South Korean Assembly due to vote on plans to strengthen animal welfare law after a petition signed by over 450,000 people from 230 countries was handed to Assemblyman Pyo Chang-Won, who is the South Korean Chairman of the Animal Welfare Committee.
The Assembly announced intentions to strengthen laws governing the treatment and protection of animals in the country by introducing a three-point plan designed to impose stricter penalties for animal cruelty in a move which has been seen by local and international animal welfare organisations as the first step towards banning the sale and consumption of dog meat in the country.
Announcing plans at a media conference, Assemblyman Pyo Chang-Won was supported by Nami Kim, founder of Save Korean Dogs, John Dalley, co-founder and president of Thai-based Soi Dog Foundation, Chris DeRose of Last Chance for Animals, and Kevin Bright, film and documentary producer and director, all of whom have given the country’s animals a voice and pushed for change.
The proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Law include:
- Significantly increased penalties for breaches of existing law
- Greater clarity regarding what actually constitutes violations of the law
- Allowing for the confiscation of animals deemed at risk by members of the public
This development is being viewed by many as a precursor to the outright banning of the dog meat industry, in a country where between two and three million farmed dogs are killed and eaten each year.
Over 17,000 dog meat farms currently exist in South Korea, with the dog meat trade itself seen as a blight on the social and economic status of the country.
John Dalley of Soi Dog Foundation, who presented Assemblyman Pyo Chang-Won with the petition says, “We will continue to work with South Korea’s Animal Welfare committee to see the Bill’s amendments brought into law, as well as continue public awareness and education campaigns to bring greater awareness to the inhumane dog meat industry here. South Korea is one of the world’s leading nations in virtually every field, including being voted the world’s most innovative country. Yet in one area it lags far behind, and that area is animal welfare.”
As Mahatma Gandhi once famously quoted “The greatness and moral progress of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Sadly, the image of Korea internationally is all too often tarnished by the cruelty and inhumanity shown by a small minority of its people, and thought of by many as an undeveloped nation as a result.”
Assemblyman Pyo Chang-Won is expected to present the proposed legislative changes to the Animal Welfare Law to the South Korean Assembly at the end of February 2017.