(PatriotWise.com) — The South Korean parliament passed legislation on Tuesday to ban the breeding of dogs for slaughter and consumption, CNN reported.
The legislation received strong bipartisan support in South Korea’s traditionally divided parliament, a sign of how the attitude toward eating dog meat has changed in the last few decades.
Under the law, the distribution and sale of food made or processed from dog meat will be banned. However, those who purchase dog meat and related products will not face prosecution. Only those working in the industry, like dog sellers or farmers, will be subject to prosecution under the law.
Anyone slaughtering dogs for food could face a prison term of up to three years or a fine of up to 30 million won (or $23,000 US). Those who breed dogs for eating and those who knowingly acquire, transport, store, or sell food products made from dogs would face a lower prison sentence or fine.
The law grants a 3-year grace period to farmers, restaurants, and others in the dog trade to change their businesses or close altogether. During the grace period, local government will be required to offer support to businesses and owners so they can transition to a new business “stably.”
The legislation must be signed by President Yoon Suk Yeol for its final approval. However, President Yoon will likely approve the measure as it was proposed by his ruling party and the main opposition party. The bill also received vocal support from the president’s wife, Kim Keon Hee, a dog owner herself, who visited an animal protection group in the Netherlands during a recent state visit.
South Korea, like parts of southern China and Vietnam, has a long history of eating dog meat, which was a cheap and plentiful source of protein when poverty rates in the country were much higher.
Around half a million dogs were raised in the roughly 1,100 dog farms operating in the country, according to the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.
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