Animal Protection > Actions - Index > Korea
Pet Dogs Abandoned and Sold by Owners for Korean Meat Market

December 27, 2012

Pet Dogs Abandoned and Sold by Owners for Korean Meat Market

At the height of summer, known in Korean as the Boknal, it has been reported that those who can no longer take care of their pet dogs take them to the Moran market outside Seoul in an attempt to sell them for meat, only to abandon them when merchants refuse to purchase a former pet [Moran is known for selling animals as both pets and meat].

This article, reposted on Daum, is based on an interview with an angry dog-meat merchant, who criticizes these pet owners as having double-standards when it comes to the issue of eating dog. South Korean netizens were completely outraged to hear that pet dogs are being abandoned in this way, with many advocating a complete ban on eating dog meat in South Korea.

Furthermore, as the netizen comments show, eating dog in Korea is far from being the norm. In fact, the consumption of dog meat in South Korea is extremely controversial, with many Koreans finding scenes like the one below as harrowing as those seeing them from the West. Do you know how pitiful those dogs are? They point the finger at us for selling dog meat, but how could they dump what would have been something like a member of their family? They deliberately drop their dogs off here. But we are not some stray dog disposal team'.

Days before the chobok, the dog days of summer, the Moran market in Seongnam is busy. One third of the dog meat sold in the country passes through here, and Lee Kang-choon (58) is often very disturbed by a number of calls he receives as the chobok nears. Most of the calls ask whether pet dogs can be taken care of at the market, because the owners can no longer look after them. Nowadays Lee simply hangs up on such enquiries in disgust, wondering why people see the Moran market as a 'dog dumping ground.' Last year, Lee was embroiled in a huge controversy with animal rights groups over the 'dogmeat festival', but he has had enough with the double standard that he witnessed in the people who criticized him for dog meat handling and the people who bring their pet dogs to dispose of them once the dog is no longer wanted.

According to Mr. Lee, the number of stray dogs found around the Moran market is about 15-16 per month. The dog owners often quietly propose that the meat merchants take the dog and when the merchants refuse, they simply abandon their pet dog somewhere nearby. Those dogs often stay in groups of 5-6 and some of them 'suddenly disappear.'

Mr. Lee reveals that 'the pet dogs that are no longer wanted or fall sick cost about 300,000 Won ($300 USD) to put down, so they try to save on the cost by bringing them here.' Sometimes even pet shops or veterinarians also approach them for dogs under treatment. The merchants cannot take on any dog that has been neutered for hygienic reasons.

In fact this reporter found a small dog alone near a garbage dump. The dog appeared very guarded against any human and kept its distance. Lee pointed to a several shacks on the wasteland, saying 'over there they eat the stray dogs all the time.' He often hears from witnesses who have seen homeless people directly take a live animal to eat. Lee vented his anger: 'Seeing homeless people eating those stray dogs, the problem is that it is not only unhygienic but I wonder whether animal rights groups have any idea that this is going on, and if so I'm curious what they plan to do about it.' Every year, a number of animal rights group activists have protests around the Boknal. Even the confrontation between the merchants and the activists has become something of a typical scene. Mr. Lee concluded by asking restraint on blanket criticism for difference of opinion. He wishes to 'remind the people of the cruelty of procedures such as removing a dog's vocal chords or snipping off their ears to prevent odors to keep them indoor.


Original article in Korean:


Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin, [email protected]