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Former pets slaughtered for dog meat across Korea

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James Hyams
Written by James Hyams

If you have eaten dog meat in Korea there is a chance it was once a prized pet. The Change For Animals Foundations co-founder and Humane Society International consultant Lola Webber said that many former pets end up in a slaughter house.

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Photo: Co-existence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE)

“Dogs [are] being sourced from pounds, pet auctions and even surrendered pets to supplement those dogs raised on farms, and any breed or “type” of dog can be slaughtered for human consumption.”

A report by the Co-existence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) show that pet dog breeds are being slaughtered for human consumption across most of South Korea.

Research by the Korea Observer have revealed several pet breeds caged in slaughterhouses and in dog farms including Cocker Spaniels, Border Collies, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Greyhounds, Beagles, Shih Tzus, Shar Peis, Lhasa Apsos, and other mixed breeds.

Investigations so far indicate dog farms participating in slaughtering former pet dogs are located in Ansung – Gyeongi Province, Dangjin – South Chungheong Province, Goseong – Gangwon Province, Uijeongbu – Gyeongi Province, Gosung – Kangwon Province and Jeju Island.

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CARE’s report also repeatedly demonstrates that dog farmers and pet auction houses treat all dogs as food awaiting slaughter regardless of whether they were once a pet.

In one interview at a pet auction house the owner told an undercover CARE personnel that hundreds of the dogs they sell go to dog farms.

“Sixty to seventy percent are dog meat deals. We sell big dogs like Retrievers as meat dogs. The price differs depending upon the season but now they’re over 200,000 Korean won,” the owner said.

Another dog farmer, who used to be an auction house owner, admitted slaughtering and eating all breeds of dogs.

“Huskies and Malamutes are cheaper than Dosa dogs and are good as dog meat,” the farmer said.

dog-cageA pet auction house in Cheonan houses around 200 dogs including Huskies, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Grey Hounds.

“This is the biggest meat auction market in South Korea. Ninety percent of the sales here are for meat,” the owner said.

Representatives of the Port Development Division in Jeju told CREATE that “Dogs are never transported to the mainland by boat.”

This is contradicted by the practice of a dog farmer in Jeju Island who has around 200 dogs.

“I move dogs to the mainland every five days. Many dogs die in the summer during transport,” the farmer said.

When transporting the dogs, it is common practice for farmers to squash as many live dogs into one cage as possible.

Sometimes dogs are stacked on top of each other and do not have enough room to stand up.

The prevailing opinion among Koreans is that there are specific dogs bred as livestock for harvesting dog meat. These breeds are Dosa (Mastiff), the Yellow Dog, the White dog, the Jindo mix, and the Balbari.

Most Koreans are unaware that pet dog breeds are included with livestock breeds and sent for slaughter.

Moran Market – one place to buy dog meat

At the Moran market, big signs that advertise “yellow” dogs are hung over endless rows of caged dogs.

The air is filled with a putrid stench – a composition of dog faeces and burnt hair.

The dogs lay in their cages. Some of the dogs at the market will have travelled for over five hours from the farms in these overloaded cages with no rest, food or water. This is the last journey they will make.

The dogs will live at the market until they are selected by a consumer. The “show” cages are crowded but the dogs seem to choose to huddle together – perhaps for warmth, or comfort, or both. Some dogs move as the trader sprays water into the cage to wash away faeces, others just lie there. They look depressed and withdrawn.

As the co-founder of the Change For Animals Foundation Lola Weber walks past the cages, a couple of the puppies come over to the bars. They lick their lips and anxiously wag their tails. They will live short lives either in this market or on a dog farm, eventually being slaughtered for food.

The hard work by animal rights charities in this area have paid off. The Seongnam city government announced last year it would turn the Moran Market dog slaughter site into a park by early 2017.

This, however, is only a small success in a very cruel industry.

Dog Farming and Slaughtering

The Korean Statistics Information Service includes dog farming in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Census. In 2010 they reported 892,820 dogs in 100,191 farms.

Dog farming is not well regulated and operates largely in a legal grey area.

While some farmers slaughter dogs on site, others provide live dogs to those who supply markets, slaughterhouses and health stores offering gaesoju (dog “tonic” or “juice”).

“The majority of dogs are slaughtered by electrocution. However, we have evidence of dogs being hung and beaten over the head with a metal pipe (for stunning) before being bled out,” Webber said.

dog-burning

The life of a dog raised on a dog meat farm is miserable.

“They are never shown any compassion, and there is a general indifference to their sentience. Even their most basic needs are never met,” Webber said.

While in Gupo Market, Busan, Webber saw many dogs being selected by customers.

“[Dogs were] dragged screaming to the back of the shop where they were either hung or electrocuted,” Webber said.

“Hearing the noises those dogs made and watching them fight back with all their strength was beyond devastating.”

Whilst Article 7 of the Animal Protection Act does not explicitly prohibit the slaughter of dogs for food, it does prohibit killing animals in a brutal way, including hanging the animal by its neck.

“Dogs were being hung at specific slaughterhouses that ‘specialise’ in this method despite it being completely illegal,” Webber said.

Some dog farmers and slaughterhouses admit to hanging dogs to kill them. This includes the farms in Choongnam housing 150 dogs and in Choongbuk housing 200 dogs.

Two separate slaughterhouses in Incheon housing 150 dogs and 120 dogs respectively also admit hanging dogs is common practice. “Everyone in this area hangs,” they said.

A Goonsan slaughterhouse has around 400 dogs. They admit their preferred slaughter method is to electrocute the dog in the cage and then drain out the blood. “The dog is still alive while the blood drains out,” the butcher said.

Article 7 forbids killing the dogs in open areas such as on the street or in front of other animals of the same species.

“Dogs are often slaughtered under unsanitary conditions in front of other dogs,” Webber said after witnessing this several times in the Gupo and Moran Markets.

“The dog meat industry is brutal, which is why we are calling for an outright ban,” she added.

