Every year, a million dogs are brutally slaughtered in S. Korea for meat while the government turns a blind eye.
LCA has formed a sister organization in S. Korea, Animal Liberation Wave (ALW), with one mission in mind–to end the dog meat trade. Rescuing dogs one-at-a-time is not the answer and will not put an end this horrific industry. This can only be accomplished with S. Korean citizens demanding change at the government level. With “boots-on-the-ground” in Korea, LCA and ALW are in a position to affect real change. With a series of strategic events planned, LCA and ALW aim to mobilize S. Koreans in their own country to call for the end of the dog meat trade.
Currently, one out of five S. Koreans (2 million – one-fifth of a ten million population) have dogs as companion animals. Old attitudes are changing; dogs are increasingly being considered as part of the family.
There are three legal loopholes that allow the S. Korean dog meat industry to exist:
1. Animal Protection Act loophole: Dogs are legally categorized as “companion animals” in this act, and it says they “must not be killed in a brutal way.” However, because the slaughter is not outlawed outright in this language, the butchering continues.
2. Wastes Control Act loophole: Most dog farms that dot the S. Korean countryside gather rotten food waste from restaurants and force feed it to the dogs to save money. If using food waste as animal feed is outright banned by this act, most dog farms won’t be able to operate economically.
3. Livestock Industry Act loophole: This outdated act still recognizes dogs as “livestock,” a direct contradiction to the Animal Protection Act, and results in millions of dogs being bred, raised, and killed under horrific conditions for their flesh.
Consequently, dogs are considered as both “companion” and “livestock” by Korean law. The government’s negligence is at the core of the dog meat problem.
Three amendments that would help put an end to the dog meat trade in S. Korea:
1. MP Pyo Chang-won’s amendment to the Animal Protection Act would outlaw the slaughter of dogs and cats for meat if passed.
2. MP Han Jeoung-ae’s amendment to the Wastes Control Act would make it illegal to feed dogs with food waste.
3. MP Lee Sang-don’s amendment to the Livestock Industry Act would unify the legal status of dogs in S. Korea by removing them from the livestock list.
LCA & ALW File Lawsuit: S. Korean Meat Dogs Supplied to Research Facility
December 24, 2019 – LCA and ALW have filed a lawsuit against a Kyungpook National University (KNU) professor after a whistleblower exposed live experiments on dogs obtained from a dog meat market. The lawsuit was filed against the professor for falsifying official documents, obstructing the performance of official duties of KNU’s Animal Testing Ethics Committee, failing to consider alternative methods to reproductive tests, and for animal abuse. A student taking an Obstetric Practice course first exposed breeding tests at KNU’s Veterinary Science Department in August 2019. The class, designed to teach students about reproductive physiology, required students to perform repeated vaginal cell tests on five female dogs and breed them during mating period.
The university—which is located in Daegu, S. Korea—cancelled the course in September following public outcry. Although the university stated the dogs were sourced from ‘Seoul Animal Center,’ LCA and ALW later discovered (with the assistance of MP Kim Hae-young) that ‘Seoul Animal Center’ was used as a cover-up and the dogs were actually sourced from Chilsung Dog Market. A dog named Health—who was continuously used for testing even though she suffered from serious health concerns like ovarian cancer—died in the University’s housing facility where the dogs were kept. S. Korea’s current Animal Protection Act bans ‘killing an animal with animals of the same kind present at the scene,’ so LCA and ALW intend to follow-up this death with legal actions.
ALW’s founder and co-president Jiyen Lee said: “As this KNU case suggests, the S. Korean dog meat trade is not only providing dogs for their meat, but also providing dogs—our companion animals—for testing in laboratories. The only way to protect our four-legged companion animals is for the government to step up and phase out the country’s brutal dog meat trade!”
LCA & ALW Expose Illegal S. Korean Dog Meat Auction House
June 2019 – LCA and ALW—with the assistance of S. Korean JTBC News—exposed an unlicensed auction house selling dogs for consumption in Gimpo, S. Korea. LCA and ALW first began investigating the auction house in the winter of 2018, documenting squalid living conditions for the 500 to 600 dogs that were transported to and housed in the facility each week. During the investigation, around 200 dogs were found crammed into wire cages, many of which were clearly suffering from untreated medical conditions.
August 5, 2019 – LCA and ALW held a demonstration in front of the auction house, which was operating illegally in a ‘no livestock zone’, and found a memo on the building stating the auction house workers were on leave until August 15; however, activists could hear dogs barking inside that were left to fend for themselves in the scorching heat.
