'Killing of dogs for meat illegal'

Customers toast as they watch a World Cup 2018 match over a canine meat dish at a dog meat market ahead of a local dog meat festival in Yulin Guangxi Autonomous Region China today

A South Korean court has made a landmark ruling on how it is illegal to kill dogs for their meat - and it could pave the way for a national ban. Up until now, authorities have cracked down on dog farms ahead of worldwide events such as the Winter Olympics by invoking hygiene regulations or animal protection laws that ban cruel slaughter methods. The court case was brought forward by animal rights group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (Care) against a dog farm, which they said was killing animals without a real reason.

"It is very significant in that it is the first court decision that killing dogs for dog meat is illegal itself", she said.

Canadians have also been rescuing and adopting canines from South Korean dog farms in order to prevent them from being killed.

One million dogs are believed to be eaten annually in South Korea.

The defendant killed the dog for the goal of producing dog meat for consumption.

Members of CARE held a press conference in front of the Seoul High Court where they announced they had filed similar legal complaints against dog merchants in other district courts, only to see their efforts fall short.

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"Over the past decades, public discourse over dog meat consumption has shifted towards banning it", she said.

THE South Korean government has introduced new legislation to make the killing of dogs for meat illegal. "The dog meat industry will take greater heat because of the court ruling".

Koreans are thought to eat around a million dogs a year and is considered to be part of a centuries-old cultural tradition, though there have been increasing protests in recent years from animal rights groups.

A survey a year ago found that 70% of South Koreans do not eat dog meat, but only about 40% believe the practice should be banned.

Meanwhile, in China, the infamous Yulin Dog Meat Festival opened on Thursday, despite pressure from animal rights activists to cancel the 10-day event. There are about 17,000 dog farms in South Korea, and operators have called for the government to bring in laws explicitly to legalise dog meat consumption and license dog slaughter houses.

"Cows, pigs, chickens and ducks are all raised to be consumed and why not dogs?" he said.

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