Dog meat riddled with bacteria

The Korean government has banned the mixing of antibiotics with animal feed on livestock farms in July 2011, recognizing the risk the indiscriminate use of antibiotics poses to both animal and human health in the form of antibiotic resistance.

Despite this ban, the practice continues.

10917091_10155096426260133_7101877449658418584_nThe Research Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government, conducted quality control tests on dog meat from Moran market’s butcher shops, Gyungi Province. They found that the meat often carries potentially zoonotic bacteria such as staphylococcus, colon bacillus, and traces of antibiotics exceeding hazardous health standard limits.

“We have evidence of farmers resorting to the abuse and misuse of antibiotics and other drugs to control the outbreak of diseases, which are rife when large numbers of dogs are housed in close proximity under stressful and unhygienic conditions. Both of these pose a significant risk to human health,” Webber said.

Livestock animals that receive large doses of antibiotics can develop resistance to certain types of drugs. In turn, human consumers of meat and milk from such animals may not respond to available antibiotic treatments.

“Because the processing of dog meat is essentially unregulated, there are no official guidelines to guarantee untainted meat,” Webber said.

Rescue Operations

Humane Society International and Change For Animals Foundation have partnered to save dogs from slaughter.

They identified a farm in Ilsan run by Mr Jung to start their work. The dog farm was small-scale with 23 dogs being raised to sell to local restaurants to be slaughtered and sold as boshintang (dog meat soup) and gaesoju. Jung’s primary source of income is from blueberry farming. The dog farm is to supplement his income.

dog-rescueJung agreed to surrender the dogs to Humane Society International in exchange for a small sum of money to expand his blueberry business onto the land where he kept the dogs.

“Under the agreement he would never again raise dogs or participate in the dog meat industry,” Webber said.

These dogs have been rescued in January and flown to Washington DC for adoption into American families.

“We have been inundated with offers for adoption of these dogs. We are currently reviewing potential adopters to find the very best homes for these dogs,” Webber said.

Humane Society International in collaboration with the Change For Animals Foundation will continue to work with dog farmers who no longer wish to be involved in this industry.

“We have met countless farmers who no longer want to participate in this industry and have expressed remorse towards, and compassion for, the dogs they farm.

“We will continue to offer assistance where we can,” Webber said.

If you would like to donate to this cause, please follow the following links:

The Co-existance of Animal Rights on Earth http://www.careanimalrights.org/
Humane Society International http://goo.gl/iEZsxG
Dog is dog (STOP IT videos on YouTube) http://dogisdog.org/

For a follow up on this article, please follow this link: http://www.koreaobserver.com/addressing-readers-reactions-to-dog-meat-industry-in-korea-25605

About the author

James Hyams

James Hyams

James Hyams juggles several careers including being a journalist and a social worker. James has an avid interest in 'telling it as it is', exposing matters of public interest, and reviving investigative journalism in the new digital era. Testimony to this is his thesis titled: “U.S. Government secrecy and the withering watchdog: Is WikiLeaks the answer?”

  • Lorne

    Time to start pushing Korea’s “national shame and disgrace” buttons and make this story go viral. The only way to affect change here is to make Koreans so ashamed (and embarrassed internationally) of the practices of other Koreans that they take action.

    • JMS

      What about the shame and disgrace of the millions of dogs bred as pets that end up being euthanized because they are thrown away. That number is far higher than those that breed dogs or use dogs for human consumption.

      • rory

        I think the main issue here is that if there is a market for dog meat in Korea then there will be people willing to exploit this and the horrific stuff in that video won’t necessarily stop just because eating dogmeat is illegal. Prostitution was made illegal in Korea for example. Do you think it put an end to the sex industry in Korea. If you ban something you encourage the type of cruelty to dogs that the video shows as there is still a market for it but no regulation which drives it underground and encourages the more evil scumbags that we saw in the video to prosper further. The dog meat industry will die in Korea as younger people don’t eat it. Its already extremely embarrassing for them but it is something that is part of their culture. I’m not condoning the disgusting mistreatment of dogs but the issue is the cruelty to me, not the act of eating dog meat. It should be regulated more until the point where the industry dies due to shifting cultural values and a zero tolerance approach to restaurants and farmers engaging in mistreatment might be the way to go until then. An outright bans seems great but it may not be the answer.

      • fortheloveofdogs

        Yes there is an over dog population issue and people need to wake up to this and spay and neuter dogs so dogs don’t end up in shelters etc. None of this is good either but be serious. Have you taken a look at the torture and methods these people use to kill dogs ??? This is sick. These dogs are afraid and scared being pulled out of cages, electrocuted, hit over the head, boiled and skinned alive ??? really you this this is acceptable. This is sick. I wouldn’t treat any living thing in this way. I would not shed a tear if any of these dog abusers and dog meat breeders and killers had their throats cut. In my opinion the world would be better without these people period.

      • logic

        Ok a woman with cancer is about to be killed…..

        Options

        Hit her in the head and rip her skin off

        Or stop her heart with one injection and she drifted off to sleep

        Bottom line animals get killed and some get eaten. but there is a right way to do something and a wrong way to do something.

    • anonymous

      Where are you from please? I’d like to find out something that would require “national shame and disgrace” to change something problematic in your own. Every country has at least one I assume. I’m really getting sick of this stereotyping.

      • Lorne

        Hi anonymous. I am from Canada and there are many things you can choose from to promote national shame and disgrace. I’ll even make it easy for you: baby seal hunting. And what stereotyping are you sick of? In the 20+ years I have lived here, whenever something like this comes up, many of the Koreans I know and deal with will say that they are embarrassed or ashamed to be Korean, a reaction I have never really understood, but one that I think can be used to their own advantage in this case. That is the reaction I was referring to.

        Why are you taking that comment so personally and responding with a ‘yeah but look at your own country’ whine? I can only assume you are Korean and somewhat ashamed.

      • ddddfdfff

        This is not stereotyping this is a well written article with proof and facts.

