An overture comes from Korea

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2001:

OAKLAND, Calif.; SEOUL, Korea–The September 11 terrorist
hijackings and mass murders at the World Trade Center and Pentagon
caused International Aid for Korean Animals founder Kyenan Kum to
call off scheduled September protests against dog and cat eating at
South Korean embassies and consulates–but a letter she received a
few days earlier from the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture and
Fisheries gave hope that two years of intense campaigning are making
gains in Seoul.

“On Aug. 18th, 2001,” the MAF letter began, “the Daehan
Daily reported that Cheju Island gave permission” for an entrepreneur
to open the first factory-scale dog meat farm in South Korea.
“As this article could mistakenly give the impression that a
local government could permit factory-farming dogs,” the letter
continued, “MAF immediately called Korea Animal Protection Society
president Sunnan Kum and explained our position. We have ordered
that the authorization of the dog breeding facility in Northern Cheju
County be investigated, and be reversed if there have been
regulatory violations,” the letter said.
“In addition,” the MAF official said, “we have forwarded
petitions from animal rights activists to the Cheju Governor’s
Office. We will inform cities and counties that they are not to
license breeding dogs for meat or permit meat sellers to take in
abandoned dogs and cats.
“The Korean government wants to stop further criticism from
animal rights activists,” the MAF letter stated. “We believe that
criticism from abroad as well as TV broadcasts showing the Korean dog
markets greatly damages Korea’s image. We are concerned about the
negative effects this will have on the 2002 Soccer World Cup and that
it could lead to boycotts of Korean goods.
“So,” the MAF letter promised, “the government has decided
to take the following measures: Food sold to the public must be
registered according to the Food Sanitation Law. Articles 31 and 42
of the law classify dog meat stew and dog juice as disgusting foods
and therefore ban making or selling them. Article 6 of the Animal
Protec-tion Law bans killing an animal without a rational reason and
forbids abusing or killing an animal in a cruel and disgusting way.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will focus on
preventing animal abuse and managing abandoned animals while the
Ministry of Health and Welfare will crack down on the illegal killing
of dogs and cats and selling their meat,” the MAF letter said.
“We have already instructed cities and provincial governments
to form teams of police officers and public servants to enforce the
laws,” the MAF letter added.
“Also, please know that the MAF and MHW will separately
inspect the current state of dog and cat abuse at meat markets and
seek ways to deal with these problems. We hope you understand that
the government is trying to push forward,” the letter concluded,
with the qualifying phrase, “although it will take some time.”
Said Kyenan Kum, “This is the first supportive response we
have received from the MAF since we began our campaign. However,
Sunnan and I are not satisfied with just a letter. This is only the
first step. Until all these promises materialize, we will press
ahead with our information campaign and demonstrations around the
world. We must not let our guard down,” Kyenan Kum emphasized,
“until we are certain the government will honor their commitments.”
The Food Sanitation Law and Animal Protection Law were
adopted in 1991 after a five-year campaign led by the International
Fund for Animal Welfare and the World Society for the Protection of
Animals–but both organizations declared victory and turned away
before there was any enforcement beyond evicting dog and cat meat
vendors from main streets and tourist areas. MAF data indicates that
the number of dogs killed for meat actually rose during the 1990s.
No statistics are kept on cat eating.
[Contact International Aid for Korean Animals at P.O. Box
20600, Oakland, CA 94620-0600; 510-271-6795; fax 510-451-0643;
<>; <>.

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