Success! South Korea Court Rules Killing Dogs for Meat Is Illegal

As the result of a complaint filed by an animal rights group, a South Korea court has made the landmark decision that killing dogs for meat is illegal.

Last year, CARE (Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth), the largest group of its kind based in South Korea, accused a dog farm owner of killing the animals using electrocution. Not only was this inhumane, it was in violation of the Animal Protection Act, which prohibits the killing of an animal without any justifiable grounds.

“Far from being justifiable grounds, i.e., necessary veterinary treatment or because of harm or damage to people or property,” CARE notes on its website, “the slaughtering of dogs for food actually profits those who do it — the exact opposite of harm. Not only does this go against the letter of the law, but also against the spirit of the law.”

The city court in Bucheon, a satellite city of Seoul, agreed. The owner of the farm was convicted for killing animals without a proper reason, as well as for violating building and hygiene regulations. He was fined three million won (about $2,700).

This decision is “very significant,” Kim Kyung-eun, the attorney for CARE, told AFP. It has “paved the way for outlawing dog meat consumption entirely” in South Korea, she said.

Although the ruling was made in April, it didn’t make news headlines until this month, coincidentally just as the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival was getting underway in China.

Because of the global outcry over the cruel killing of dogs for this festival, and because dogs (and cats) are now considered to be pets rather than dinner by many young people, eating  meat from these animals is losing popularity in some Asian countries. Last year, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to ban it.

Yet South Korea continues to be the only country in the world that breeds dogs – about 2.5 million every year — for human consumption, according to Humane Society International (HSI). It is currently legal to breed dogs for the purpose of selling their meat, but they can’t be killed in open areas or near other dogs. The meat can’t be sold through major distribution channels.

The Winter Olympics in Seoul this year put an international spotlight on South Korea’s dog farms. Athletes like Meagan Duhamel and Gus Kenworthy helped raise awareness by saving dogs that were destined to be killed. More than 80,000 people have signed HSI’s Care2 petition urging South Korea to end its dog meat trade.

Fortunately, along with this landmark court decision, progress is being made. Last month a legislative bill was introduced that would remove the legal basis for the mass breeding dogs for consumption — essentially shutting down the dog meat industry, The Telegraph reports.

Over 93,000 people signed a Care2 petition calling for the country to enact animal cruelty laws to ban the dog meat industry, and apparently it has had an impact. “Local and national politicians are now being more vocal about their opposition to the dog meat industry and dog meat consumption,” according to CARE, which adds that South Korea may have animal welfare clauses in its constitution in the not-too-distant future.

Meanwhile, the group plans to file complaints against several other dog meat farmers.

“Over the past decades, public discourse over dog meat consumption has shifted towards banning it,” CARE leader Park So-youn told AFP. “The dog meat industry will take greater heat because of the court ruling.”

Photo credit: nathanmack87


hELEN h11 days ago


Mary Wright
Mary Wright14 days ago

Once again, this report above is fake news. S. Korea DID NOT outlaw eating dogs and cats. They refuse to do that and are no closer to it than they were 30 years ago. Why are they our allies?

Mark Donner
Mark Donner15 days ago

David Hardingham: I have travelled a lot too so you can stop considering yourself somehow special. Yeah of course you see everything, you see cannibalism, you see people chopping each other up with machetes or burying babies alive, all kinds of things. But because they claim to have a "culture" you give those pathetic nauseating excuses for what is a UNIVERSAL CRIME? A crime is a crime and ethics is ethics. What South Korea and China are doing which includes kidnapping and torture iss what is called a UNIVERSAL CRIME and it has NOTHING to do with fake "culture" or "tradition" or "nationality". Anyone who stands in front of the terrorists and criminals in the world defending their actions should be taken down with them.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner15 days ago

And the US is spending money to defend this monster South Korea country against North Korea. South Korea is the same or worse than it's Northern neighbor. South Korea doesn't deserve its existence.

Kathy G
Kathy G17 days ago

Thank you

Cindy S
Cindy S17 days ago

all animals should be illegal
people are evil

Marija M
Marija M17 days ago

tks South Korea

Marija M
Marija M18 days ago


Jennifer H
Jennifer H18 days ago

It is a great start. Still have to work on Yulin.

Deborah S
Deborah S18 days ago

Did they stop that G . #@#^&@ festival? Thank you