      • Adrian Shiva

        One of the ways to actually get a nation to act is in fact to name and shame them for the cruelty. You’re not shaming each individual; you’re shaming the nation, and you’d be right to do that. It is the nation’s responsibility for all the injustices being allowed to thrive within their borders. It is sadly telling that, when one highlights the insane animal cruelty being visited upon innocent animals, being skinned alive, cooked alive, people instead prefer to become defensive of their own feelings. There is a world — a world — of difference between getting your feelings hurt for the notion of potential stereotyping, and having your skin peeled off from face to anus before getting cooked alive. I wonder, what’s the priority here. Furthermore, if a nation is being condemned by the world for animal cruelty, it is the nation’s fault for cultivating that image. That is what they get for allowing such animal cruelty to become their very identity. You may not like it, but national shaming IS in fact very effective and is often the reason for many of South Korea’s animal protection laws — which are, sadly, being very largely ignored, but were nonetheless brought into existence precisely because both the international community and the local activists did not sit and shrug their shoulders and say “oh well!”

    • anonymous

      I mean, I’m against ‘animal cruelty’ and have spent a long time as a dedicated vegetarian. One reason why such cruel treatment of dogs still takes place is that people like you who consider dog eating per se as a “barbarious and savageous act”. They are quite often against enacting any sort of legal regulation on the market.

      • Lorne

        I did not say that dog eating is a barbarous and savage act, you projected your own prejudices on me as a non-Korean. I think regulation is key here.

    • fortheloveofdogs

      YES ABSOLUTELY NATION OF DISGRACE….boycott the olympics in South Korea

    • Adrian Shiva

      JMS, this is not just a matter of how many are “killed”. There’s being killed, and then there’s being electrocuted/beaten, then skinned alive, then cooked, still alive, still conscious. Too many people are forgetting the sheer, unimaginable agony animals face in the dog & cat meat trades in S. Korea, China, etc. Imagine being skinned alive, and as if that’s not bad enough, cooked while still alive after the skinning. Imagine if it were to happen not just to you (or any reader), but your loved one, your significant other or your kid maybe.

      I’m not suggesting that this should excuse the euthanization of abandoned animals (unless of course it’s for animals in unbearable suffering in which case humane euthanization would be merciful, but that’s another topic), but I really don’t think it’s anywhere nearly as horrible as being skinned and cooked alive. It is unimaginable cruelty, the likes of which is nothing short of a Hell on earth that none of us would *dare* to think too much about it happening to ourselves or our loved ones. But for too long we’ve been submerged in a culture that simply says “Well it’s an animal, so it’s okay.” No, the indescribably horrible torture these animals face is unjustified.

  • RinaJeon

    I also accidentally saw that horrifying terrible video, but what I heard is that that video was took in Philippine not Korea. So you should double check the video source please.

  • John from Daejeon

    RinaJeon, of course this video is from South Korea because Jindo dogs are the national dogs of South Korea and people cannot transport them to other countries. Did you not see the Jindo dog being hanged to death and all the Jindo dogs in those cages awaiting their deaths? If you don’t believe this is still happening in South Korea, I can show you a place east of Daejeon in the mountains by Daecheongho lake at Dabyang-ri where you can see a massive dog farm where the dogs are kept in small cages where they can’t move to keep them tender as the owner told me.

  • JMS

    What about the cows, chickens, fish, squid, rabbits, ducks, pigs, lamb, turkeys, goats, etc.. They all feel pain, they are all killed many times inhumanely. They are animals and are on this earth to provide subsistence. Do you know how many dogs are euthanized each year? So its ok to breed them take them as pets throw them away to be euthanized but to kill them and eat them is wrong. People are outraged because we view dogs as pets, but this practice has been going on far longer than the common practice of taking dogs as pets.

    • fortheloveofdogs

      I am disturbed by the dog meat trade consumption so much that I can no longer eat beef or pork. When I recently learned of this dog meat trade and the abuse these animals go through it made me sick. Yes, to many dogs are euthanized each year and just like people should use birth control pills to stop overpopulation of the world with people, dog owners should spay and neuter their pets to stop the overpopulation of dogs so that they don’t end up in shelters and euthanized. This is not right either. It makes me sick to know that everyday dogs are euthanized (hopefully in a way they won’t feel pain) because they are dumped off in shelters. There is certainly a difference in raising dogs for slaughter and stealing peoples pets for them to be tortured and slaughtered to end up in some idiots belly. My hats off to the Soi dog foundation in Thailand for all they are doing to stop the illegal dog meat trade there. China is another story. I know there are activist there trying to stop the Yulin dog meat festival and I support their efforts and again if I could do more I would to stop this. IT has literally changed my life since learning of this horrific trade. Dogs are intelligent loving animals and in my life they are my family. All my dogs are rescue dogs from shelters. They have given me unconditional love and even if I was starving I would die before eating dog. PLEASE STOP EATING DOG.

      • Linda Hughes

        I agree with all you’ve written. My life has changed also since learning of the abuse so many millions of animals face on a daily basis. whatever I may be doing in the day, I am also thinking of these animals. I donate where I can.

  • anonymous

    If not about “national shame and disgrace”, a racial problem may still exist – “white people” are concerned only about dogs and their ‘own kind’. Keep your eyes closed on every other issue while making other peoples barbarious and “nationally shameful” by constantly talking about cruel dog slaughter for instance. http://firstpeoples.org/wp/3-horrendous-anti-indigenous-laws/

    • Mina Yena

      I am also against animal cruelty but you ve a point on those people not thinking of other s but themselves.They murder people on daily basis and care less ,even to the extent of gunning down african american kids with toy guns by grown irresponsible police.if their own spoiled brats do anything illegal or kill they are quick to give mental problems related excuses. at least Korea doesnt give false hopes on unfulfilled human rights they do beag about.

