Kim Basinger and other animal rights activists protested in Seoul to end the controversial dog meat trade, but farmers who support it showed up to the event and ate dog meat as a counter-protest.
For most of us, even the thought of consuming dog or cat meat is just disgusting and abnormal. But in a few places in China and South Korea, not only has it been a part of their cultural diet for centuries, but there are also several delicacies made from them.
But for the past few decades, the South Korean people have drastically changed their views on the matter. As things stand, less than half the population (around 45%) are fine with the slaughter and consumption of dogs and the other half are vehemently against it.
On Friday, actress Kim Basinger joined activists from animal rights group 'Last Chance for Animals' (LCA) and protested against the dog meat trade on "dog meat day" or Boknal, a day when the meat was traditionally eaten in the country.
The protest took place outside the National Assembly, the nation's legislative body. Protesters held models of scorched dogs and signs that such as 'How many millions have to die before dog meat ends?'
(2/3) A closure contract has been signed with dog meat vendors at Gupo Market, & help has been offered to set up alternative businesses as part of a remodeling project to regenerate the area. pic.twitter.com/aoLkJDNlVA— Humane Society Int'l (@HSIGlobal) July 9, 2019
"They do not need your tears, they need your help, and sometimes pictures speak 1,000 words more than we could ever with our voices," Basinger said of the dogs. "We have to end this cruelty on this planet. We have to help anything suffering. It is tradition, but it is against the rights of animals.".
"I do think that government is going to have to not turn a blind eye and really come up with solutions like this," she said. "South Korea is going to be the leader for this, it's going to be known for this and it's going to trickle down."
South Koreans eat boiled dog meat as they stage counter-rally defending their right to consume the 'delicacy' https://t.co/vS2f8Z5hEx— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) July 14, 2019
The protest was met by members of the Korean Dog Meat Association and farmers who supported the dog meat trade. They wore red bandanas with the slogan "Fight. Unity" and began to serve and eat plates of boiled dog meat as a show of taunt and counter-protest against the animal rights activists.
As things stand in South Korea, the killing of dogs for meat is illegal but it is not illegal to consume dog meat itself and this legal grey area was readily exploited by all the dog farmers who showed up to the event.
Dog meat fans chowed down on barbecued pooches to troll animal cruelty activists including Kim Basinger in South Korea today. Disgusting! They’re going to fight any ban. 🤢😤@Protect_Wldlife @rickygervais @PeterEgan6 @_AnimalAdvocate @Animals1st https://t.co/taXIsnXVsq— Xpose Trophy Hunting (@XposeTrophyHunt) July 14, 2019
South Korean lawmaker Pyo Chang-won is pushing to pass the bill that would make the killing of dogs and cats for food illegal, but he acknowledges that it only has minority support in the National Assembly. Pyo said he has the support of President Moon Jae-in, who is known to be a dog lover and adopted a shelter dog when he first came to power, but Pyo said it is not an official policy of Moon's party, so lawmakers can make individual decisions.
"Many of the congressmen are based in rural areas where dog farms exist and they are under pressure not to talk about the bill, not to support the bill, not to allow the bill coming on the table," he said.
#StopBoknal Protest Event July 11, 2019 #LA— SaveKoreanDogs (@NamiKim_DogsSK) July 13, 2019
"So proud of you all .@WorldAnimalNews! I can tell you changes are coming. I took a tour to several #DogMeat restaurants in the town, I see empty tables at three..."
Between 1975 and 1978, dogs had the full legal status of livestock animals in South Korea, but the legality of the dog meat trade is now highly disputed. In June 2018, the municipal court of the city of Bucheon ruled that killing dogs for their meat was illegal.
The landmark decision came after much criticism from animal advocates in the country. The court case was brought forward by animal rights group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (Care) against a dog farm, which they said was killing animals without a real reason. On November 21, 2018, South Korea closed the country's main dog slaughterhouse, known as Taepyeong-dong.
As these protests look to pave the way towards a South Korea that doesn't slaughter man's best friends, they are in line with the other various animal liberation protests and activism being done all over the world. Vegans have been using this same argument to animals of all species.
If they are going to ever actualize their goal of a world without animal slaughter, it can only happen when humans stop killing and eating dogs first. South Korea has definitely come a long way from their previous unapologetic views on dog meat consumption, as time flies, it will only continue to grow in favor of the animals.