S. Korea extends mandate of dog meat task force

SEOUL-- South Korea's government-civilian consultative body on dog meat consumption decided Friday to extend its operations for two more months for further discussions on the sensitive issue in the country.

The 21-member task force was launched in December to come up with compromise policy recommendations on dog meat consumption in order for the incoming government to take measures to deliver them, including related law revisions.

"Members have found common ground that an end to dog meat consumption is in line with the times, but an agreement has yet to be reached," the committee said.

"A decision has been made to extend its operations for two more months for further discussion. We will do our level best to reach a grand compromise."

The operation of the consultative body was due to expire at the end of last month.

The body has so far carried out a nationwide field survey of dog farms and conducted a poll on public awareness of the issue as part of efforts to reach a compromise.

A growing number of South Koreans live with dogs at home, but there are also dog farms still in operation, where some dog breeds are raised for meat.

Animal rights activists claim the country's tradition of eating dogs is becoming an international embarrassment, while advocates of dog meat argue people should have the freedom to choose what they eat.

South Korea has the Animal Protection Law intended mainly to prevent the cruel slaughter of dogs and cats but not dog consumption itself.

A survey conducted in November showed 48.9 percent of the respondents being opposed to outlawing dog meat, while 38.6 percent supporting it.

During his election campaign, President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol voiced his opposition to eating and trading dog meat but said banning the centuries-old practice by law requires a social consensus.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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