South Korea shutting down notorious dog meat market
A notorious dog meat market in South Korea will be shut down in an attempt to crack down on the trade.
The Gupo dog meat market in Busan, South Korea - one of the largest in the country - serves chilled canine flesh and keeps live animals in cages which are "killed to order".
However, the slaughterhouse will now close after local authorities reached an agreement with all 19 dog meat sellers at Gupo Livestock Market.
The deal is part of an urban planning project to regenerate the area and turn the market into a public park.
In addition, it is a response to the growing unpopularity of the dog meat trade. In November last year, Seongnam city demolished Taepyeong, the country's largest dog slaughterhouse, and closed down most of its related dog meat vendors.
Further, Seoul mayor, Park Won-soon, promised to close all dog butcheries in South Korea's capital city earlier this year.
The news was welcomed by the Humane Society International (HSI), with one campaigner expressing hope that it encourages other traders to close.
Nara Kim said: "The closure plan is the result of months of hard work between the local authorities and the market vendors, and both sides are to be commended for working towards this goal that will not only bring to an end to Gupo’s dog meat era, but will also see the area regenerated with new amenities and businesses for the benefit of the local, modern economy."
"HSI has been working with dog meat farmers in South Korea for nearly four years helping them close their flagging businesses as more people in the county turn away from dog meat, so the closure of Gupo’s grimly iconic dog market, which follows the demolition last year of the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse complex, is a sign of more compassionate times.
This is the latest crackdown on an increasingly unpopular dog meat trade, and we hope that it inspires further closures in future where dogs also suffer for the meat trade, such as Chilsung market in Daegu."
Close to two million dogs are reared on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea every year.
According to HSI, they are reportedly most commonly killed by electrocution, with the canines normally taking up to five minutes to pass away - although there have been recorded instances of dogs taking up to 20 minutes.
Hanging is also practiced, with dogs being killed in full view of other animals on the farms.
A South Korean court ruled last June that killing dogs for meat is illegal, in a landmark decision which animal rights activists have claimed could pave the way to outlawing the consumption of canines.
A 2018 Gallup Korea poll revealed that dog meat is decreasing in popularity, especially among young South Koreans, with 70 per cent saying they would not consume dog meat in the future.