China proposes ban on dog meat, will South Korea follow suit?

 @ibtimes
on June 29 2011 3:43 PM
10. Which countries eat dog meat?
Dog meat is consumed popular in East Asia, such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. Quite surprisingly, European countries, including France and Germany, also enjoyed dog meat until they were banned in the 20th century. In Canada, eating dog meat is not officially banned, although not practiced widely. REUTERS/Joe Tan

In ancient China, eating dog meat was considered medicinal, now it's proving to be simply ancient. With China's growing affluent class, who are increasingly falling in love with in-door pets, eating cats and dogs is clashing with these old beliefs. That's why Chinese legal experts have proposed to place a ban on eating dogs and cats. 

The Guardian reports that drafters at The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have been consulting on the matter with Britain's Royal society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the US-based International Fund for Animal Welfare. 

Across China there are dog and cat farms, where the animals are slaughtered and sold, and for some it begs the question 'what makes cats and dogs any different than other animals we eat?' 

The Guardian quoted an internet poster on the Xhinua news agency website, who states: This is absurd. Why only dogs and cats? How about pigs, cows and sheep. 

But, the voice of the protester is on the rise. The proposal reflects the growing belief that cats and dogs should be treated like pets, not food, but contrasts with firm defenders of China's traditional and medicinal practices. 

I support this proposal. Whether you judge this as a question of food security or emotions, there is absolutely no necessity in China for people to eat dogs and cats, said Zeng Li, the founder of the Lucky Cats shelter in Beijing.

We need something more than moral pressure. Beijing's dog restaurants get their meat mainly from vagrant and stolen dogs. In the suburbs, dogs are hung and slaughtered in front of buyers. 

But China isn't alone in its fight against the slaughter of dogs for human consumption. In South Korea's more rural towns, the practice is still largely in effect.  However, although the practice is more common in rural areas of South Korea, it is still a practiced in Seoul, the country's capital and most affluent and multi-cultural city. 

In 2010, images of a reportedly Chinese woman were heavily circulated over the internet. In the pictures she is killing a dog by stepping on it with her high-heeled shoes. Many Korean and Chinese citizens were outraged by the photo, spawning letters to be written against the killing of dogs and cats. 

The Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) posted a story with images on their website via a student at Yongin Foreign Language High School. The student told KARA that he could see the dog farm from the high school playground. Not only could he see the dogs, the sound of the shackled dogs' barks and yelps of fear would carry through to the high school. The student also claimed that there was a powerful and disgusting smell that wafted towards the playground, including the smell of burned hair caused by blowtorching removal of dog hair.

According to In Defense of Animals (IDA), despite it being technically illegal, two million South Korean dogs are electrocuted, strangled, or bludgeoned to death each year. But steady strides are being made in South Korea against the practice of dog farming. 

The Korea Dog Farmers' Association was to have an open-air market in the city of Seongnam (South of Seoul), but after numerous protesters spoke out against such practices, the market was canceled. 

This is making our country an international laughing stock, and making the whole world mistakenly believe that all South Koreans eat dogs, said Park So-Youn, head of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth. 

Canines are the animals emotionally closest to humans. You can't just publicly celebrate killing and eating them, Park said. 

Ann, a professor of nutrition at Chung Cheong University, told AFP, We couldn't possibly go on with the plan due to endless phone calls of complaint... now there are few willing to rent us a place for the event.

The practice of eating meat in South Korea has been tied to making one more sexually active, though some Koreas disagree with this reason. The practice has also been, like China, traced to health related reasons.

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