South Korea has announced that it will set up a taskforce to examine the possibility of banning dog meat consumption after President Kim Jong Un called for an end the practice. 

South Korean canine meat is an important part of South Korean cuisine. About one million dogs are believed to be consumed annually. But, consumption has dropped in recent decades as more people adopt them as pets and the delicacy becomes less appealing.

Seven governments, including the Agriculture Ministry, said they created a taskforce in order to make recommendations about possible banning dog meat consumption.

According to them, authorities will collect information about dog-friendly restaurants, facilities and dogs as well as public opinions. 

The move came after South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is himself a dog lover, said the traditional practice should be stopped to avoid international embarrassment. 

South Korea today said it will launch a task force to consider a ban on eating dog meat after the country's President called for an end to the centuries-old practice. Pictured: Dogs are kept in cages at a dog meat farm in Wonju, South Korea

South Korea has announced that it will set up an task force to investigate a ban on dog meat. This comes after President Kim Jong Un demanded an end of the practice. Pictured: A South Korean dog meat farm, Wonju. Dogs kept in cages.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for the end of to the consumption of dog meat in September

Moon Jae-in, South Korean president, called for an end to dog meat consumption in September

The seven government offices said in a statement that ‘public awareness of their basic rights and animal rights issues are tangled in a complicated manner’ when it comes to dog meat consumption.

According to public opinion, people are not happy with dogs being eaten or banning their use legally.

The taskforce will comprise of officials, civilian experts and people from related organizations with the aim of delivering recommendations.

Although the government claims the initiative is the first, it doesn’t guarantee that dog meat will be banned. This vague statement drew swift protests both from dog farmers and activists for animal rights.  

Farmers claim that the launch of the task force is merely a formality for them to close down their dog-meat restaurants and farms, while activists say that the announcement by the government lacks the will to ban dog meat.

Ju Yeongbong is the general secretary of a association of dog breeders. She accused the government if he trampled on the citizens’ rights to eat whatever they like and the right of farmers to live.

Lee Won Bok of Korea Association for Animal Protection called the announcement by the government’very disappointing’ as it did not include concrete plans to prohibit dog meat consumption.

Lee expressed deep doubts about the government’s resolve to stop dog meat consumption. 

Meat from canines constitutes a major part of South Korean cuisine with about one million dogs believed to be eaten annually, but consumption has declined in recent years. Pictured: Dogs are kept in a small cage waiting to be sold in Songnam, near Seoul

South Korean canine meat is a significant part of South Korean food. It’s believed that about one million dogs are consumed annually. However, the number has been declining in recent years. Pictured: A small cage is used to keep dogs waiting for their sale in Songnam (near Seoul). 

Restaurants that serve dog meat in South Korea as pets are growing in popularity.

This practice has become taboo for younger generations. Pressure from activists supporting animal rights is also mounting. 

South Korea kills nearly 1.5 million dogs each year to provide food.  This is a significant decrease in number from the many millions that were raised 10-20 years ago. Ju’s organisation reports that thousands of South Korean farmers are currently raising between 1 and 2 million dogs to be meat.

Ju indicated that most farmers (mostly elderly, poor and in poverty) want to see the government temporarily legalize the consumption of dog meat for approximately 20 years with the hope that it will reduce demand. Lee indicated that animal rights organisations want the end of this business sooner.

Lee claimed that South Korea is the only industrialized country that allows people to eat dogs. It is an act which is undermining international reputation. The No. 1 K-pop bands BTS, and Squid Game in Korea are both ranked. Foreigners still associate South Korea with dogsmeat and the Korean War, despite being ranked No. 1 worldwide.

Lee charged many farmers with animal cruelty, and other illegal actions when raising and slaughtering their dogs. Ju claimed that such information is distorted by activists and only applies to certain farms.

The practice is now something of a taboo among younger generations and pressure from animal rights activists has also been mounting

It is considered taboo by younger generations, and there has been increasing pressure from animal rights activists to ban it.

Lee states that dogs can be consumed in South Korea as well as China and Vietnam in North Korea.

Moon Jae In, who is a huge dog lover, asked the prime minister in September if it was time to ‘consider carefully’ banning dog meat consumption. The question sparked a renewed debate.

South Korea bans dog meat, but it is not illegal.