SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) — First Lady Kim Keon Hee has called for an end to the consumption of dog meat, saying South Korea and China are the only major economies where the practice takes place. read in the interview published on Monday.
Kim, who lives with four dogs and three cats, called during an interview with the Seoul Shinmun newspaper saying she wants the government to make tangible progress on animal issues, including animal cruelty and consumption of dog meat.
“I think a universal culture should be spread among developed countries because it can create negative sentiment towards South Korea,” Kim said of dog meat consumption.
“Giving up dog meat is, ultimately, respect for man’s best friend and also respect for life,” she said in an interview, the first since President Yoon Suk Yeol took office last month.
According to Kim, dog meat consumption can be stopped through measures such as helping dog meat companies stop the trade.
Cynophagy in South Korea has declined significantly in recent decades as the tradition becomes an international disgrace. However, proponents argue that people should be free to choose what they eat.
The first lady also called for tougher penalties for those who abuse animals, saying that South Korea has “the weakest animal protection law” among developed countries.
“In our country, about 15 million people have pets. If order is established by raising the level of punishment for the aggressors, I believe that we can become a mature society,” she said. “In the end, animal cruelty and domestic violence are just different branches of the same stem.”
Yoon and Kim are well-known animal lovers who raise four dogs and three cats, five of which are from animal shelters. Yoon also promised that he would try to ban the consumption of dog meat and tougher penalties for animal cruelty in his campaign manifesto.