Korean Dog Meat Festival Stirs Controversy

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Claiming that it would “help promote the fact that dogs are raised like cows, pigs and other livestock at sanitary facilities for human consumption,” the Korea Dog Farmers’ Association announced plans for the “2011 Dog Meat Festival” to be held in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, on July 1.

The proposed event drew instant fire from animal activists and concerned citizens who worried that it would tarnish global perceptions of Korea and its people. Shortly after announcing the festival, organizers were forced to cancel it, largely in part due to animal rights groups vowing to use ‘whatever means necessary’ to disrupt the event.

Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth president Park So-young told The Korean Times, “We are prepared to break the law if that is the only way to stop the festival from taking place. It is just absurd to organize such an event. The organizers must be insane. The festival will definitely hurt Korea’s international image and discourage many foreigners from coming here.”

Under current Korean law, the butchering of dogs or sale of their meat is illegal because they are not classified as livestock. The Korea Dog Farmers’ Association says they are working hard to have that changed.

“The purpose of organizing the upcoming festival was to encourage more people to consume dog meat. Due to animal rights groups’ movement against the consumption, Koreans now eat less, hurting the bottom line of many dog farmers like myself. But this has to change because dogs are just like other livestock and raised in a sanitary environment,” said Choi Young-in, secretary general of the Korea Dog Farmers’ Association.

Previous attempts by the Korean government to have dogs reclassified as livestock have met overwhelming opposition from home and abroad, but the Dog Farmers’ Association is not ready to give in to public pressure: they are already making plans to hold the event in another location in the future.