September 3, 2019 – The investigation into the auction house and LCA/ALW’s subsequent protest resulted in Gimpo City officials investigating the unlicensed facility. On August 28, 2019, the auction house was closed and all of its cages were demolished.
2019 Bok Nal Protest
On July 11, 2019, LCA, ALW, and actress Kim Basinger held a joint press conference with MP Pyo Chang-won ahead of the 2019 Boknal protest, demanding the Korean government to pass MP Pyo’s proposed amendment to the Animal Protection Act, which would outlaw the slaughter of dogs and cats for meat across the country.
On July 12, LCA and ALW gathered in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, S. Korea to protest Boknal—the hottest days of the Korean summer when the consumption of dog meat soup, known as “Boshingtang” rises to combat the extreme heat. Countless protesters joined LCA and ALW for a silent memorial and held replicas of dead dogs to represent the dogs that were brutally slaughtered for their meat.
In the News:
LCA and ALW’s “Stop the Villain Truck” Campaign
Filled with fake, stuffed dogs to resemble the real trucks used to transport dogs from farms to slaughterhouses — LCA and ALW’s “Stop the Villain Truck” is raising awareness for the barbaric slaughter of dogs in S. Korea’s dog meat trade.
The campaign is also urging S. Korean MPs to review and pass MP Pyo Chang-won’s proposed amendment to the Animal Protection Act to ban the slaughter of dogs and cats for meat during the National Assembly’s 2019 session — which commenced on March 7.
To garner support for MP Pyo’s proposed amendment, the “villain truck” gathered S. Korean citizens’ messages in Hongdae Station demanding its passage. LCA and ALW hand-delivered the messages to the National Assembly’s Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans & Fisheries Committee.
On Nov. 22, 2018, LCA and ALW launched a beam projection onto the National Assembly building to raise awareness for the cruel dog meat industry as S. Korean MPs met to discuss MP Chang-won’s proposed amendment to the Animal Protection Act.
Flower Dog Project
LCA and ALW launched the Flower Dog Project, a mobile art installation of 8 dogs, during the PyeongChang Olympics to bring awareness of the dog meat trade to the Korean public and international tourists.
From September 27 to October 2, 2018, the Flower Dogs were on display in the main lobby of S. Korea’s National Assembly as MPs convened to discuss and vote on three important bills aimed at ending the current legal basis for the dog meat trade in the country.
During the meeting, MPs Han Jeoung-ae, Lee Sang-don, and Pyo Chang-won (along with LCA and ALW) called on other MPs to put a stop to the cruel dog meat trade by voting in favor of their proposed amendments to the Wastes Control Act, the Livestock Act, and the Animal Protect Act — which would ban feeding dogs with food waste, unify the legal status of dogs in S. Korea by removing them from the livestock list, and outlaw the slaughter of dogs for meat, respectively.
The 8 Flower Dogs include: Spring to represent fresh, cool water; Field to give hope that one day caged dogs will run free; White to represent snow to be played in, not to cause death in freezing temperatures; Breeze to represent fresh air instead of the rancid, toxic air at the dog farms; Goldie to represent the Year of the Golden Dog; Iron to break the cages dogs are locked in; Taeguk (name of the Korean national flag) to represent the power of the Korean people supporting ban on dog meat; Flame to give warmth to the dogs suffering in the extreme cold.
LCA and ALW held three demonstrations simultaneously on Bok Nal on July 17, 2018, in Los Angeles, California, Washington D.C., and Seoul, South Korea to protest the S. Korean dog meat trade.
The protests were solemn and respectful with thousands of participants worldwide. In LA, the protest was held at the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, and in DC, the protest was at the Embassy of South Korea. The Seoul protest was held in Gwanghwamun Plaza and included a funeral march to The Blue House (the executive office and official residence of the S. Korean head of state). In Seoul and LA, activists held the bodies of deceased dogs to symbolize the victims of the dog meat trade.
Two important petitions awaiting responses from the S. Korean government. (The goal of 200,000 signatures was reached!)
1. Ban the slaughter of dogs for meat under S. Korea’s Animal Protection Act: Proposed on 6/20/18, by MP Chang-won, this bill will make it fundamentally illegal to slaughter dogs for meat under S. Korea’s Animal Protection Act. Although dogs are not labeled as food under the Sanitary Control of Livestock Products Act, a million are slaughtered for meat every year. The Animal Protection Act has been largely unsuccessful in protecting dogs since it only prohibits and punishes killing animals “brutally” or “under unjustified reasons”. If passed, MP Pyo’s bill, which prohibits ANY killing of animals unless otherwise stated in other relevant legislation such as Sanitary Control of Livestock Products Act (in which dogs are not included), will be a severe blow to the country’s dog meat trade.
