These are the urgent priorities of the recently elected government of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol when it comes to improving South Korea’s position in the protection of animal rights. Yoon opposes the consumption and trade of dog meat, but recognizes the need for social consensus to ban this age-old practice.

New Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Chung Hwang-keun agreed that the dog meat issue has been controversial for a long time and that a broad social compromise is needed to resolve it permanently.

“As the number of families with pets has grown and public interest in animal welfare has grown, banning dog meat is the direction our society should be moving in. ‘before,” Chung said. “I will make efforts to reach a great compromise to end the consumption of dog meat by fully listening to and coordinating the opinions of industry and animal rights groups,” he added. .

A poll conducted by Realmeter in November 2021 found that there are still many (48.9%) South Koreans who remain opposed to banning dog meat even though keeping dogs as pets has become hugely popular, especially over the past couple of years when the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting hardest. Those who support the ban on dog meat represent 38.6% of respondents.

There is currently a 21-member task force with government officials and civilians working to resolve the issue. Their policy recommendations will be submitted to Yoon’s new government for implementation.

Meanwhile, it is also the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture to prevent negligent and/or abusive owners from starving their pets with jail time and heavy fines. South Korea’s revised Animal Welfare Law provides prison sentences of up to three years and penalties worth 30 million won ($24,000) for pet owners who have starved their animals to death. However, this particular revision to the law will not come into effect until April 27, 2023, so such an act of animal abuse could possibly go unpunished until then, the Agriculture Department said.

Alma Buelva is a journalist from the Philippines. When she’s not writing about business and technology, she spends her time caring for animals and writing about them as well.