Breaking news: Massive South Korean dog market shuttered by city government

By on December 13, 2016 with 18 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Officials in the city of Seongnam today announced that they will permanently shutter the dog meat section of Moran Market, South Korea’s largest dog meat market. It is by far the biggest single blow ever against the dog meat trade in the country, and with a local government leading the charge, it’s a new front in the war against the systematic exploitation of dogs for their meat.

Humane Society International has been hard at work in South Korea to close down dog meat farms and to help farmers transition to more humane businesses, and the atmosphere we’ve created around the trade contributed to this game-changing announcement.

According to The Korea Herald, which reported the news, under an agreement between the Seongnam city government and a vendors’ association that represents the market’s 22 dog meat dealers, the dog meat vendors will start removing slaughter facilities and dog cages beginning next week and will completely move them out by early May. The city will provide financial support for them to refurbish their shops for new businesses — a model very similar to the one HSI has been using to help transition dog meat farmers out of the trade.

This is a hugely consequential development because of the sheer numbers of animals involved. Moran supplies a third of the dog meat consumed in Korea, and it is estimated that tens of thousands of dogs are sold either dead or alive at the market each year. HSI teams had primed the issue with dog meat vendors, but this action from the city was unexpected and extraordinary in its own right.

In South Korea, there is a widely-held dual perception of dogs — “meat dogs” are for consumption, and “pet dogs” are for companionship. At present, many Koreans do not consider “meat dogs” adoptable, but through HSI’s program, we are working to change that by having each rescued dog act as an ambassador for the many still suffering on farms. We are showing South Korea and the rest of the world that a dog is a dog – each one worthy of compassion and respect and protection from cruelty.

The closing of the Moran dog meat market affirms the soundness of our model of shutting down the farms by giving the farmers an alternative form of employment. Frankly, with thousands of dog meat farms in the country, we knew that we could not go farm by farm and achieve the result. We anticipated that our hands-on work, combined with the weight of our argument, would apply pressure for systemic change, and that local governments would step in and deliver results. We’re encouraged to see that is beginning to happen.

There is growing recognition that the dog meat trade is socially unpalatable in a society where pet ownership and animal protection values are ascendant. With the Winter Olympics planned for South Korea for 2018, this is a key leverage point for the global community. This proud and successful country can shed this industry and help transition farmers to other lucrative and more humane businesses.

The meat market itself is a heartbreaking sight: dogs are confined in cages for customers to choose, and then they are openly slaughtered using cruel methods like electrocution, hanging, or beating. Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung, quoting Mahatma Gandhi, told The Korea Herald: “Seongnam City will take the initiative to transform South Korea’s image since ‘the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’”

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Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

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  1. Debra Grossman says:

    Thank you HSUS! This is why I support you each month, even though it is a little, it is regular and I know you are doing the work that I could only dream of doing.

    • Regina says:

      I also donate monthly and it amazes me, and I am proud of the great work they do to help ALL animals that are being abused, not just dogs. Keep going strong HSUS!!! Merry Christmas Wayne and to all the volunteers who give of themselves tirelessly to do this never ending work!

  2. Maria Bento says:

    Thank you for shutting that disgusting place Po por dogs .like in China they even skin them alive and Wrost.dogs and cats are Pet’s not food .a cat or dog just want to be loved and give love .wish this fog meat crap would stop once and for all.i literally throw up after reading and seeing what I have seen.ty guys yous rock

  3. Annoula Wylderich says:

    THANK YOU, Santa and HSI. If all I received this Christmas was this piece of news, it would be enough! HSUS has some of the best, most highly-qualified angels working hard to attain these victories for animals.

  4. Angela says:

    This issue disturbs me so much, Yulin almost makes me suicidal. I am deeply grateful for your work, God is answering prayers.I hope there is not a rush to slaughter now.

  5. Josh Cooper says:

    Fantastic news. We must keep pushing and supporting the ban of the Dog Meat Trade everywhere. Thank you HSUS.

  6. Anna Mason says:

    “Shutter” does not mean “close”. It means that they are keeping them out of “vision” of the public.

    • Gail says:

      I hadn’t thought of that
      We need CONFIRMATION!!

    • Pam Neill says:

      Exactly the cruelty will continue
      just not in the market in view of the cruel people who watch the slaughter and eat them.
      Disgusting beings !!!

    • Lenore Rapalski says:

      How do you know this? I cannot nor do I want to begin to imagine what horror this must be. Thank you HSUS for having the courage to do this work for animals on our behalf.

  7. Jorge Valente says:

    Definitely a Victory towards a better world…

  8. Denise says:

    This can not happen soon enough. This needs to stop now~ Congratulations to all those you worked to get this shut down. I myself only posted this cruelty on social medias as much as I could. The spreading the word and pictures of this event I believe opened a lot of eyes and hearts. What type of people could contemplate participating or eating these beautiful animals. Eat a potato

  9. Elaine young says:

    Thank you for shutting down the Dog meat market down !!!! Now Dogs can have a beautiful and happy life and be loved by people.Thank you again Wayne??? Awesome man

  10. Barbara Connell says:

    Such good news !!!!

  11. Connor McLeod says:

    Thank you guys in the name of all tortured dogs. Keep on the good work until the trade is stopped once and for all, you are irreplaceable !!!

  12. Amy says:

    That’s amazing. I used to live in South Korea and did visit this market. I was actually assalted by a vendor because I was taking photos to document the horrors of the dog meat trade.

  13. Donna Pothier says:

    THANK YOU HSUS for all your hard work there. I will be able to donate soon. This is also a Christmas Gift for me!!! Still pray for the ones that still need to be closed down….This will be SO many lives saved.

  14. Pamela D Gardner says:

    What wonderful news… a dream coming true. I’ve been following and support Korean Animal Protection Society since 2008. Thank you so much HSUS for your work in stopping this horrific trade in not just meat but also sadism.

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