Photo: Meat dogs for sale at Moran Market in Gyeonggi-do Province. Credit: Public domain.
On January 9, 2024, the National Assembly 국회 passed a law banning the sale or slaughter of dogs for food, with a three-year grace period for existing businesses. The law was one of very few initiatives South Korea’s deeply polarized politics to receive received bipartisan support, with President Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열 대통령 and Democratic Party chairman Lee Jae-myung 이재명 민주당 당대표 both supporting the bill.
As recently as two decades ago, dog meat was the fourth-most consumed meat in South Korea after chicken, pork and beef. It was one of the favorite dishes of former president Lee Myung-bak 이명박, who famously had dog meat soup delivered to the Blue House 청와대 from his preferred restaurant. But Koreans’ rapid adoption of raising dogs as pets quickly made dog-eating a thing of the past: in a recent survey, more than 93% of Koreans said they had not eaten dog meat in the previous year, and did not intend to do so in the future.