      • anonymous

        Hi Mina. I’m giving up to talk to these unbearably ethnocentric and egocentric people, if not ‘white’ since they refuse to admit that they’re benefiting from their passive racism by calling others racists and by not admitting their privileges to keep their own ethnocentric view. He even dares say that it’s ‘on behalf of Korean people’ while he hasnt’ lived a single year AS a Korean person who’s likely to face everywhere in the world the questions asked by ‘white people’ about dog eating, North Korea and unfortunately nothing else. So according to his own words, now, it’s very clear that it’s not about dogs themselves but Korean people who have to be blamed ‘disproportionately’ more for the species slaughtered violently happens to be dogs instead of other species. Well, as a vegetarian Korean person concerned about ‘animals’ I do care about dogs themselves but at the same time am very much concerned about the possibility of their ‘humanitarian intervention’ on behalf of dogs, defined as ‘pets’, which effectively means that dogs as a species are THEIR friends while Koreans are a people STILL doing unacceptable ‘barbaric behavior’ to their ‘friends’ – the video linked above ends with a clear reference to the expression ‘barbaric’. What kinds of humanitarian interventions are we facing here? They ignore the fact that Korean public medias have reported the same issue with a very critical view every once in a while and millions of pigs and chickens are buried alive when a relevant epidemic spreads throughout the farmlands, leaving to the people who are assigned the jobs a haunting memory of the killing. To be precise, the latter case is also considered very serious by Korean people and when such things are likely to occur again, they are very much alarmed to prevent it as best as they can. Then why all the time is it specifically about dogs? It’s because dogs are their friends and they don’t feel the same kind of responsibility to Korean PEOPLE as a whole, and to mask their ethnocentric agenda lurking behind, they separate some part and depict them as backward and old people. Please have a look at the response to a comment by the writer of this article on the next one. To them, younger people are ‘enlightened’ enough to be considerate about the animal welfare issue. Well that’s nice, I think, but this savior narrative still remains very unconfortable, and one reason that dog welfare activists are frowned upon by other Koreans who don’t even support the dog meat industry is that they’re taking the same position as teachers of Enlightenment, while ignoring other kinds of social issues possibly due to their middle-classy political and asthetic taste. I’m also quite sure that Chinese people on the other hand would face
        that they are put in the situation by the same folks (I’m not going so
        far as to say’white’ since they refuse to put this proud lable on their
        face) that Chinese restaurants with whom they don’t have any sort of
        connection to are not likely to cook stray cats instead of chicken to
        save money. You know, cats are not raised in farms for human consumption
        and the supply wouldn’t meet the demand. It sometimes seems the people
        (if not ‘white’) who impose such racist stereotypes on others are not
        just capable of doing the basic math before they make such racist jokes.
        Also, please do have a look at the number of sharing of this article. It’s over 1k already. Can you imagine that the same number of sharing is possible if the news story wasn’t about dog eating, which makes a good stuff for a sensationalistic media report like this one? I doubt we’d see the comparable number if the report was about a Furgurson protest or a Palestinian human rights protest (yes both happened in South Korea too) or the history of massacres in the ‘New World’ and ongoing racial discrimination in Canada for instance. By the way, I’m making this response in case you have followed up the ‘responses’ left by a person named Lorne, both here and elsewhere. He confesses that he’s a grammar nazi, which makes it likely that he’d not consider you as a proper conversation party for speakers of English as a second language like us often make grammar mistakes. I’m really curious why they don’t think further that if it wasn’t the efforts to learn English at all no conversation would be possible to begin with.

        • Lorne

          Ahh… there at the end of that rant, is the direct address to me. It is hard to tell, at times though, how much of this rant is being aimed at me directly, except for that bit at the end. Some are aimed at the author, and some at the video. You, anonymous, seem to have attributed many quotes to me that I have never uttered. Care to back those attributions up with some facts or examples?

          In reference to anything based in reality, I will say this: Yes I am a bit of a grammar nazi, and as messed up as English grammar is, I would expect a native speaker with the credentials attributed to him in the “About the Author” section to write a journalistic article correctly. [This is about a different article though.] I would never, and have never, held a second-language learner to that standard, nor would I “not consider you as a proper conversation partner” in any way. You are projecting again. You have a lot of issues regarding non-Koreans, it seems, and white male English teachers in particular, and you are constantly projecting these issues and their biases on me in this discussion. What’s up with that?

    • Lorne

      Wow, that was a really racist and ignorant thing to write. And it was just a bit off topic. I’m guessing that this ‘anonymous’ is the same ‘anonymous’ as above. Just because someone criticizes some aspect of Korea or Korean culture does not immediately mean that the culture or country they are a product of is without flaws. Grow up and argue rationally instead of whining like a child.

    • fortheloveofdogs

      It is not racial it is called being human. I do not discriminate and I am far from racial. I don’t care what
      nation or color your skin is. Torture of loving dogs who trust humans, love humans unconditionally is not right. Have you ever owned a dog as a pet ?? My dogs are my family.. Would you torture, slit the throat, electrocute, smack the head of you sister, brother, daughter ?? MY dogs are my life and to see dogs being treated this way is sick. Your right it is not a Korean issue it is a human issue. This type of human behavior sucks.

  • michellyoh

    Yes, chickens, cows, and pigs are killed for food but no matter the animal they don’t deserve to be killed in this manner. Anyone who does this needs to get psychiatric help.

