South Korea aims to ban eating dog meat and put an end to the controversy over the ancient custom amid growing awareness of animal rights, a ruling party policy chief said on Friday.
The Korean practice of eating dogs has drawn criticism from overseas for its cruelty but there has also been increasing opposition at home, particularly from the younger generation.
“It is time to put an end to social conflicts and controversies around dog meat consumption through the enactment of a special act to end it,” Yu Eui-dong, policy chief of the ruling People Power Party, said at a meeting with government officials and animal rights activists.
The government and ruling party would introduce a bill this year to enforce a ban, Yu said, adding that with expected bipartisan support, the bill should sail through parliament.
Agriculture Minister Chung Hwang-keun told the meeting the government would implement a ban quickly and provide the maximum possible support for those in the dog meat industry to close their businesses.
First Lady Kim Keon Hee has been a vocal critic of dog meat consumption and, along with her husband, President Yoon Suk Yeol, has adopted stray dogs.
Anti-dog meat bills have failed in the past because of protests by those involved in the industry, and worry about the livelihoods of farmers and restaurant owners.
The proposed ban will include a three-year grace period and financial support for businesses to transition out of the trade.
Eating dog meat has been an age-old practice on the Korean peninsula and is seen as a way to beat the summer heat.