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Eating dog meat... South Korea's unsolved problem
Updated: 2021-10-12 10:14:12 KST
This is Daegu Chilsung dog meat market, the only dog meat market left in the country.

"For farming cultures, like the Korean Peninsula, southern parts of China, and some Southeast Asian regions, people considered dogs to be one of the few ways to consume animal protein."

"I was born in the countryside, and back then, if it was somebody's 60th birthday, people would boil dog meat and have a feast."

But the waning popularity of dog meat has seen most of the country's dog meat restaurants and markets close.
According to a survey last year, almost 84 percent of the respondents said that they have never eaten dog meat, and never intend to.
The growing distaste for dog meat is likely to do with the increase in pets and the change in how South Koreans view animals.
Even South Korean President Moon Jae-in recently suggested a ban on dog meat.

"President Moon Jae-in has said that maybe it was time to review banning dog meat."

The merchants seemed to be on edge fearful that their livelihoods could be taken away at a moment's notice.

"How are we going to make a living when dog meat is just banned. I've been doing this for decades. I can't just suddenly change and do something new at my age."

"You know, because the younger generation doesn't eat dog meat, the culture is going to go away naturally when the elderly pass away, so there's no need for all this fuss right now."

But animal activists say that this issue cannot wait until the culture dies out.
Activists estimate more than one million dogs are killed this way every year.

"Because there's no regulations, the dogs are being slaughtered in very brutal ways and in unsanitary environments.

A precedent has already been set by Taiwan, which banned the consumption of dog meat in 2017 under the Animal Protection Act.

"In Taiwan, you can't really say that there's an industry,… but in Korea you have restaurant, you have farms. So, that is difference. It's become an industry already."

"Legislators have been dragging their feet on this tricky issue, careful not to take sides.
But with the current South Korean president suggesting the ban of dog meat, it seems like the time to stamp out a clear decision is nearing.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News"
Reporter : winning@arirang.com