Animal rights activists in South Korea and across the globe are especially thankful this Thanksgiving eve as Taepyeong, the largest dog meat slaughterhouse in South Korea, was shuttered by local authorities.
The move comes after pressure from animal rights organizations Humane Society International/Korea, Korea Animal Rights Advocates and the Korean Animal Welfare Association. The groups and their members, as well as a number of celebrities, have been urging the nation to move away from the dog meat trade.
City authorities say they will turn the area into a neighborhood park where dogs rescued from Taepyeong or other similar facilities, may enjoy the freedom of the public space.
“Both as a Korean citizen and an animal campaigner, it was incredibly moving for me to a part of the historic closure of this notorious dog slaughterhouse,” Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said in a statement. “I shudder to think how many millions of beautiful dogs will have met their horrific fate at this place over the years. It was a stain on the city of Seongnam and we are so pleased to see it bulldozed. This really feels like a landmark moment in the demise of the dog meat industry in South Korea, and sends the clear message that the dog meat industry is increasingly unwelcome in Korean society.”
HSI reports that the slaughterhouse conditions were “horrifying,” with a number of wire pens that would have housed hundreds of dogs set for electrocution, shearing and killing equipment; a pile of dead dogs was left on the floor as investigators made their way through.
“We have been making constant efforts to shut down the Taepyeong-dong dog slaughterhouse through investigations and putting pressure on Gyeonggi province and Seongnam-si,” said Hyunji Kim of Korea Animal Rights Advocates. “As Korea’s biggest, brutal, illegal dog slaughterhouse, Taepyeong-dong is notorious for supplying huge amounts of dog bodies to nearby Seongnam Moran traditional market. Its closure is an historical event, and hopefully may trigger the closure of other illegal dog slaughterhouses throughout the country. Until we achieve this, we really appreciate the support of both Korean people and global citizens who love animals for helping our campaigns to completely end dog meat in Korea.”
Korea’s Dog Meat Trade
The closing of Taepyeong comes at a particularly prescient moment as the last remaining brick and mortar vendor selling live dogs at Moran Market, once the nation’s largest dog meat market, will also cease operation.
Demand for dog meat in South Korea is on steadily declining. Like younger generations across the globe, South Korean Millennials and Gen-Zers are opting for more ethical food. Veganism is on the rise in the country. According to a survey conducted earlier this year, 70 percent of South Koreans said they will not eat dog meat.
Earlier this year a South Korean dog meat farmer freed over 200 dogs after more than a decade in the business. He shut down the dog meat farm, focusing on his herb farm instead.
The nation’s dog meat trade was highlighted this year during the Winter Olympics. Vegan two-time world champion Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel, urged her fellow athletes to rescued dogs while in the country — and some did. Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy worked with HSI to rescue 90 dogs otherwise destined for slaughter.
“The slaughterers in Taepyeong have long been accumulating their wealth and a huge number of dogs have been killed over the years,” says Iltaek Chae of Korea’s Animal Welfare Association, which has long campaigned against the dog meat trade. “It is hoped that the closure of this horrific dog slaughterhouse can halt the suffering of more dogs in the future, and help trigger the collapse of the dog meat industry in Korea.”
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