Daniel Tieu
Daniel Tieu campaign leader

Dog meat consumption does have a long history in South Korea—an archaeological dig in Changnyeong traces the practice as far back as the Neolithic period. However, it did not become commonplace until the Korean War, when widespread starvation forced the population to take advantage of all possible food sources. Rather than dwindling as the country developed, the dog meat trade rode the wave of South Korea’s postwar industrial boom. Even as the nation has become a major global player, climbing to 15 in the world for nominal GDP, the government has yet to fully adopt the animal protection standards of other developed nations.

While the practice has a strong foothold, dog meat consumption remains relatively marginal, and the younger generations are gradually seeing dog meat consumption for what it is: inhumane. In a 2007 survey by South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, 59% of respondents under the age of 30 said they would not eat dog meat. In a 2009 survey of Korean nationals, 60% of respondents were in favor of using dogs as pets or companions, and 55% were against the use of dogs as food for humans (Journal of Social Issues).

Even so, a combination of backward beliefs, misconceptions about dogs, misplaced nationalism, and profitability has made it singularly difficult to eradicate the dog trade completely. IAKA works to end South Korea’s dog meat industry by organizing international campaigns that advocate for stronger animal protection laws.

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