the lead in banning dog meat in Taiwan.
Wang Yu Min, a legislator of the Kuomintang in Taiwan, shared how she introduced and enacted legislation which prohibits the sale and distribution of animal carcasses or related products.She recommended a gradual phased approach to the introduction of similar legislation in South Korea.
Chen Yu Min from EAST stated that another factor in the successful passing of the law was the consistent effort reporting and improving the awareness of the problems of dog meat, despite the dog eating population in Taiwan.
Legislator Chang Won Pyo of the Democratic Party who gave a congratulatory speech stated that the current situation seems very encouraging since many of his colleagues agree with the introduction of legislation banning dog meat consumption. Jeong Mi Lee, leader of the Justice Party, and Jeong Ae Han of the Democratic Party also expressed their support for the introduction of such laws.
So Youn Park, president of CARE, and Kyung Eun Kim, CARE’s advisory lawyer, pointed out current issues and areas for improvement in current laws on dog consumption, and at the same time reported on how CARE uses the legislation to bring suits against lawbreakers. In particular, So Youn Park said since Article 8 of the Animal Protection Act specifically prohibits ‘killing without justifiable reason’, slaughtering dogs is already illegal regardless of any new legislation. She also added that exposing and reporting those crimes is one of CARE’s key strategies.
In the middle of one session, members of the Dog Meat Traders Association broke into the hall and protested against the conference, claiming that dogs bred for consumption and pet dogs are different.
So Youn Park said that the united actions of animal rights organizations in Asia will be instrumental in passing a law banning dog meat. Furthermore, according to the Animal Protection Law, due to be revised on March 22nd 2018, it will be illegal to physically harm animals, thus every activist in CARE will consequently focus on exposing and reporting the trucks transporting dogs to slaughter.