  • anonymous

    I think now it’s enough for me with this media, which seems more or less like a pro-WASP liberals. Also, it seems Canadian people are not able to deal with their baby seals slaughtering issue while with such a naivity believing that making a media coverage like this one ‘viral’ and humiliating a whole target nation will be helpful to improve the horrible situation of the dogs happened to be born in Korea. Also, I did see the bizzare scenes of seal slaughtering yet have never blamed a single Canadian person for that, nor have I ever said that it was time to push up the button of nationalistic sentiment of Canadian people by justifying it from my own personal experience of the South Park-ish stereotypes floating around and being imposed on the Canadian people. For the Canadians who shouldn’t to be blamed for this, I am deeply sorry, and please let me remind you that I’ve been specifically referring to someone who can keep such a naive perspective and at the same time be proud enough to say openly that he’s a professor, possibly for being a native English speaker. Yes, I may look like a little bit ‘personalizing’ if that’s what some commentors here are trying to argue, but in that case, let me also remind you that it is me and other Koreans’ persons who have to deal with the stereotype of Korean people as backward dog eaters and killers. In case there are animal rights activists from former colonies of England who sincerely care about the dogs, please take all the dogs with you to your country and euthanize them because you’ll see that there is a shortage of new poster homes (yes it’s happening and even PETA isn’t free from the conviction of doing the same thing) even though they hold such a big territory and abundant natural resources acquired by their ancestors’s or at least their nation’s founding fathers’ massacres of numerous native peoples there. How convenient is it to keep such an individualizing strategy. They have no trouble in suggesting that Koreans tend to be somewhat ‘nationalistic’ when in fact the people are trying to be responsible for the problems they are not directly responsible for – of course they could have taken this all-too-convenient individualistic standpoint too. On the other hand, they freely choose to take this strategy to set themselves free from their historical responsibility while collecting every bit of the privilege allowed to them as the descendent of former colonizers, with the same precision as a tax collector. I also appreciate someone for teaching me that I still need to grow up while in reality I’m getting old. I have simply talked about a well-known historical fact and am amazed that I can be called a racist while the person doesn’t see a problem at all by pretending to be a protector of a nation where barbaric things happen. Poor dogs… they’ll be a lot better off if one 10th of the money spent on English education and to pay the middle class NGO activists can be channelled to them and the people who have no other means to make their living and are blamed to be in this bloody industry.

    • Lorne

      Some, if not all, of your vitriol is directed at me, I assume, since I outed myself as a Canadian and handed you the baby seal issue, so I will respond.

      1) You should blame Canadians in Canada for the baby seal hunt because they are passively allowing it to happen. I do. Generating national disgrace and shame is one of the only ways people will be motivated to do something about the issue. I don’t understand why you can’t see that.

      2) Ah, it appears you are not referring to me, since I have never said I was a professor or an English teacher, which, coincidentally, I am not. Your bias is showing.

      3) Why are you so butt-hurt about people saying this is a terrible practice? You say you are a vegetarian and I believe you think this is an unacceptable practice. We are on the same team here. I will state it again, clearly: The manner in which these animals are tortured is shameful and needs to stop. All your Western cultural and historical comparisons and finger-pointing are completely irrelevant and only reinforce your victim mentality point of view.

      4) I didn’t call you a racist. I said, and I quote: “that was a really racist and ignorant thing to write” which it was. And, historical accuracy or not, it is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. This discussion was about motivating a nation to stop the terrible practice or torturing animals for food. Again, I will never say that Canada or any other nation is blameless or without its flaws, no nation or culture is. This is about a specific issue in Korea. What does past British colonialism have to do with it? Nothing.

      5) I said “grow up” because you are not arguing the point of discussion here. In this latest comment you have made, the only reference to the whole issue that you actually mentioned is how you have to deal with the Korean stereotype of being “backward dog eaters”, a stereotype I have not once projected on you or ever, in fact. The rest of your argument is, as I have said above and before, completely irrelevant to the issue. You are just hurt and lashing out with things you don’t like in other countries because some apparently white non-Korean criticized an aspect of Korean culture that you apparently don’t like either. That, to me, smacks of being a childish reaction, although a sadly typical one.

      Any further arguments you want to make, address me directly. Drop the passive-aggressive “some commentators” bullshit, anonymous.

      • anonymous

        I hope I could discuss with you more in detail about many things, but I’ve just found out that this website doesn’t allow to leave comments when the browser is set to block cookies. Not directly related to this website in my case – it’s just that I changed the security settings of my browser last night. Glad to know more about this website! I wonder if it’s a technical issue or because the people who are running this website want to get something from their visitors. Alas, even reading an article and discussing about it are not free in this world.

        Anyways, the reason I intentionally mixed up many issues is to encourage you to ‘feel’ how it is like to be handled by other people who project prejudices on you. Perhaps you have had many such experiences on your own. However, what I’ve felt while reading your first comment was exactly this, no matter how both you and the author hope to present yourselves caring Korean people and respecting ‘cultural difference’. You may have lived in South Korea for over 20 years. So have I, and also, AS a Korean unlike you do. It’s really disturbing and energy consuming to respond every dull question directed to me both in Korea and in other countries only because I said that I’m a Korean person. It’s within the pretty expectable range – all about North Korea and dog eatings. Why do North Koreans cry so crazy when their dictator was dead? Do you really eat dogs in Korea? (On top of this, “at least Korean restaurants don’t cook cats” and so on.)

        You think raising a national humiliation is a good strategy to end up the violent treatment of dogs (I wouldn’t say ‘barbaric’ for as far as I’m aware of, it is the word with an implication of degrees and levels of civilization, no matter you like it or not). One downside of such negative political actions is that it always have a possibility of backfiring, which I have experienced in writing the comments above. Yes it may appear that the stereotypes I used in the previous comments are a bit random – because I chose them randomly just to show that another relevant point in the issue is about stereotypes, which are usually random attributions, in any context. But not of them are entirely random.

        I disagree that humiliation is a good way to deal with the problem. The nationalistic sentiment can evolve either way – some people may feel that they are responsible to change the situation because they hope to appear more ‘civilized’ to the Anglo-Saxon standards on proper dogs’ treatment while others may feel that such ‘alien’ standards are imposed on them due to the hierarchy between the cultures. This is why I pointed out that this dog meat industry issue is not completely free from the racial and cultural prejudice issues. Simply put – some people may feel that they don’t want to be told about anything related to dogs by foreigners, more specifically, ‘white people’. Here I’m not using the word ‘white people’ with a biological implication – I’m rather using it with a fairly well-established relation between one’s appearance and his/her cultural values and standards.

