Protesters carried dead, American dogs in an aggressive campaign to end the dog meat trade in South Korea.
By Jennifer Grant
WARNING: GRAPHIC AND POTENTIALLY UPSETTING MATERIAL AHEAD.
Priscilla Presley and Kim Basinger added star power to a recent protest against the dog meat trade happening in South Korea. Presley upped the ante by carrying a dead pet in her arms throughout the protest. The 73-year old former wife of the late Elvis Presley, stood outside of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles, resolute and stoic with a handful of additional protesters also carrying dead dogs.
Kim Basinger stood nearby with a sign depicting dogs at a slaughter house. Both Hollywood activists wore T-shirts emblazoned with the statement, “Stop Dog Meat.”
The Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, DC reports that an estimated 2 million dogs are slaughtered every year in South Korea, in order to feed the appetites of the dog meat market. Dog meat is legal in South Korea but the industrialization of it is not. Lax enforcement of the law and general apathy by authorities has allowed factory farming of dogs to flourish. And it is this loop hole that activists seek to close.
Image: Frederick M Brown/Getty Images North America
The Blast indicated that the dogs were from a Los Angeles veterinarian and had been euthanized for unrelated reasons. The dead dogs, held by multiple protestors, were to drive home the message that dogs are loved and should not be killed for food. The outlet also reported that all dogs were cremated after the protest.
Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is the name of the organization that led the protest. The website had images and stories of a sister protest in in Seoul, Korea, in Gwanghwamun Plaza. The LCA President, Chris DeRose, announced that the international advocacy group will be working aggressively to stop the torture and slaughter of dogs in South Korea.
Every July-August, one million dogs lose their lives during the Bok Nal Festival in South Korea. The Festival involves three key celebrations where it is reported that dogs are electrocuted, skinned, and burned alive because it is believed that tortured animals taste better. The much-loved dog meat soup, called boshintag, is believed by South Koreans to have a cooling effect to help them cope with the hottest days of the year
This year (2018), a South Korean court ordered that the killing of dogs to sell and eat is illegal. While this is a positive step in terms of ending the dog meat trade, the law does not touch upon the practice of eating dogs. The LCA organization, along with other international animal rights groups, seek the outright ban of eating dogs.
Fortunately, younger South Koreans trend toward an attitude of disgust when it comes to the idea of eating dogs. There has been a cultural change in South Korea, whereby the younger generation is now looking to dogs as pets. Still, as National Geographic reports, fewer than half of South Koreans believe this centuries-old practice should be outright banned.
You many remember a protest of a different sort during the Winter Olympics (February, 2018) in PyeongChang, South Korea. Many young North America athletes, including American skier Gus Kenworthy, rescued and adopted dogs trapped in the dog meat market. Sadly, Kenworthy’s pup, Beemo, died in May from an enlarged heart. It was Kenworthy’s activism and star power that illuminated the plight of dogs in the dog meat trade, for people.
There is no doubt that the practice of eating dog meat is abhorrent inside Western culture, and it is hoped that the torture of any animals would be protested by all of us. But, is there a different ethical consideration when advocates use dead pets and strays as props in a protest? Does this stunt further the mandate of ending the dog meat trade or merely start a different conversation about Americans carrying dead dogs in the street? What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comment section.