JAY SEO WRITES – Claiming previous laws were so vague as to be unenforceable, a prominent animal rights proponent this summer proposed legislation to once and for all make eating dog and cat meat illegal.

It’s traditional among older South Koreans to eat bosintang, a type of dog meat soup, at an annual event called Bok-nal in July and August. Fans believe eating the soup on the hottest day of summer has a cooling effect. And while there is no medical evidence backing this up, seniors tend to eat it as much out of respect for tradition as for its alleged health benefits.

The proposed law, put forward by Democratic Party member Pyo Chang Won, who chairs the Animal Welfare Committee, has not surprisingly upset some Korean elders. But the biggest opposition may come from farmers and breeders, who say the change could put them out of business.

Pyo Chang Won suggested an amendment to the current animal welfare laws that would illegalize the dog meat industry.

Animal rights activists flatly reject the claims, and counter that dog are being raised solely to be eaten, and are often slaughtered using the cruelest of methods. Because dog meat eaters believe the meat tastes better when the dog dies slowly and cruelly, the dogs are usually beaten, hanged, or boiled alive. They experience extreme fear and suffering before death.

The first animal protection law in South Korea was created on May 7, 1991. Ever since it was passed, the South Korean government has revised and strengthened the animal welfare law, increasing penalties for animal cruelty. The revisions were aimed at valuing the lives of animals by imposing responsibility on animal owners and requiring researchers to use the least cruel methods available in animal testing.

South Korea had plenty of legislation governing the protection of animals before Pyo Chang Won jumped into the picture, but the language of those past laws were so vague and the punishment so light that the laws were practically “unenforceable.” This newest amendment seeks to remedy those flaws with more precise language and tougher punishments for the violators. If passed, it could ultimately save thousands of dogs’ lives annually.

Sign the petition to illegalize the dog and cat meat industry in South Korea here.

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