On January 9, 2024, Korea’s National Assembly voted to ban the trade and consumption of dog meat.
While its history is unclear, a rapidly declining number of Koreans consume dog meat as part of tradition. Some elders in Korea partake of the meat, specifically in a stew called boshintang, a delicacy to some.
Dog meat remained technically legal as it was classified as livestock, though there were no regulations on butchering and sale.
First Lady Kim Keon Hee swore to end the practice as part of her focus on animal welfare.
Many dogs raised for consumption are kept in tiny, filthy cages, eating leftover food.
The consumption of dog meat has continually fallen out of practice as more people keep the animals as pets. While some nations still consume the meat, many territories and countries in Asia, including India, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, do not.
According to government statistics, South Korea had 1,600 dog meat restaurants and 1,150 dog farms in 2023. These businesses must now submit a plan to phase out their businesses to their local authorities in the next three years.
The government also announced plans to help support these businesses but has not clarified what those entail.
The actual eating of dog meat has not been outlawed, likely due to technical restraints, but the ban’s goal is to stop the practice by 2027.