Restaurant owners in South Korea are increasingly anxious to popularise the eating of dog meat in the run up to the World Cup soccer finals, and have organised a meeting to educate visitors and tourists on the industry and the practise.
Despite the popularity of dog meat in Korea, which is often perceived as a cultural tradition, it is actually legally a grey area. Some Korean lawmakers are currently trying to get a bill approved by Parliament, which would classify dog meat as livestock. Such a move would enable the government to better regulate the industry and the restaurants where dog meat is in the menu.
Around 100 restaurant owners organised the meeting after a seminar to promote the dish was cancelled due to pressure from animal activists, who have been petitioning the Korean government for a clampdown on the dog meat industry for years.
“Things are coming to a head with regard to the Korean situation and the pressure must be kept up,” Ellie Maynard, a campaigner from the Sirius Global Animal Organisation told just-food.com: “There are two important things to remember in this fight, which has nothing to do with culture, tradition or preference.
“The relationship between man and dog started long before man farmed livestock for food or started living in communities. The dog was man’s companion animal and helped in hunting. Researchers and Scientists from evidence gathered which goes back 14,000 years, state that the dogs are neither human nor beast so therefore they deserve the [not for human consumption] classification we are fighting for.”
The second issue raised animal rights campaigners concerns the exportation of dogs such as Saint Bernards from Europe for the Korean dog meat industry. The Sirius website explains: “So often we have been told that we are interfering in another countries culture however […] the dogs they are importing belong to our [Western] “culture” for want of a better word.
“This is a totally unique situation. Never before in the history of the world have OUR pets been exported for food.”
In a related development, the Australian Kennel Council recently banned the export and sale of all dogs to any country where they may be consumed as food. The Australian Government is now working on drafting a Bill to enforce the ban in law.
To visit the Sirius website, click here.