S.Korea to launch debate on dog meat consumption

The South Korean prime minister says the government will launch a consultative body to debate whether to ban dog meat consumption amid growing social interest in animal welfare.

Kim Boo-kyum said in a government meeting on Thursday that the private-public body will consist of experts, NGO members and others. The group will aim to produce a social consensus on the issue and study the results of public opinion surveys before drawing a conclusion next April.

Kim said the number of households with pets has been rising, leading to greater awareness of animal welfare. He said an increasing number of people point out that continuing dog meat consumption only because it is part of the traditional food culture may be difficult.

Controversy over dog meat consumption has persisted in South Korea since the practice generated criticism from the United States, European nations and others around the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

In September, President Moon Jae-in, who is known as a dog lover, instructed Kim to consider whether to outlaw the practice.

But the government's move to launch the debate will likely provoke a backlash from the dog meat industry, which says the practice is an inherent part of the South Korean food culture.