        In the same vein, I don’t think it is a good way to humiliate Canadian people as a whole for the slaughtering of the seals. I haven’t even recognized, as a matter of fact, that it was a Canadian thing, although I have seen the pictures many times so far. I did see that the hunter (killer, to get even with this dog issue) was a ‘white’ person yet my sympathy rather works like, oh, humans can be so cruel, and we need to stop this. In case of dogs, about which species ‘white people’ tend to deny that they are ‘pets’ rather than another, either as an individual or as an agent of a specific culture, can maintain their safe positions as ‘at least we do not treat, kill and dogs in that way’ and it is a Korean thing, which isn’t true either. Now you may see that why your response triggered a rage in me? I don’t think it’s particularly a Korean thing, for to claim that my base identity is Korean, I’ll have to alienate people with different ethnic and national backgrounds and I want to refuse this position. Also, I’ve met so far many people with diverse ethnic and national backgrounds, but it happened to be ‘white people’ (more precisely Anglo-Saxons) who ask ‘lame’ questions about dog eating and North Korea. So no, this isn’t completely irrelevant. To be ‘scientific’ yes I’ll have to provide some reliable evidence to show that it’s a ‘white people’s thing’. You may rummage into many books and literature on pet raising around the world and this cultural attitude toward dogs isn’t far less universal than you expect. (There’s even scholarly works suggesting that dogs have been substitute of more expensive pets, that is, human children in English culture. So no wonder that Anglo-Saxon white world is rather obsessed with the notion of dogs as pets. There must be some post-colonial issues in the standpoint that the author of this article holds for instance.)

        You may call my previous comments ‘rants’. That’s how you feel, but while saying that they’re ‘rantings’ and I’m holding a victim’s perspective. I don’t think that’s very considerate. Yes of course I have been a victim of the prejudices projected on me and it’s not relevant whether you’re doing it or not. What really bothers me is, like I said several times, that you naively (as I see it) believe that ‘letting the world know more about this will stop’. It isn’t for many reasons. Most people who’d share this article would be English speakers. They can consume it with sensationalist appetite that “Oh such brutal things happen in Korea! It really was true that they are dog eaters!” and they’d secretly enjoy watching the violent scenes. Well why not. Such critiques are common in other contexts too, be it related to war or anything else. Many Koreans on the other hand are well aware of the fact.

        By the way, I still do think you’re benefiting from being a native English speaker. It’s well known that the reason the universities want to hire English speaking staffs because they are forced to meet the ‘international standard’ of academic rankings and research quality and productivity which in turn is based on very much bias toward the English language. You may say that you attained your position for your academic merits as compared to other English speaking competitors yet you really can’t say that to people who are not native English speakers.

        To wrap up – you can keep your position that dog treatment forms a separate issue free from other social and political factors. In this case, I suspect that your perspective is ethnocentric. Far from being irrational and emotional, (well I am but that’s more like a spice and a rhetoric added on it from my perspective), I’m keeping arguing that you can’t handle it as if it were a problem of animal rights only. It has been highly charged of all sorts of political issues. You need to have a sociological perspective to approach this issue. You still need to show why dogs are all the time the favoured topic for media coverage rather than other animals. Why do you keep silent about pigs and chickens for instance? Isn’t it because the right is about dogs’ rights rather than animal rights in general? Can you reasonably clear up the suspect? Your response so far doesn’t look like so. Also, you can’t be so sure that a report like this won’t produce the cultural prejudices I’m concerned and worried about. You don’t have to worry about the negative results because you can just distance yourself by saying that you don’t have the prejudice. I think it’s pretty fair to expect it to happen. It seems like non-Koreans are not concerned about that and want to keep insist that it’s dog’s issue only. You don’t have to go through such consequences whereas I have to no matter I like it or not or if I’m a vegetarian at all.

        So I doubt if I’m on the same side with you. I do see that the treatment of dogs in the video posted above is horrible enough and I’m willing to watch it again and again even though it does trigger pain in myself, because I am concerned about the problem and the pain is a toll I have to pay to be more engaged. So I have my own standpoint to say that it’s wrong but I don’t think you are the right partner to be on the same side. I say it’s wrong because I can judge it by myself on different grounds. I don’t enjoy being forced to say that yes I do think it’s wrong following this article’s author and you for you are mixing more political agendas into this issue.

        Also, if you’re going to blame that my position is rather passive-aggressive please enjoy your individual freedom to think so. You may call me ‘childish’ too, but in that case, let me remind you that you’re exactly doing the same thing even without realising it in another way. You evade to address the kinds of political dimensions surrounding this messy and high charged political issue by insisting that it’s dog’s problem only and the game’s over when I accept that it’s cruel. That’s exactly what appears ethnocentric to me, and I feel like I have just met yet another case of ‘white male arrogance and egocentrism’. I think I have better things to do than to continue an argument like this one, like I have had numerously so far. It’s interesting that women (regardless of their ‘skin color’) tend to get the idea right away without any problem at least in my experience.

        So, farewell to The Korea Observer, until you fix your cookie policy.

        • Lorne

          Thank you anonymous for this response. Now we are getting somewhere! This is excellent. To your points. Rest assured I know what it is like to have prejudices projected on me; I have lived in Korea for 20+ years. It happens every day. And yes, it is really tedious to deal with answering to stereotypes, again, a daily occurrence with me. People are amazed that I can use chopsticks, that I can read Hangeul (after I have been speaking in Korean with them for two hours), etc. Believe me, I get it. I see now though, where this whole thing derailed. I was not projecting prejudices or stereotypes on Koreans, other than that feeling of “national shame” which is rather inexplicable to me. I wanted that feeling to trigger a response to bring about change. I did not mean international humiliation, as you have implied, but as I said “national shame and disgrace” which is entirely internal.

          In your fourth paragraph, you said, “I disagree that humiliation is a good way to deal with the problem.” and NOW we are on the topic. (I wish we could have avoided the previous, angry comments and just gotten to this.) I can understand that you feel there are racial biases in the argument, but I will do my best to assure you there are not. I firmly believe that clubbing an animal almost to death, then slitting its throat, and burning it alive are barbaric, inhuman, and contemptible practices and the only people I consider to be barbaric, inhumane, and contemptible are the people who carry them out, not the culture or country from within which they are carried out, especially when such actions are, by and large, considered unacceptable by that culture or country. We will have to agree to disagree on whether public humiliation is a good motivating factor: you feel it is not, and I feel it is. Onwards!

