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Dog meat is no longer legal in South Korea, as a new rule passed by parliament on Tuesday (9) has outlawed its sale and consumption. Starting in 2027, the regulation will be fully enforced, and those found violating it will face a hefty fine of R$110,000 or up to two years in jail.

The proposal to prohibit dog meat received overwhelming support from both the ruling party and the opposition in parliament. The law not only bans the sale and distribution of dog meat but also the breeding of dogs for the purpose of consumption.

To assist those currently employed in the dog meat industry, the government will provide subsidies to help them find alternative employment opportunities. This aims to alleviate the economic impact on individuals who will need to transition out of the business.

Over the past few decades, there has been a noticeable decline in the consumption of dog meat in South Korea, particularly among the elderly population. Alongside this shift, there has been a significant increase in the country’s animal protection awareness movement. In a recent study conducted by Animal Welfare Awareness, more than 90% of respondents stated that they have not consumed dog meat in the past year and have no intention of doing so in the future.

According to Yonhap, the official agency, there are approximately 1,150 dog breeding farms in South Korea. In addition, there are 34 butchers, 219 wholesalers, and around 1,600 eateries that sell food prepared using canine meat.

It is estimated that around 3,500 farms with 1.5 million dogs and 3,000 restaurants will be directly affected by the prohibition. The South Korean group representing the dog meat business warns of the economic implications on these establishments.

The movement to ban dog meat consumption gained significant traction after former president Moon Jae-in proposed the ban in 2021. The initiative received increasing support during the presidency of Yoon Suk-yeol, who has adopted ten cats and six dogs. First lady Kim Keon Hee has also been a prominent figure advocating against the consumption of dog meat.

However, previous attempts to pass a nationwide ban on dog meat consumption have been unsuccessful. In November 2023, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the president’s residence to demand the repeal of the bill.

With the recent passage of the new rule, South Korea is taking a significant step towards ending the practice of consuming dog meat. The prohibition, along with the government subsidies to assist those impacted, aims to promote alternative industries and pave the way for a more compassionate and animal-friendly society.