South Korean president says the 'time has come' to stop eating dogs, seeks ban on practice

·2 min read

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is suggesting a ban on his country's controversial tradition of eating dog meat, according to his presidential spokesperson.

About1 million dogs are eaten annually as part of South Korean cuisine, according to CBS News. The practice has been condemned among younger generations, but it remains common among older generations. A 2020 poll commissioned by the Human Society noted 84% of South Koreans won't eat dog meat and 60% supported a legislative ban.

"Hasn’t the time come to prudently consider prohibiting dog meat consumption?” Moon asked the prime minister, Kim Boo-kyum, in a weekly meeting on Monday, according to several International media outlets. The full exchange was not provided to the media.

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Moon, a known dog lover, is among a growing number of South Koreans who live with dogs at home as pets. He has several canines on his presidential compound, including one he rescued, named Tory.

South Korea has an animal protection law meant to prevent the cruel slaughter of dogs and cats. It does not, however, ban consumption itself at restaurants and establishments. In Korean culture, dog meat is said to have mythical properties that boost restorative powers and increase virility. Fearing a backlash from traditionalists, the Korean government hasn't amended the law.

The consumption of dog meat has put a black eye on South Korea, particularly at International events such as the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. A USA TODAY Sports report from 2018 showed a dog pound with more than 300 canines kept in cages before they were put to death.

“If the Korean people stop eating dog meat, there will not be the market for it,” Kim Jun-Won, president of the animal rights organization Dasom, told USA TODAY Sports in 2018.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Eating dog meat must be banned South Korean president Moon Jae-in says