Animal Welfare Policies of South Korean Political Parties

Animal Welfare Policies of South Korean Political Parties

With the upcoming South Korean general elections on April 15th, 2020, the National Animal Welfare Election Alliance sent animal welfare policies proposals with a total of 36 items categorized into 5 different fields to the seven South Korean political parties: the Democratic Party of Korea, the United Future Party, the Party for People’s Livelihoods, the Justice Party, the Minjung Party, the People’s Party, and the Green Party Korea. All seven parties responded. 

The responses to each item were rated based on the following scoring system:

  • To proceed enthusiastically: 4 points
  • To proceed: 3 points
  • To be discussed: 2 points
  • To not proceed: 1 point

Animal Welfare Policies Analysis

Category 1. Pets

Firstly, in response to the so-called 3 laws regarding dog and cat meat ban (amendments to animal protection, waste management, and animal husbandry laws), the Democratic Party of Korea responded with “To be discussed.” It reasoned that, due to divided public opinion on dog meat consumption, comprehensive living support measures for workers in the industry, and other reflections, it is prudent to consider public discussions.

On the other hand, the United Future Party, the Party for People’s Livelihoods, the Justice Party, the Minjung Party, the People’s Party, and the Green Party Korea all responded with “To proceed.”

The political parties chose “To proceed” in response to a majority of the animal welfare policies proposals in the pets category. The Democratic Party of Korea responded “To be discussed” regarding making the cat registration system mandatory. Prohibiting the commercial sales of puppies was replied with “To not proceed” from the United Future Party, and “To be discussed” from the Democratic Party of Korea.

In total, the Green Party Korea and the Minjung Party each scored 32 out of 32 possible points. The Justice Party scored 30 points, the People’s Party 27 points, the Party for People’s Livelihoods 25 points, the United Future Party 23 points, and the Democratic Party of Korea 19 points.

Category 2. Livestock & Farm Animals

In the Livestock & Farm Animals category, abolition of confinement breeding, humane culling methods, animal welfare and living space expansion of livestock farms, and humane transportation regulations were among the pertinent items. All seven parties stated, “To proceed” for the aforementioned items.

However, the Democratic Party of Korea responded “To be discussed” for live burial prevention measures, advocacy of vegetarian lifestyle, and improvement of animal welfare in the horse industry. The United Future Party expressed “To not proceed” in response to humane slaughter measures and advocacy of vegetarian lifestyle. The Party for People’s Livelihoods responded “To be discussed” and “To not proceed” regarding humane slaughter measures, advocacy of vegetarian lifestyle, and improvement of animal welfare in the horse industry. The People’s Party responded “To be discussed” on the ban of amputation and mutilation procedures, such as docking tails, humane slaughter measures, and improvement of animal welfare in the horse industry.

In total, the Green Party Korea and the Minjung Party each scored 36 out of 36 possible points. The Justice Party, which took a passive stance on humane transportation measures, scored 35 points, the Democratic Party of Korea 25 points, the People’s Party 24 points, the Party for People’s Livelihoods 23 points, and the United Future Party 22 points.

Category 3. Lab Animals 

In the Lab Animals category, all seven parties responded predominantly with a positive “To proceed.” Meanwhile, the People’s Party scored lowest with 16 out of 24 possible points due to its “To be discussed” position on the enforcement of replacement lab test methods and deletion of the exceptional clause of animal dissection by minors. 

The Justice Party, the Minjung Party, and the Green Party Korea all scored 24 points with their “To proceed enthusiastically” responses. The United Future Party scored 21 points with its “To proceed enthusiastically” in response to replacement lab test methods, provision of lab animals only by registered institutions, and deletion of the exceptional clause of animal dissection by minors.

The Democratic Party of Korea responded “To proceed enthusiastically” only for replacement lab test methods, and the Party for People’s Livelihoods responded “To proceed enthusiastically” only to strengthening measures on pain level E animal testing, which resulted in 19 points for each of the two parties.

Category 4. Wild Animals 

In the category of Wild Animals, the Democratic Party of Korea and the Party for People’s Livelihoods scored lowest with 16 out of 28 possible points. In particular, the Party for People’s Livelihoods responded “To not proceed” in regards to abrogating wild animal experiences, festivals that wound or kill animals, and whale meat. In comparison to other parties, the Democratic Party of Korea responded “To be discussed” when it came to welfare of farm bears and prohibiting private sales of wild animals. 

Of the proposal items, abrogating festivals that wound or kill animals and restricting importation and sales of fur products were most unpopular among many of the parties. The People’s Party responded “To be discussed” for those two items, arriving at a total score of 20 points. Similarly, the United Future Party responded “To not proceed” with abrogating festivals that wound or kill animals and restricting importation and sales of fur products, giving them a total score of 18 points.

The Green Party Korea and the Minjung Party, which responded “To proceed enthusiastically” to all of the items, scored 28 out of 28 possible points, and the Justice Party was only 1 point short of scoring perfectly due to its “To proceed” answer to abrogating festivals that wound or kill animals.

Category 5. Comprehensive Fields 

The Democratic Party of Korea and People’s Party that responded “To be discussed” regarding specifying animal rights in the South Korean Constitution both scored 16 out of 24 possible points in this category. Furthermore, the Democratic Party of Korea gave the same response to redefining animals as a lifeform instead of a possession in the civil code and establishment of disaster animal rescue guidelines. 

The Justice Party, the Minjung Party, and the Green Party Korea all responded “To proceed enthusiastically” for all of the items, giving them a full score of 24 out of 24 possible points. The United Future Party and the Party for People’s Livelihoods followed behind them with a score of 20 points each.

