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  • Writer's pictureBecky Faulks

The Dog Meat Ban: Behind the Scenes with Humane Society International

South Korea’s ban of the dog meat trade may come as a welcome surprise to many of the public, but it hasn’t come easily – or without a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes. Animal rights activists and welfare organisations have been campaigning for years to end the trade, staging protests and organising the rescue of thousands of dogs. Humane Society International (HSI) has been a key player in the ban, having worked to shut down and rescue more than 2,500 dogs since 2015. Here, they give us an inside look at some of their incredible work.  

It's certainly a rescue, but far from staging an attack on South Korea’s farmers, HSI has taken a peaceful, more progressive approach to the problem. The society has been working to help dog meat farmers who lack the means to leave the industry, but would otherwise want to do so. Farmers sign a legally binding contract to shut down their farms, and in return HSI has been helping them transition to a different, and often more profitable business such as medicinal herbs, parsley or blueberry farming. The government will be rolling out a similar scheme, where it will offer compensation and support to those farmers looking to make the transition.

Credit: Jean Chung/HSI

International groups like HSI have been an incredible asset to the cause, but they are not the only ones. Korea itself has many animal rights groups, including Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) and Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA), who have also campaigned tirelessly to bring about change. South Korea is now among many countries across Asia to have banned the dog meat trade, including India, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand.

Credit: Jean Chung/HSI


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