South Korea Takes Historic Step in Banning Dog Meat Trade

A new law banning breeding, slaughtering, and selling dogs for meat will take effect in South Korea by 2027. The law has received near-unanimous approval from the country’s national assembly. This significant milestone concludes the longstanding debate about dog meat consumption in South Korea. The law also reflects the country’s changing attitudes toward the practice, which much of the world has deemed morally unacceptable.

A survey by a local animal rights group last year revealed that 93.4% of respondents did not want to eat dog meat. Despite this overwhelming opposition, 1,600 restaurants across the country still serve dog meat. Its unregulated status has led to dog meat’s association with unsanitary and inhumane breeding and slaughter practices, which has prompted younger generations to avoid it. Additionally, with one in four South Koreans having a companion animal nowadays, dogs are more likely to be viewed as family members than food.

Our world is enriched by the presence of various animals—our loyal companions and all the rest who share the planet. But significant differences exist in how we view and treat animals across species. Dogs and farmed animals are similar in many of their emotional and mental abilities. Both dogs and farmed animals form deep emotional bonds, expressing joy, sadness, fear, and loyalty. Farmed animals also possess impressive mental abilities, like remembering, learning, and social recognition. Pigs, for example, are highly intelligent, solving complex problems and demonstrating remarkable memory skills. These similarities between dogs and farmed animals challenge the idea of any meaningful differences between them. Understanding that all animals suffer and ethical concerns should apply to all of them is crucial. 

While laws and societal norms protect dogs, farmed animals often endure painful practices and inhumane conditions, such as cramped, barren spaces. All animals, regardless of their species, deserve to live free from cruelty and be treated with kindness. By recognizing the value of all living beings and advocating for change, we can strive toward a more compassionate and equitable world.

Choosing not to eat animal products is the most effective way to prevent animal suffering. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these documentaries that provide a glimpse into the harsh reality of animal agriculture. And if you’re considering a plant-based lifestyle, our How to Eat Veg guide is an excellent resource to get you started.