Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 5 March 2001 Issue:
Animal Cruelty in Korea
Every year, 2.6 million dogs and countless cats are slaughtered and consumed in South Korea. Methods of slaughter include hanging by the neck, prolonged beatings with pipes and hammers, and electrocution. Often, cats are boiled alive, and dogs are routinely blowtorched to remove their fur and to brown their skin.
The myth is that the more pain suffered by these animals, the more tender and aphrodisiac the meat is. This idea is generated by Korean dog-meat (boshintang) dealers. Dog-meat stew is not a thousand-year-old Korean tradition, as dog-meat dealers claim. The commercial trade of dogs for consumption began in 1980, when a boom in the Korean economy made the once-scarce "livestock" meats suddenly affordable. At the time, the dog-meat trade consisted of only a handful of dealers, who, fearing loss of business, quickly marketed the myth that dog-meat stew is a traditional "cure-all" health food.
Cats are also consumed in S. Korea. Pets and strays are repeatedly bludgeoned with hammers or placed in sacks, which are then pounded on the ground. Often, while still alive, the cats are thrown into large pots of boiling water and cooked with ginger, dates and chestnuts until liquefied to a brown paste called goyangi soju, or "cat juice," which dealers claim will cure rheumatism. Dr. Kim, Sung Yun, a medical doctor and professor researching rheumatoid arthritis at Hanyang Medical School, said in a Chosunilbo newspaper article that "cats are absolutely not effective in the treatment of arthritis. It's a myth." However, even research such as this has done little to dispel the myth.
Approximately 30 percent of the dogs consumed each year are stolen companion animals, while the rest are bred by dog "farmers," individuals who raise dogs as a side business. Most of the cats consumed each year are trapped in crude wire cages.
The Korean Government has failed to enforce its own 1984 Ministry of Health law banning dog-meat stew as a "disgusting food," and its Animal Protection Law, enacted in 1991, which bans cruelty to all animals. Designating South Korea as a host of World Cup 2002 sends a clear message that the world accepts illegal industries and animal cruelty. Shocking new undercover video documentation of widespread dog and cat torture in flagrant violation of the laws has incited U.S. humane advocacy organizations to demand an end to the slaughter and consumption of companion animals in S. Korea.
"This is not an issue of 'cultural differences,'" states Kyenan Kum, founder and director of International Aid for Korean Animals (IAKA). "Caring Koreans and most people worldwide know that no animal should be tortured and abused. Yet Korean cat and dog dealers are willfully inflicting maximum pain to dogs and cats for mythical health benefits.
"The Korean government recognized the terrible suffering caused by the dog meat trade when it outlawed dog-meat stew in 1984. Today we need the help of caring people worldwide to stamp out this abuse once and for all."
Kyenan Kum www.koreananimals.org
E-mail: [email protected]
International Aid for Korean Animals & Korean Animal Protection Society
P.O. Box 20600
Oakland, CA 94620-0600
Tel.: (510) 271-6795, Fax: (510) 451-0643
Print out petitions from www.koreananimals.org/campaign.htm
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