https://www1.president.go.kr/petitions/281200 PETITION CLOSED 7/24/18 — 212,424 signatures
2. Remove dogs from S. Korea’s Livestock Industry Act: Proposed on 5/15/18, by MP Sang-don, this bill seeks to remove dogs from the livestock list. Currently, dogs in S. Korea are considered companion animals, yet they are also defined as livestock according to the Livestock Industry Act. MP Lee’s important bill would eliminate the only present legal basis of dog farms and would unite the legal status of dogs as companion animals. While the bill would not outlaw raising dogs on dog farms, it is a significant step in the right direction, in that it would resolve the contradictory status of dogs in S. Korea as both companion animals (under the Animal Protection Act) and livestock (under the Livestock Industry Act).
https://www1.president.go.kr/petitions/272632 PETITION CLOSED 7/17/2018 — 214,634 SIGNATURES
Conflicting Legal Status: Are dogs companion animals or food?
The Sanitary Control of Livestock Products Act does not govern dogs as food – Article 2 (Definitions) does not include dogs under “livestock” as animals intended for consumption. Yet, the Livestock Industry Act is still recognizing dogs as “livestock” Article 2 Enforcement Rule (Kinds of Livestock): The term “animals prescribed by the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ordinance” in Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Act shall mean any of the following: 1. mules, donkeys, rabbits, and dogs.
It is through this legal loophole of recognizing dogs as livestock, that dog meat is being produced and distributed.
Industrialized: One and only, S. Korea's dog meat farms
Dogs, not governed by the Sanitary Control of Livestock Products Act as food, are slaughtered anywhere, hidden from public view. The slaughter process is vicious. Dogs are electrocuted, hung and beaten with metal rods, and sometimes even boiled alive, all in front of the eyes of the other caged dogs. Since there is no law governing how dogs are slaughtered for food, none of the above acts are considered criminal and cannot be prosecuted by law.
Abusive: Dog farms are a living hell
Public Safety: Environmental and health risks
Disposal of feces and dead animals on dog farms are not handled and treated properly, which poses a threat to public safety and health. Rotting feces most often flow to nearby rivers or underground.
New virus attack
More than 70% of recent major infectious diseases are animal-induced. H3N2 Dog Influenza, which is transmitted easily through the air and direct contact, was first found and identified on a dog farm. Dogs on farms that haven’t been vaccinated are likely to become carriers for new types of viruses after eating food waste or carcasses of dead animals. *Oh, Jinsik (2008). Influenza and Dog. The Journal of Korean Veterinary Medical Association. 44(9) 835-841 Transmission of Avian Influenza Virus to Dogs
Heavy usage of antibiotics
Consuming livestock products high in antibiotics causes humans to become resistant to it, inhibiting effective treatment of diseases when needed. According to the World Health Organization, 1 out of 6 people die because of antibiotic resistance. Dog meat, which is not governed by the Sanitary Control of Livestock Products Act, has been discovered to contain antibiotics and germs, considerably higher than what is normally allowed.
January 25, 2017 – LCA Founder and President, Chris DeRose, met with Member of Parliament Pyo Chang-won at the National Assembly in Seoul, S. Korea, to lend support to strengthening animal protection laws and putting an end to dog meat. It is a positive sign that S. Korea has politicians like M.P. Pyo speaking up for the animals. LCA, Soi Dog, and Save Korean Dogs presented Mr. Pyo with over 450,000 petition signatures in support of banning the dog meat trade in S. Korea.
S. Korea is the only country in the world with large-scale commercial dog meat farms that breed and raise dogs solely for human consumption. Koreans that eat dog meat claim the meat tastes better the more a dog suffers. Therefore, many dogs are sadistically made to experience extreme fear and suffering prior to death. They are commonly beaten, hanged, electrocuted and burned or boiled alive.
Particularly appalling is the three-week-long Bok Nal superstitious ritual, which occurs annually in July and August on what are thought to be the hottest days of the year. Bok Nal participants consume dog meat soup (boshintang) in the belief that this dish has a cooling effect.
Dog meat is far more common among the older generations in Korea; younger generations do not generally participate in eating dog meat, and many are speaking out against it. In spite of worldwide public outcry, however, the Korean government has traditionally turned a blind eye to this practice.
CLICK HERE to read an interview with Chris DeRose published in The Korea Daily discussing Korea’s dog meat trade.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) Sign the petition above asking S. Korea’s government to take a stand against dog meat.
2) Educate others about S. Korea’s dog meat trade and ask them to take action.
3) Make a donation today to help LCA continue the fight against dog meat.
LCA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, incorporated in the State of California in 1985, EIN #95-4013155.