          That stupid white people keep asking you stupid questions is probably inevitable. I think it would be correct to say, though, that stupid people ask you stupid questions and just leave the race/colour out of it. It would be racist of me to say that stupid Koreans ask me stupid questions… it is just stupid people and stupid questions.

          This part: “Most people who’d share this article would be English speakers. They can consume it with sensationalist appetite that “Oh such brutal things happen in Korea! It really was true that they are dog eaters!” and they’d secretly enjoy watching the violent scenes.” is problematic and prejudicial. Fine, you think my view of this is naive and that is your opinion, and I have already agreed to disagree on that. Your assumption of the response to this article is indicative of the victim mentality I mentioned earlier, and if that term offended you, well, I can’t think of another one to use. Koreans, as a group and as a stereotype, resort to this kind of response often. However, I was not suggesting that Korea be held up to international ridicule, I was suggesting that Koreans stand up here and demand an end to this. I can’t do it, since the terms of the Korean Constitution forbid me from any “political activity”, so all I can do is shout from the sidelines.

          The part about academic merits and so forth is irrelevant to this conversation and, frankly, I don’t understand it anyway. If you are referring to the notice on the other article, it was that the by-line was attributed to a native speaker, yet it appears a second-language speaker wrote it. I can only go by the information as it is presented.

          And to wrap up myself, I am NOT advocating that dogs be given preferential treatment, or that the practice of dog meat eating be banned, not at all. I object to the inhumane practices used in the killing of the animals, and I would strenuously object to such practices if they were used on any other animal, be it a food animal or not. That is all I am objecting to, that’s it. I am not bringing politics, history, or cultural prejudice into it, only my firm belief that as a human being, I believe this practice must stop. All of the other things you were upset with me about were, in my mind, irrelevant to the issue. I see your point that you have to answer these stupid questions all the time, and for that I feel sorry for you, that would suck. I know it does, because I do it all the damned time, only for different issues.

          Hopefully we can end this on a much better note. I now, more clearly understand your motives for bringing in all sorts of other issues, and I hope I have made myself clear. I only care (in this situation) about ending the torture of these animals. Moving on to industrial farming of other animals, that is a different issue.

          Please have a good day 🙂

          • Lorne

            This reply was deleted and re-written. Please ignore it. I don’t know why it is appearing here as a “guest” post. I hope the moderator of this site will delete it, and this post as well as soon as possible.

        • Lorne

          [Edit: How embarrassing. You are right. I was advocating international embarrassment. That is not the right way to go about things and I apologize for that. I deleted my original response and have re-written it in light of that.]

          Thank you anonymous for this response. Now we are getting somewhere! This is excellent. To your points. Rest assured I know what it is like to have prejudices projected on me; I have lived in Korea for 20+ years. It happens every day. And yes, it is really tedious to deal with answering to stereotypes, again, a daily occurrence with me. People are amazed that I can use chopsticks, that I can read Hangeul (after I have been speaking in Korean with them for two hours), etc. Believe me, I get it. I see now though, where this whole thing derailed. I was not projecting prejudices or stereotypes on Koreans, other than that feeling of “national shame” which is rather inexplicable to me. I wanted that feeling to trigger a response to bring about change. I will say, in retrospect though, that calling for international humiliation is the wrong way to go about that, and I apologize.

          In your fourth paragraph, you said, “I disagree that humiliation is a good way to deal with the problem.” and NOW we are on the topic. (I wish we could have avoided the previous, angry comments and just gotten to this.) I can understand that you feel there are racial biases in the argument, but I will do my best to assure you there are not. I firmly believe that clubbing an animal almost to death, then slitting its throat, and burning it alive are barbaric, inhuman, and contemptible practices and the only people I consider to be barbaric, inhumane, and contemptible are the people who carry them out, not the culture or country from within which they are carried out, especially when such actions are, by and large, considered unacceptable by that culture or country. Onwards!

          That stupid white people keep asking you stupid questions is probably inevitable. I think it would be correct to say, though, that stupid people ask you stupid questions and just leave the race/colour out of it. It would be racist of me to say that stupid Koreans ask me stupid questions… it is just stupid people and stupid questions.

          This part: “Most people who’d share this article would be English speakers. They can consume it with sensationalist appetite that “Oh such brutal things happen in Korea! It really was true that they are dog eaters!” and they’d secretly enjoy watching the violent scenes.” is problematic and prejudicial. Fine, you think my view of this is naive and that is your opinion, and I have already agreed to disagree on that. Your assumption of the response to this article is indicative of the victim mentality I mentioned earlier, and if that term offended you, well, I can’t think of another one to use. Koreans, as a group and as a stereotype, resort to this kind of response often. And again, calling for international shame is not the right way and for that I apologize again. I had intended only to provoke internal shame in order to bring about change.

          The part about academic merits and so forth is irrelevant to this conversation and, frankly, I don’t understand it anyway. If you are referring to the notice on the other article, it was that the by-line was attributed to a native speaker, yet it appears a second-language speaker wrote it. I can only go by the information as it is presented.

          And to wrap up myself, I am NOT advocating that dogs be given preferential treatment, or that the practice of dog meat eating be banned, not at all. I object to the inhumane practices used in the killing of the animals, and I would strenuously object to such practices if they were used on any other animal, be it a food animal or not. That is all I am objecting to, that’s it. It is my firm belief that as a human being, I believe this practice must stop. All of the other things you were upset with me about were, in my mind, irrelevant to the issue, but I see your point that you have to answer these stupid questions all the time, and for that I feel sorry for you, that would suck. I know it does, because I do it all the damned time, only for different issues.

          Hopefully we can end this on a much better note. I now, more clearly understand your motives for bringing in all sorts of other issues, and I hope I have made myself clear. I only care (in this situation) about ending the torture of these animals. Moving on to industrial farming of other animals, that is a different issue.

