The South Koreans have eaten dog meat for centuries. ‘Bosintang’ was once thought to boost the diner’s sexual potency like the oyster, asparagus and fig do for the Westerner. However, the South Korean appetite for dog is waning and with the decline has begun a gradual exodus of production-line dogs.
The Humane Society International (HSI), a global charity for the protection of animals around the world visited a dog farm in the town of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea in October 2018. Representatives agreed with the owner that he should downsize his operation and release 200 dogs in the process.
‘I’ve wanted to stop dog farming for a while but I didn’t know how to make it happen,’ the owner Mr Lee told The Telegraph. He also said that once the farm was finally closed he would dedicate the land to a, ‘medicinal herb farm’.
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Escape from Gyeonggi-do
Among the dogs rescued were a mother and her puppies and various breeds of dog including spaniels, collies and retrievers. HSI arranged for eight puppies to be flown to the UK in time for adoption at Christmas and others to be sent to shelter homes in the US, Canada and the Netherlands.
Generally speaking, it is young Koreans who are bringing a change of their country’s tastes; many are opposed to a business that kills one million dogs a year for human consumption. But there also appears to be a cultural change, and increasingly questions are asked of the morality of the dog meat trade: a new law was passed in May 2018 that withdrew the legality of dog meat ‘factories’.
Spokeswoman for HSI Wendy Higgins told The Telegraph: ‘There is certainly momentum building within South Korea for an end to the dog meat trade, with very vocal animal groups exposing the cruelty and increasingly politicians also speaking out.’