Category 6. Overall Review

After adding up the scores, the Green Party Korea and the Minjung Party each scored 144 out of 144 possible points, the Justice Party 140 points, the People’s Party and the United Future Party 105 points each, the Party for People’s Livelihoods 103 points, and the Democratic Party of Korea 98 points.

Analyzing the results of each party’s responses to the animal welfare policies proposals, we can conclude that the Green Party Korea, the Minjung Party, and the Justice Party were the most progressive regarding animal rights in South Korea. In contrast, the Democratic Party of Korea had a rather reserved view on issues that could spark heavy controversy and debate, while it was quite enthusiastic for less controversial topics, such as animal welfare and living space expansion of livestock farms, replacement lab test methods, education against animal abuse, etc.

The United Future Party gave a “To proceed” response to all but 5 of the items, including prohibiting the commercial sales of puppies, humane slaughter measures, and advocacy of vegetarian lifestyle. The Party for People’s Livelihoods’ score in the wild animals category, specifically in the areas of discontinuation of zoos, banning whale meat, and others, was exceptionally low. The People’s Party did not provide a single “To not proceed” answer, but its score was low in the lab animals field.

Category 7. Additional Pledges

The National Animal Welfare Election Alliance reviewed additional pledges made by the parties.

The Democratic Party of Korea presented a system of public announcements for pet medical expenses along with other proposals. However, four items labeled “New project” were merely copied from the 2020-2024 Comprehensive Animal Welfare Plan announced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA). As this plan was independently devised by MAFRA in 2019, along with a task force consisting of animal protection organizations and experts in pertinent industries, it is unjust for the Democratic Party of Korea to present it as an original plan.

The People’s Party and the Party for People’s Livelihoods did not deliver their own pledges. The United Future Party specified miscellaneous proposals related to the welfare of pets and claimed that it would reappraise animal husbandry policies and support the shutdown of dog farms. Lastly, the Justice Party, the Green Party Korea, and the Minjung Party had especially progressive thoughts on improving animal welfare in South Korea. In summary, the Minjung Party voiced its perspectives on shutting down pet shops and rehabilitating zoo animals, the Green Party Korea focused on veganism and regulating factory-style fisheries, and the Justice Party suggested a ban on the farming of marine mammals. 

If Animals Could Vote

Which party would animals vote for? Alas, they do not have the right to vote, but they do have the right to live without pain and suffering. And as more people speak up for the rights of animals, animal welfare policies have become an essential subject for modern political parties to address.

Animal Protection Groups Participating in the National Animal Welfare Election Alliance

Following is a list of 44 organizations, most of them with no official English name. They’ve been translated to closely match the Korean names, which are listed right below.

Goyang City Kitty Thinking Refuge, Cat-Human Songpa Gangnam Council, Gwangjoo Animal Protection Association With, Gimhae Mixed Pup Republic, Najoo Angel House, Gimhae Abandoned Animal Association (The Gongjon), My Love Abandoned Animal Street Adoption Campaign, Daegu Eight Baby Angels, Eagle House Kids, Dolph & Friends, CARE, Animal Rights SNS, Advocates of Animal Rights (Dongjimo), Animal Protection Meeting, Advancement for Animals, Mercy for Animals, Lotte Castle Kitties, Maroo Pups, With Pets, Busan Dog Cat Slaughter Ban Civilian Coalition, Busan Animal Protection Group, Busan Animal Love Street Cat Protection Society, Busan Abandoned Animal Shelter White Dove, Aniband Rescue, Seodaemun-gu Street Cat Movement (SDM Cat), Voice4Animals, Seongnam Cat Mom Activist, Take a Break Dogs Cats, Stormy Dream Co, Siheung Angel Home Animal Shelter, Animal Paradise, Yangsan Animal Protection Dandelion, Angel Dogs Band, Art Action Group SKAVANTGARD, Yongin City Cat Mom Cat Daddy Association, Spread the Love Abandoned Animal Shelter, National Animal Protectors, 15 Million Pet Parent Organization, Cat-ch-Dog (Animal Rights Revolution), Pohang Animal Love, Peace Entertainment, White Dog Shelter, Korea Association for Animal Protection (KAAP), Korean Companion Animal Offline Association

고양시냥이생각쉼터, 고양이집사송파강남협의회, 광주동물보호협회위드, 김해똥강아지공화국, 나주천사의집, 김해유기동물협회 (더공존), 내사랑유기동물거리입양캠페인, 대구여덟아가천사들, 독수리하우스아이들, 돌프와친구들, 동물권단체케어, 동물권SNS, 동물당을지지하는사람들모임 (동지모), 동물보호활동가모임, 동물을위한전진, 동물에게자비를, 롯데캐슬냥이들, 마루멍멍이들, 반려동물과함께하개, 부산개고양이도살금지시민연대, 부산동물보호연대, 부산동물사랑길고양이보호연대, 부산유기동물보호소하얀비둘기, 사단법인고유거, 서대문구길고양이동행본부, 생명체학대방지포럼, 성남캣맘활동가, 쉬어가개냥, 스토미드림 Co, 시흥엔젤홈유기견보호소, 애니멀파라다이스, 양산동물보호민들레, 엔젤독스밴드, 예술행동그룹 SKAVANTGARD (스카방가르드), 용인시캣맘캣대디협의회, 유기동물과함께나누는사랑나눔터, 전국동물지킴이, 1500만반려인연대, 캣치독, 포항동물사랑, 피스엔터테인먼트 (Peace Entertainment), 하얀강아지보호소, 한국동물보호연합, 한국반려동물오프협회 (가나다순)

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