PYEONGTAEK – The canine bark and stare as Kim Jong-kil approaches the rusty cages housing the massive, short-haired animals he sells for his or her meat. Kim opens a door and pets one canine’s neck and chest.

Kim says he’s pleased with the canine meat farm that has supported his household for 27 years, however is upset over rising makes an attempt by politicians and activists to outlaw the enterprise, which he’s turning over to his youngsters.

“It’s more than just feeling bad. I absolutely oppose these moves, and we’ll mobilize all our means to resist it,” Kim, 57, mentioned in an interview at his farm in Pyeongtaek metropolis, simply south of Seoul.

Canine meat consumption is a centuries-old observe on the Korean Peninsula and has lengthy been seen as a supply of stamina on sizzling summer time days. It is neither explicitly banned nor legalized in South Korea, however an increasing number of folks need it prohibited. There’s growing public consciousness of animal rights and worries about South Korea’s worldwide picture.

The anti-dog meat marketing campaign just lately obtained an enormous enhance when the nation’s first girl expressed her assist for a ban and two lawmakers submitted payments to remove the canine meat commerce.

“Foreigners think South Korea is a cultural powerhouse. But the more K-culture increases its international standing, the bigger shock foreigners experience over our dog meat consumption,” mentioned Han Jeoungae, an opposition lawmaker who submitted laws to outlaw the canine meat business final month.

Prospects for passage of an anti-dog meat legislation are unclear due to protests by farmers, restaurant house owners and others concerned within the canine meat business. Surveys recommend that one in three South Koreans opposes such a ban, although most individuals don’t eat canine meat anymore.

Canines are additionally eaten in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, North Korea and a few African international locations, together with Ghana, Cameroon, Congo and Nigeria.

Earlier this month, Indonesian authorities introduced the top of canine and cat slaughter at an animal market on the island of Sulawesi following a yearslong marketing campaign by native activists and world celebrities. The Tomohon Excessive Market will change into the primary such market in Indonesia to go canine and cat meat-free, in keeping with the anti-animal cruelty group Humane Society Worldwide.

South Korea’s canine meat business receives extra worldwide consideration due to its status as a rich, ultra-modern democracy. It’s also the one nation with industrial-scale farms. Most farms in South Korea have greater than 500 canine, in keeping with a canine farmers’ affiliation.

Throughout a latest go to, Kim’s farm, one of many nation’s largest with 7,000 canine, appeared comparatively clear however there was a powerful stench in some areas. All canine are stored in elevated cages and are fed with meals waste and floor hen. They’re hardly ever launched for train and usually are offered for meat one yr after they’re born.

Kim mentioned two of his youngsters, age 29 and 31, are working the farm with him, and that enterprise has been going fairly effectively. He mentioned the canine bred for his or her meat are totally different from pets, an thought opposed by activists.

It is troublesome now to seek out canine meat eating places in Seoul’s bustling downtown, although many nonetheless exit within the countryside.

“I only earn one-third of the money I used to make. Young people don’t come here. Only ailing old people come for lunch,” mentioned Yoon Chu-wol, 77, the proprietor of a canine meat restaurant in Seoul’s Kyungdong conventional market. “I tell my elderly customers to come and eat my food more frequently before it’s banned.”

Farmers additionally face rising scrutiny from officers and more and more unfavorable public opinion. They complain that officers go to them repeatedly in response to complaints filed by activists and residents over alleged animal abuse and different wrongdoing. Kim mentioned greater than 90 such petitions have been filed in opposition to his farm throughout a latest four-month span.

Son Gained Hak, basic secretary of the canine farmers’ affiliation, mentioned many farms have collapsed in recent times due to falling canine meat costs and weaker demand. He thinks that is a results of activist campaigns and unfair media stories specializing in farms with inferior circumstances. Some observers, nonetheless, say consumption of canine meat was already declining, with youthful folks staying away from it.

“Quite honestly, I’d like to quit my job tomorrow. We can’t confidently tell our children that we’re raising dogs,” Son mentioned. “When my friends called me, they said ‘Hey, are you still running a dog meat farm? Isn’t it illegal?’”

The variety of farms throughout South Korea has dropped by half from a couple of years in the past to about 3,000 to 4,000, and about 700,000 to 1 million canine are slaughtered annually, a decline from a number of million 10 to twenty years in the past, in keeping with the canine farmers’ affiliation. Some activists argue that the farmers’ estimates are an exaggeration meant to indicate their business is just too large to destroy.

In late 2021, South Korea launched a government-civilian activity drive to contemplate outlawing canine meat on the suggestion of then-President Moon Jae-in, a pet lover. The committee, whose members embrace farmers and animal rights activists, has met greater than 20 instances however hasn’t reached any settlement, apparently due to disputes over compensation points.

Agriculture officers refused to reveal the discussions within the closed-door conferences. They mentioned the federal government desires to finish canine meat consumption based mostly on a public consensus.

In April, first girl Kim Keon Hee, the spouse of present President Yoon Suk Yeol, mentioned in a gathering with activists that she hopes for an finish to canine meat consumption. Famers responded with rallies and formal complaints in opposition to Kim for allegedly hurting their livelihoods.

Han, the lawmaker, mentioned she “highly positively appraises” influential figures talking out in opposition to canine meat consumption.

Han mentioned her invoice presents assist applications for farmers who agree to shut their farms. They’d be entitled to cash to dismantle their amenities, vocational coaching, employment help and different advantages, she mentioned.

Ju Yeongbong, an official of the farmers’ affiliation, mentioned farmers wish to proceed for about 20 extra years till older folks, their foremost clients, die, permitting the business to naturally disappear. Observers say most farmers are additionally of their 60s to 70s.

Borami Search engine optimization, a director of the South Korea workplace of the Humane Society Worldwide, mentioned she opposes the continued killing of thousands and thousands of canine for such a protracted interval. “Letting this silent cruelty to (dogs) be committed in South Korea doesn’t make sense,” Search engine optimization mentioned.

“(Dog meat consumption) is too anachronistic, has elements of cruelty to animals and hinders our national growth,” mentioned Cheon JinKyung, head of Korea Animal Rights Advocates in Seoul.

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