Inside South Korea’s dog meat trade (contains drastic images) (47 pictures)

This graphic album contains images detailing the practices of South Korea’s dog meat trade. It is estimated that the $2 billion dollar-a-year industry slaughters approximately 2.5 million dogs and about 100,000 cats per year. The animals are used to create soups and “health tonics.” Because of conflicting laws and the very definition of what a dog is—livestock vs. non-livestock—dog and cat meat is neither legal nor illegal but inhabits “a legal blind spot” in South Korea. Dr. Tae-Yung Kim, Ph.D., director of the General Animal Health Division, of the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF), has said that “there are no legal grounds for the practice of eating dogs in Korea. A vacuum exists in our legal framework.” MIFAFF does not recognize dog meat as legal, but the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW), which controls dog meat post-slaughter, does, creating a legal “grey area”. Some historians claim that dog has been eaten in Korea from antiquity, while others claim that, even during desperate times, the consumption of dog was not a dietary tradition and was created sometime in the last century for mythical health benefits regarding virility. Many younger South Koreans do not approve of the slaughter and consumption of dogs, due in part to the influence from the wider world regarding dogs’ roles as companions in society and not as food. Despite this, many political elite enjoy eating dog, making attempts to ban or regulate the dog meat trade difficult in South Korea.

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