Animal Rights

South Korea closes its biggest dog meat market

Moran market, South Korea, is shutting down and will no longer sell dog meat. The decision came ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Moran market in Seongnam is South Korea’s biggest dog meat market. And it will be shut down. Local authorities urged its closure ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics as it would represent a threat to the country’s international image. Shutters have begun at the end of February.

Moran market accounts for one third of South Korea’s dog meat consumption

According to UK newspaper The Guardian, Moran market – opened in 1960 – accounts for one third of South Korea’s dog meat consumption. Eating dog meat is considered as a barbaric habit in Western countries, but it is part of the traditional cuisine in many parts of Asia. Also, local communities claim that eating dog meat can improve male virility and combat fatigue and illness.

south korea dog meat
Protests against dog meat in South Korea © Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The market’s 22 dog meat sellers agreed to the move last December but are demanding compensation to make up for the loss of business. “The city of Seongnam can be the starting point of a transformation of South Korea’s image,” said the city’s mayor, who also quoted Gandhi: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

Inhuman conditions and animal abuse

The conditions dogs were forced to endure before being destined to the country’s dog meat market, as well as cruel execution methods (including electrocution, hanging and beating), have long been accused by animal rights associations all over the world. “For decades, dog meat sellers have taken advantage of a legal grey area: livestock hygiene laws do not apply to the killing and sale of dogs, making it difficult for authorities to regulate the industry,” reports The Guardian.

Despite the agreed compensations, some sellers are opposing the shutting down. “Almost 80 per cent of our customers visit our shops to buy fresh dog meat, so what are they going to do if we cannot provide it for them? Is the government going to pay us?” Shin Seung-cheol, a Moran trader, told the Korea Herald. To South Korea, however, the risks linked to keeping Moran market open would be higher: international criticism have intensified, particularly in view of the Winter Olympics, and online petitions against the market have multiplied. Some are even planning to boycott the sport event, but the South Korean government wants to do its best to avoid this.

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