A comprehensive new investigation by LCA & ALW into South Korea’s dog meat trade exposed illegal cruelty to both companion dogs and dogs bred for meat.
Help stop the dog meat trade: Urge the South Korean Government to adopt the swift passage of legislation to ban dog slaughter.
LCA/ALW 8-Month Undercover Dog Meat Investigation
Leads to Raid on Illegal Slaughterhouses
and Dogs Rescued from Dog Meat Trade
In the early morning hours of July 9, 2021, Last Chance for Animals (LCA) and Animal Liberation Wave (ALW), working with activists, journalists from Korean Media outlets , police, and Yeoju City’s Animal Protection officers, raided two illegal dog slaughterhouses in Yeoju City, about an hour outside of Seoul. The slaughterhouses had been documented by LCA/ALW as part of an extensive, eight-month undercover investigation into facilities supplying the Moran Market (a.k.a the mecca of dog meat).
Upon entry inside one of the slaughterhouses, one dog had already been killed and more than ten dogs crammed inside transport crates waiting to be slaughtered. Police arrested three slaughterhouse employees.
At the slaughterhouse, Animal Protection Officers (APO) discovered 60 dogs onsite, and removed 15 dogs to a nearby animal shelter that “looked like they were being abused at that very moment”. Despite protests by LCA/ALW, 45 dogs were ordered to be left behind by APO. LCA/ALW discovered they were later secretly moved by other slaughterers to another slaughterhouse.
As the raid was taking place, 15 activists staged a peaceful protest outside to mourn the dogs who have been killed in the dog meat trade and demand an end to dog slaughter nationwide.
REMOVAL AND RESCUE OF DOGS
In total, 15 dogs were removed from the slaughterhouse by APO’s and taken to a local city animal shelter. Unfortunately, one dog, a large Dosa, was not afforded protection, and despite protests from LCA/ALW, was returned to the slaughterers. Another two dogs, in very bad health, died before arriving at the shelter.
On July 22, 2021, LCA/ALW rescued the surviving 12 dogs and transported them to a veterinary hospital for medical examinations. Four dogs were diagnosed with canine distemper, a serious virus with a low survival rate. Another three dogs, in bad health, died or had to be euthanized, despite attempts to give them the best care possible. Sadly, due to the filthy, factory-farm type conditions dogs are kept in by the dog meat industry, diseases run rampant. Dogs are denied proper veterinary care, just like other animals raised in factory-farm conditions.
The remaining 9 dogs named by LCA/ALW, Waterboy, Rown, Blossom, Vandal, Lorian, Naru, Chunsam, Star and Ally – are recovering in the veterinary hospital. Waterboy and Rown are being treated for distemper, while the rest of the seven dogs have been vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and microchipped.
All 9 dogs need to complete a mandatory quarantine period, until the end of August before they will be taken to a no-kill shelter where they will be assessed for adoption
CURRENT RESULTS OF THE UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION AND RAID
1. LCA/ALW File Lawsuits Against 2 Dog Slaughterhouses and 1 Dog Auction House
LCA/ALW filed 3 lawsuits for violations of the Animal Protection Act with the Yeoju Police against the owner and related persons of 3 operations; 2 slaughterhouses and 1 auction house.
-leading to death in a brutal way (electrocution)
-killing animals in front of other animals of same species
-causing injury to animals by deliberately dropping their cages when transporting
-inflicting physical pain or injury upon an animal for any other purpose without any justifiable ground such as a need for veterinary treatment
2. LCA/ALW Filed an Official Complaint with Yeoju City About 45 Dogs Left at Slaughterhouse
LCA/ALW filed an official complaint with Yeoju City Officials, demanding to know why 45 dogs were left behind at the slaughterhouse and demanding the illegal slaughterhouses be demolished. One slaughterhouse is operating on land registered as a “factory” and the other is located on land zoned for “agricultural purposes” and not registered.LCA/ALW Prepare a Report to Lobby for an End to the Dog Meat Trade
ALW/LCA are in the process of writing a report containing information obtained from the eight-month undercover investigation and slaughterhouse raid. The report will be used to lobby the South Korean government and National Assembly to put an end to the horrific dog meat trade and rally public support for the legislation introduced in December 2020 that would ban the killing of dogs and cats for meat.
3. Media Coverage and Awareness
The undercover investigation, raid and peaceful protest were reported on extensively by the South Korean media via mainstream television stations – JTBC, Sisain, and KBS – and by leading newspaper outlets, including Hankyoreh and Kyunghyang. The media attention brings much-needed public awareness about the dog meat trade, which operates secretly, in the shadows of mainstream society.
