Animal rights activists in South Korea have declared victory as the country has closed its largest dog meat slaughterhouse.
“This is a historic moment,” a statement by the Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) said. “It will open the door for more closures of dog meat slaughterhouses across the country, expediting the decline of the overall dog meat industry.”
Animal rights activists in South Korea have been campaigning for years to bring about an end to the practice of consuming dogs for food.
As a result of the activists’ efforts, attitudes in South Korea have been undergoing a change in recent years.
Dog meat was once considered a delicacy, and about one million dogs are consumed in South Korea every year.
Westerners had also been trying to influence the country to change its habits towards canines. Many from the West had engaged in rescue operations to remove dogs from slaughterhouses or intercept shipments of dogs before they reached the meat factories.
As South Korea’s largest dog meat slaughterhouse, the Taepyeong-dong complex in Seongnam city, south of Seoul, actually housed at least six slaughterhouses. Each of these held several hundred animals at once.
A group from the Humane Society International (HSI) made a visit to the complex before it was shut down and reported that the conditions inside were “horrifying.”
They described the complex as containing electrocution equipment that was used to slaughter the dogs, as well as, knives and a hair removal machine.
Now that it is shut down, the clearing of the dog slaughtering complex will occur over two days over the weekend. Afterward, the complex will be converted into a public park.
A shift in attitude by South Koreans about consuming dog meat has been occurring for years. By 2015, the number of restaurants that served dog meat in Seoul, South Korea had dropped to less than half of what it was in previous years, from 1,500 to about 700.
Even in festivals that were based around the serving of dog meat, a growing number of Koreans are opting for chicken soup instead.