The South Korean government did not win any friends among animal rights activists when it moved in March to formally regulate — and de facto legalize — the dog meat industry in that country.
The killing of dogs for food currently exists in a quasi-legal status in South Korea. There are several bans on specific methods of killing dogs, but there is no ban per se on killing and selling dogs for meat. The result is that dogs are killed and sold for meat, but the production of dog meat is largely unregulated and ignored.
According to the Korea Times, the South Korean cabinet announced in March that it would draw up a series of regulations intended to regulate the killing of dogs for meat in order to ensure dog meat being sold in the country is processed in a safe manner.
The Korea Times quoted an unnamed official as saying,
To legalize the dog meat trade, the law on livestock slaughtering should be revised to included dogs. But last week’s decision is only intended at thoroughly controlling the hygiene standard of dog meat, which is considered as food in reality.
I take that to mean that the government recognizes that a ban on dog meat simply wouldn’t work and it is better off regulating dog meat rather than cracking down on it and driving it further underground, which might lead to even poor standards for killing and processing of dog meat than currently exist in South Korea.
This did not go over well with the Korea Animal Protection Society which issued a press release saying, in part,
Setting a hygiene standard on dog meat means nothing but legalizing the dog meat industry. We cannot believe ethe government is moving to legalize the dog-eating practice of some Koreans, which is not only harmful to national interests but also disgraceful and reproachable.
Howls of protest from both sides greet proposed South Korean dog meat rules. Stars and Stripes, March 16, 2005.