Dog slaughter banned in South Korean market

A campaigner protests against the dog meat trade at Seongnam market Image copyright AFP
Image caption "Dogs feel pain like humans": Seongnam's Moran market has been the target of animal rights protests

Officials in South Korea have banned the slaughter and butchering of dogs in the country's largest dog meat market.

An agreement between the city of Seongnam and the vendors' association at Moran market means that slaughter facilities will be removed as early as next week, the Korea Herald newspaper reports. The 22 dog meat vendors at the market, which sells anything from antiques to live animals to the city's million residents, are to receive financial support to enable them to convert to different lines of business.

Saying the move is about animal welfare and the reputation of both the city and South Korea as a whole, Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung quoted Gandhi: "Seongnam City will take the initiative to transform South Korea's image since 'the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated'," he said.

While welcoming the change, the Korean Animal Welfare Association is concerned that it might not be fully implemented. "We will have to constantly monitor dog meat shops in the market to see if they really stop slaughtering dogs, and the city government will also need to keep pushing the idea to ultimately ban the sales of dog meat here," association official Jang In-young said.

Moran Market supplies one-third of the dog meat consumed in South Korea, and locals and welfare groups have long complained at the sight of dogs being slaughtered on the spot, often using brutal methods. While some see dog meat as part of Korean culinary tradition, consumption has declined sharply in recent years, with the same period seeing a large rise in pet ownership.

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