NEW UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION exposes illegal activities and companion animals slaughtered in South Korea’s cruel dog meat industry
BREAKING JULY 8, 2021 – For eight months, from October 2020 to May 2021, Last Chance for Animals (LCA) and sister organization, Animal Liberation Wave (ALW), conducted a comprehensive on-the-ground undercover investigation into the dog meat trade in South Korea. The investigation was focused on the two biggest dog meat stores in Seongnam Moran Market, a.k.a. the “mecca of dog meat,” and other facilities related to them.
Video footage was obtained from auctions, farms, markets and slaughterhouses. Throughout the investigation, dog slaughterers were documented violating Korea’s Animal Protection Act by committing animal cruelty. Footage shows companion animals, still with their collars on, being slaughtered alongside Dosa and Jindo dogs, that are purposely bred and raised on farms, and considered “meat dogs” by many Koreans.
The investigation uncovered the activities of the entire dog meat supply chain – slaughter, sale and breeding – operating in secrecy on sites strictly hidden, while the sale of dog meat is still done in a public, open manner in Moran Market.
LCA and ALW filed a lawsuit against the slaughterers and auctioneers on July 9, 2021 KST with the Suwon Prosecution Office in South Korea for documented violations of South Korea’s Animal Protection Act.
LCA and ALW have demanded the Yeoju City Government take due responsibility for the dogs at the slaughterhouse, charge the slaughterhouse owners with animal cruelty, environmental and land use violations, and shut them down.
LCA/ALW’S INVESTIGATION REVEALED:
- Systematic cruelty towards dogs at auctions, markets, farms and slaughterhouses
- Dogs illegally and brutally killed in hidden slaughterhouses
- Many different breeds of companion animals killed alongside dogs bred for meat
- Collars being cut off companion dogs by slaughterers
- Vendors at Moran Market supplying live dogs to slaughterhouses
- Illegal dog auction house holding auctions 3 times a week
- Dogs painfully and forcefully dragged by rope around their necks
- Dogs crammed into small wire cages piled on top of each other
- Dogs killed by an electrocution rod in the mouth in full view of other animals
- Dogs still alive and convulsing after electrocution
- Dogs living in cages their entire lives on wire floors and eating filthy waste food
- Dogs recoiling in fear when witnessing dogs being electrocuted
- Dogs screaming and fighting for their lives till the end
- Electric rods, gas cans, hair loss machines, torches, and steel cages in the slaughterhouses
Video from the investigation has been released by both LCA and ALW. LCA’s video is narrated by Academy Award winning actress Kim Basinger. ALW’s video is narrated by MBC Drama Award winning actress Lim Se-mi.
This investigation shows the hidden reality of South Korea’s dog meat industry in the 21st century.
The Seongnam Moran Market, the “mecca of dog meat,” has not disappeared.
In 2016, Seongnam City government officials stated their intent to stop the dog meat trade in Moran Market. “Starting off with the removal of slaughtering facilities and cages in the market, we will ultimately stop the dog meat trade in Moran Market,” Seongnam city official Kang Won-gu told The Korea Herald.
LCA/ALW investigators documented a steady stream of live dogs taken to the market, transported to slaughterhouses at night, and dead dogs delivered back in the morning.
Footage shows dogs, that were most likely someone’s pet, and dogs born and raised on farms, all share the same fate of experiencing extreme fear and pain before they are killed brutally in slaughterhouses.
In 2020, Seoul’s High Court convicted a butcher, who electrocuted and killed a dog, of “animal abuse.” Even after the ruling, dogs continue to be slaughtered in the same cruel manner.
Dogs have been, and continue to be, brutally and illegally slaughtered in violation of South Korea’s current Animal Protection Act laws. The law states: (an) act of leading to death in a cruel way referred to in Article 8 (1); and An act of causing death in front of another animal of type 2 under Article 8 (1). Footage obtained by LCA/ALW documented dogs being slaughtered in full view of each other. In one instance, a dog exhibited fear and recoiled in his transport crate after watching another be violently electrocuted.
A new dog slaughter ban has been introduced in the current 2020-2024 South Korean National Assembly. The bill is an amendment to the Animal Protection Act prohibiting the act of slaughtering and processing of dogs and cats to use or sell for food. The bill states that “the perception that dogs are pets/companions is prevalent around the world” and that “China, Taiwan, and others have recently taken measures to phase out dog meat consumption.”
GLOBAL CITIZENS – Take both actions below to demand fast passage of South Korea’s new dog slaughter ban
1. CLICK HERE to sign the change.org petition
2. CLICK HERE to send a direct email to MP Lee Kai-Ho, Head of Agricultural, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans and Fisheries Committee of the South Korean National Assembly
3. DONATE TO LCA to keep undercover investigators in the field exposing animal cruelty
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.