          Please have a good day 🙂

  • Fortheloveofdogs

    This is unacceptable. Shame on Korea and all countries that eat dog and torture and abuse dogs for human consumption. This is sick. I would never go to Korea. It makes Korea and all Asian countries look bad in the eyes of the rest of the world that do this. It is so flipping wrong. Dogs are loving creatures who love unconditionally. They are man’s best friend. It is sick I feel we are living in hell. PLEASE wake up and be human. Every time I think of Asian people now all I can think of is Dog meat killers and eaters. I gives me nightmares and if I could save them all I would. I would rather save those dogs than any of those people. Shame on all of these people and a society and culture that allows it. I know some Asian people are against this trade and are activists trying to stop it. Please change your ways to all those who think it is ok to kill and torture dogs. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AND NEEDS TO STOP..

    • meat eater

      Come on! just one try. Quite tender and better than horse meat. Why don’t you say something about eating pork? It’s consider a dirty animal, but that ‘s okay right? Because you should be ashamed of yourself if you do!

      • Rita Ross

        meat eater. No one said it was OK to eat pork (pig). What is wrong with you, except that you repeat the same tired, dull refrain all you fatuous robots come up with. Pigs are not dirty. That they may roll in dirt is to cool off.

      • vyshs

        In Americ we have the FDA and Humane Society. I’ve read tons of articles about farms getting shut down and people going to jail and that’s the way it should be in Korea to Be honest if eating dog is apart of the history and culture then by all means who am I to tell you no. But have some compassion geeshh

      • Adrian Shiva

        The dogs/cats in in the dog/cat meat torture trade are not even just killed — they’re tortured horribly, routinely, each and every one of them, by way of being slowly skinned while alive from face to anus before being either roasted alive or cooked alive. A deliberate point is made to make them live for as long as possible to suffer as greatly as possible. This is thanks to very old superstitions that range from “the greater their suffering, the tastier the meat” to supposedly increased blessings of luck and “male virility” for the eater — though some studies have shown that dog meat actually *reduces* male virility.

      • yj

        you should be ashamed of trolling here

  • Stefanie

    Only two ways to stop this industry (and to better the conditions of other animals in the farm industry).

    1. Lack of profit. No money, no one will go into these businesses.

    2. Strong bans and fines that are enforced.

    Dog soup started out of famine and starvation. It is quickly falling out of favor with the majority of Koreans. Soon the profits will dry up except for a few “famous” restaurants. If the government makes it too costly and risky to use real dog meat, they will switch to beef as an alternative. I had this soup once (before I knew about how it was made) and I didn’t see much difference with beef.

    Korea has a re-active government and usually the only way to make any changes is to embarrass it. Look at the Sewol accident. Now they are actually concerned about safety. I saw a public school teacher send a first grader onto the roof, with no railing, to get a shoe another kid threw out there. The principal laughed when we brought him some kids who were playing on said roof. Also think about Korea’s reputation as a baby-selling country and their current adoption laws. Those laws are not to better the chances for the children but to make the country look better internationally.

    Things don’t change unless there is a tragedy or a giant embarrassment here. Sad but true.

    • Adrian Shiva

      Very well said, and very true, Stefanie.

  • Wendye Kolles

    Every companion animal should be a VALUED member of a wonderful family who give them the love, care, attention, affection, protection and RESPECT they so richly deserve. God bless ALL animals, their environments and the people who are passionate about them! xo xo xo xo xo xo

  • Anne

    Yes this has to be exposed and show these people for what is! The government needs to act with responsibility and nurture a compassionate society. Shut down this disgusting criminal activity which runs against every shred of humanity! You are encouraging criminal gangs to rule this society .

  • Cynthia Mattera

    Just despicable, evil and greedy are these people who treat these beautiful animals like garbage. They live in filth, they die a gruesome death, tortured and burned. This needs to stop!! So inhumane, cruel and sick!!

  • shilohbloo

    This is an evil, horrific, sorrowful world. :'( Abuse is the ultimate betrayal towards any living soul and absolutely heartbreaking all the way around. You simply can not do such a horrific thing without it killing the best in you. Period. But in case there are any out there who couldn’t care less about torturing animals – which says a lot about you, as well – then think on this: If you find people happily willing to hurt an animal in any way, they are actually finding a venue to act out their deepest, most inner evil fantasies of twisted sickness. There’s nothing more revolting than that. Aside from this, it has been proven over and over again that people who have horrid intents with animals, get bored with them soon enough, ultimately leading them to bigger prey, moving up to people, in order to re-ignite and enhance the excitement that the torturing of animals used to provide. It’s simply never enough. And do not forget, these horrendous monsters also end up raising their children in “the game”, breeding evil, little sickos to continue on “the trade”… no doubt causing abuse in every level of their lives, as well. It’s just a revolting cycle that will never end until someone gets into it and breaks the heart-wrenching pattern. So, even if an animal is not of your utmost concern, then note that it will not stop there. It is just a start. And it is just a matter of time.

  • shilohbloo

    Torture is inexcusable. Period. Nobody, and I mean nobody, needs to torture an animal – even if they feel the need to eat it. That, in and of itself, shows the person’s true character – or lack of. *TORTURE IS NOT CULTURE!!*

  • shilohbloo

    A righteous man regards the life of animals.” – PROVERBS 12:10; “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” – ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI; “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.; “I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs… (They) are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no rights to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty….” – JAMES HARRIOT; “The greatness of a nation & its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated… I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection of man from the cruelty of man.” – MAHATMA GANDHI

  • skye

    I have no words for this cruelty … unspeakable and has to stop now!

  • Maury Pedro

    OH mY dOG gOD Must stop that Dogs are Gods Korea is hell

  • Anon Y. Mous

    Didn’t read the article, but those pics sure made my mouth water. Yum yum!

  • Peter

    O m g

  • Kate Crooks

    I totally agree with the previous post. This story needs to be publicised so as to shame those responsible and put pressure on their government to enforce their laws.

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