Nearly four years after the UK foreign office responded with a dismissive attitude towards the cruelty dogs and cats suffer in South Korea, the UK Government has finally conceded that steps need to be taken to raise the issue of the trade sensitively yet more firmly.
On 12th September 2016, the UK Parliament held concerned activists who raised 100,000 signatures, had raised a debate on the South Korean dog-meat trade after a second petition. MP Oliver Dowden led the debate.
Prior to this meeting our charity World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade had worked hard to present our own investigative findings on the trade and Ms Dolloso of the activist group Occupy the UN for Animals submitted data. We also invited over 700 MPs to attend and lend their voice.
Mr Dowden opened his address by thanking our Westminster-based charity for its work and education on the issue he had previously known little about. It was encouraging to see MPs from various cities and political parties presenting their own and their constituents’ views.
Although speakers agreed this was an issue to be handled with sensitivity and recognised change should come from within, the consensus was that action must be taken to support Koreans wishing change, and encourage animal welfare laws to be properly implemented.
Some of the ‘facts’ quoted by MP’s who had read tabloid headlines were slightly inaccurate it was encouraging to see most shared our concern on the high level of antibiotics pumped into the poor dogs and recognised the risks of human-animal disease transference.
We felt it was a naive view that farmers could simply be bought out, and more would need to be done in order to halt the trade. We were also concerned at the ministers’ suggestion of some kind of ‘regulating the trade’.
It remains our view and one shared by the activist group Dasom in Korea, who we support, that Dogs and Cats should be declared unfit for human consumption. There could never be any humane way of slaughter and the only solution is for them to be formally and unanimously reclassified as companion animals.
In China, a country we have been working in all summer, it has been formally acknowledged that the average consumer needs to cut down on eating all kinds of meat.
Animals should not be considered as commodities and the growing impact on the environment is detrimental.
Britain enjoys good relations with South Korea and in the interest of trade relations showing concessions that include stepping up animal welfare seems now to be on the cards.
Whilst pointing the finger at other countries Britain must of course look closer to home. Tabloids have taken a macabre delight in showing gruesome images and videos of greyhounds being boiled alive in China without taking any responsibility that they along with Ireland continues to allow the cruel practice of greyhound racing to continue. Commodity Culture and Economics over Ethics is one that Britain is also guilty of.
To find out more about my summer in China working on truck rescue, visiting slaughterhouses working with our partner shelter, please visit: