Korean dog meat market closes because of criticism and changing tastes

Gupo Livestock Market, Korea. Photo by Flickr photographer Korean Dogs.
Gupo Livestock Market, Korea. Photo by Flickr photographer Korean Dogs.

The Times newspaper reports that criticism and changing tastes have forced a notorious Korean dog meat market to close. This is a wonderful day for animal advocates anywhere and everywhere. That’s not to say that there is not a long way to go before the eating of dog and cat meat is eradicated from Asia. Across Asia, especially in parts of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Thailand an estimated 30 million dogs are killed and eaten annually. Most of these animals are stolen pets and street dogs.

Let’s hope that the closure of the Gupo Livestock Market in Busan is the beginning of a domino chain of events which ends up with the closure of all dog and cat meat markets and a change in attitude amongst Asians. There has been a lot of criticism in the West which I believe has infiltrated into the consciousness of younger Koreans in this instance. Young Asians are more likely to be au fait with world news and events. This is because they are more inclined to work on the Internet. It’s the young who are going to change the attitudes about eating companion animal flesh.

Campaigners against these markets have hailed the closure as a significant step towards the ending of this practice which people in the West consider objectionable.

Dogs have been sold on the site of the market in the south-eastern port city of 3.5 million people for 60 years.

In the 1970s trade thrived and there were 60 vendor’s catering for demand. Two other companion animal meat markets have closed prior to this one. The last 13 dogs at Gupo have been saved over the weekend and have been given a new life after being on the verge of death in the most brutal and unkind of ways.

“As the major dog food bases disappear one by one like dominoes the dog food industry is rapidly collapsing. The closure of the Gupo Dog Market is a historic event that accelerates that.”

Animal Welfare Association

The site of the market will be turned into a park by the local authorities. The Times reports that consumption of dog meat has declined rapidly in South Korea. This is due to the country becoming richer, particularly among younger generations. However, they are known to farm dogs as livestock for human consumption and 2 million are reared annually. There is a long way to go.