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An End to Dog Meat in South Korea?

Updated: Feb 15

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GREAT NEWS for animals! South Korea's parliament passed a bill on January 9 banning the practice of breeding and slaughtering dogs for food.

The last step is for the bill to be signed into law by South Korea's president.

The new bill makes slaughtering a dog for food punishable by up to three years in prison, or by a fine of up to 30 million Korean won (about $23,000), according to CNN.

TAKE ACTION! Please tell the President of South Korea you strongly support this bill. Feel free to copy/paste the message below and send it to the South Korean ambassador to the U.S.

Dear Ambassador Hyundong Cho,


Please let the President of South Korea know that I strongly support the bill, recently passed by Parliament, to ban the breeding and slaughtering of dogs for food in South Korea. Because I care deeply about animals, I encourage him to sign this important bill into law as soon as possible. I am delighted to hear that he plans to do so.

I believe that the enactment of this law will not only save the lives of many innocent dogs but also enhance South Korea's international image as a nation that values animal protection.


Thank you for helping to promote a kinder and more just world for all.

Unfortunately, the dog meat ban will not go into full effect until 2027. The 3-year period is intended for those involved in the dog meat industry to phase out their operations. Dog farms, slaughterers, suppliers, and restaurants will have to submit a phaseout plan to local authorities.

South Korea’s president Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee are known to love animals.

They’re guardians to six dogs and five cats! First lady Kim Keon Hee has been an outspoken advocate for animals, and even attended an animal rights event in August.


According to the Washington Post, she publicly stated,Dog meat consumption should come to an end ... in an era when humans and pets coexist as friends.”

Most South Koreans agree that dog meat is cruel and outdated. In 2020, a survey of South Koreans found that 83.8% of people had never consumed dog meat and had no intention to do so. 

According to data shared by Reuters, there are around 1,150 breeding farms for dogs, 34 slaughterhouses, 219 distribution companies, and 1,600 restaurants serving dog meat in South Korea.


Dogs kept at these farms often experience painful skin and eye infections, along with diseases and untreated wounds caused by fights arising from monotony, frustration, and scarcity of resources.

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While many dogs are bred within these facilities, abandoned pets with collars are frequently found among the animals designated for slaughter.

If the new bill becomes law, as is widely expected, it will be a major win for dogs across South Korea, and will hopefully inspire countries around the world to follow suit, ending the dog and cat meat trade once and for all. It will be a step in the right direction toward compassionate treatment of all animals.

History of the Fight to End Dog Meat in South Korea 

The campaign to ban dog meat in South Korea has been a long and challenging journey rooted in cultural traditions, ethical considerations, and changing attitudes toward the treatment of animals. The practice of consuming dog meat has a deep history in South Korea, dating back to ancient times when dogs were considered a valuable source of protein.

However, as South Korea underwent major shifts and modernization in the 20th century, the treatment of animals, particularly dogs, came under scrutiny from both domestic and international perspectives. The shift in societal values towards pets as companions rather than livestock led to the emergence of an animal rights movement in the country.

Modernization of South Korea

In the late 20th century and early 21st century, several factors contributed to the growing movement against the consumption of dog meat. Increased urbanization and exposure to global perspectives, particularly through the internet and social media, played a significant role in shaping public opinion. International criticism of consuming dogs also intensified as South Korea became better known on the global stage.

Animal rights organizations, both local and international, began to raise awareness about the inhumane conditions in which dogs were often raised and slaughtered for meat consumption. They highlighted issues such as illegal dog farms, the lack of regulations surrounding the trade, and the cruel methods of killing.

1988 Seoul Olympics

One of the turning points in the campaign was the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where South Korea faced significant international pressure to address its dog meat industry. This led to temporary measures, such as the closure of illegal dog farms and the prohibition of dog meat sales in certain areas during the event. However, these measures were not particularly thorough or permanent.

The Modern Movement Against Dog Meat

In the following decades, various animal rights groups and activists continued to lobby for legal changes. Public protests, celebrity endorsements, and media coverage helped to bring the issue into the spotlight. Despite the efforts of animal rights activists, the campaign faced challenges from those who saw the practice as a cultural tradition that should be preserved.

A huge win for the campaign to end dog meat came in 2018 when the city of Seongnam, known for hosting the Moran Market—a major center for the dog meat trade—announced plans to shut down the market .This decision was a significant victory for animal rights activists, signaling a potential shift in attitudes and policies.

The biggest turning point happened in June of 2023 with the introduction of a legislative bill known as Special Act. On November 17 2023, the government announced that a bill would be introduced by the end of the year detailing the timeline for phasing out dog meat by 2027. This bill was passed by the South Korean parliament on January 9, 2024.

600 Million Dogs’ Mission to End Companion Animal Suffering!

The consumption of dog meat causes horrific suffering to innocent, helpless dogs who are cruelly raised and brutally slaughtered for food. 

When working to address the needless suffering that dogs endure, it is important to consider the overpopulation crisis, the number #1 cause of pain and suffering for dogs and cats across the globe.

Every year, hundreds of millions of dogs and cats are born into a world without the resources to care for them. Many will starve to death on the streets, and others are intentionally killed through poison, electrocution, or worse. 


That’s why 600 Million Dogs is working to stop the suffering … before it starts. Our nonprofit science-centered mission is to significantly reduce animal suffering on a global scale by developing a safe, edible, one-dose, permanent-lasting birth control Cookie for stray dogs and cats.

For just $1 a month, you can help us stop the suffering. It's less than a cup of coffee and will help save millions of lives!

We won’t stop fighting for a world where every dog and cat has the chance to know the love and safety of a home and guardian!

600 Million Dogs: Our nonprofit science-centered mission is to significantly reduce animal suffering on a global scale by developing a safe, edible, one-dose, permanent-lasting birth control Cookie for stray dogs and cats.

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