On September 12th, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the ‘Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act 2017.’ This Act will not only ban dog and cat slaughter and consumption, but also the import and export, circulation, delivery, ownership, sale, and donation of dog and cat meat. Under the new act, there will be a fine of US$5000 for the production of dog or cat meat.
Currently, all states except California, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, and Virginia do not have a law prohibiting dogs and cat meat. Representative Alcee Hastings, the man who introduced the Act, remarked that “dogs are our loving pets and should not be sold for meat consumption” and emphasized the importance of passing the Act to the Upper House.
The passing of the Act came soon after a judge in a court in Bucheon, South Korea ruled that dog slaughter for meat was illegal. Taiwan has recently banned dog slaughter for meat, Indonesia promised to ban dog and cat consumption in August, and Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, will ban dog meat from 2021.
It is not an exaggeration to state that all Asian countries, except Korea and China, are moving towards prohibiting dog and cat meat consumption. The US prohibition against and condemnation of dog meat consumption has only strengthened this movement.
The Korean government is still turning a blind eye to the dog meat industry. It is one of the few developed countries to allow this cruel industry that also threatens public health and safety. It is also the only country to have dog farms. The Korean government must not ignore this problem anymore. Congressman Pyo’s proposed amendment to ban dog and cat slaughter is still in its initial stages, but as a country with more than 1 million companion animals, this amendment must pass sooner rather than later.
Like the Vietnamese government, the Korean government should be conscious of domestic and international public opinion regarding its apparent failure to act on the dog and cat meat industry.
We urge the Korean government to face the problem head-on and pass laws banning and outlawing dog and cat slaughter and consumption.