South Korea Shuts Down One Of Its Biggest Dog Meat Markets

The dog meat trade is becoming increasingly unpopular in the country. This latest closure has been branded a major victory - with campaigners saying the Korean dog meat industry 'is starting to fall'
Activist rescues dog from meat market
Campaigners were able to rescue more than 80 dogs (Photo: Jean Chung/For HSI)

One of South Korea's biggest dog meat markets has been shut down by authorities, in what campaigners have branded the 'end of a gruesome era'.

More than 80 dogs were rescued from the Gupo market which sold chilled dog meat as well as live dogs killed to order. Their release was negiotiated with dog meat vendors who will be offered compensation to 'set up alternative businesses as part of a remodeling project to regenerate the area'.

The shutdown of Gupo follows the demolition of the country's largest dog slaughterhouse in November last year, and the closure of most of the related dog meat vendors.

Closure

However, according to campaigners, the closure of Gupo was the first where complete agreement was reached between the vendors and local authorities.

Busan's Mayor Geodon Oh and the Head of Gu office, Myung Hee Chung, negotiated with dog traders to reach a solution.

They also worked with animal charities including Humane Society International/Korea, Korean Animal Welfare Association, Korea Animal Rights Advocates and Busan Korean Alliance for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to close the market and rehome the rescued animals.

Activist rescues dog from meat market
The closure has been branded a victory by campaigners (Photo: Jean Chung/For HSI)

'Really upsetting'

Humane Society International/Korea's rescue team, alongside partners KARA, KAWA and Busan KAPCA, was on site to assist the closure and rescue.

"The dog market scene was really upsetting, with dogs displayed in cages in front of each store. The smell was overwhelming.  HSI has closed down 14 dog meat farms in South Korea and rescued nearly 1,800 dogs, all of whom would have ended up in a terrible place just like this," HSI/Korea's Nara Kim said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.

"All the dogs at Gupo have been removed and transported to a temporary shelter where they will recover from their ordeal. A few will remain in Korea to find new homes, but HSI will fly all the others overseas to Canada or the United States to get the love and care they deserve before being placed with shelter and rescue partners who will seek adoptive homes."

'Long-awaited victory'

"The permanent shutdown of Gupo dog meat market is a long-awaited victory against animal cruelty in our campaign to end the dog meat trade in South Korea. We will now step forward to call for the shutdown of Chil-seong market, another large dog meat market in Daegu," added Cho Hee-kyung, President of Korean Animal Welfare Association.

Yim Soonrye of Korea Animal Rights Advocates, said: "Dog slaughterhouses are collapsing one by one, from Seongnam Moran Market to Taepyeong-dong and Busan Gupo Market, and in addition Gyeonggi Province has introduced its own judicial polices to crack down on illegal dog slaughterhouses.

"This all shows that the Korean dog meat industry is starting to fall...We welcome the decision made by Busan Metropolitan City and the merchants of Gupo, and believe that the shutdown of Gupo dog market will be a major stepping stone towards ending dog meat in Korea."

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers. She was previously the editor of Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.

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