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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Use of dog meat as human food to stay outside of law

I guess this is my first note about dog meat, so it's about time.

Kyunghyang Sinmun tells of the government plans to tighten the regulations and prohibitions concerning the use of dog meat as food. Control of some practices is supposed to become more severe, and dog meat will be not included among the kinds of meat recognized as human food, but the authorities are also aware that the legislation is not going to end the use of dog meat as food.

Choi Suk-un: Dog Days / 최석운: 복날
Modern genre painting by Choi Suk-un, Pongnal (Dog Days, 복날). Linked from the homepage of the artist. Go especially to the gallery to see wonderful naivistic pictures; isn't that Korea!

The penalties for killing animals in the street or other public places and killing animals in a cruel way such as hanging by the neck in the animal protection law will become more severe: from the fine of at most 200 000 won to up to 6 months in the joint or fines up to 2 million W. (What this law is for should be quite evident.) Even though dog meat is not included among kinds of meat to be used legally for human consumption, the Ministry of Health and Welfare will strengthen the control of dog meat restaurants to prevent the circulation of meat from sick animals, test animals or of animals which contain heavy metals (chunggûmsok). The establishments caught in the control will be reported to the law authorities in addition to administrative measures.

So it means that as long as healthy animals are slaughtered and circulated properly and hygienically, the authorities are not interested whether people eat dog meat or not. Sounds like an appropriate attitude, especially if the government is afraid of protests from both domestic and overseas animal protection groups if it was to formally legalize the use of dog meat as food, as Kyunghyang thinks.

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