South Korea has shut down its largest dog slaughterhouse in a move hailed by animal rights campaigners as a major blow against the country’s canine meat trade.
Seongnam City council, Gyeonggi province, closed Taepyeong where hundreds of thousands of dogs were killed each year by electrocution before their remains were sold for meat, according to Humane Society International (HSI).
“We have been making constant efforts to shut down the Taepyeong-dong dog slaughterhouse through investigations and putting pressure on Gyeonggi province and Seongnam-si,” said Hyunji Kim of Korea Animal Rights Advocates.
“As Korea’s biggest, brutal, illegal dog slaughterhouse, Taepyeong-dong is notorious for supplying huge amounts of dog bodies to nearby Seongnam Moran traditional market,” the activist added. “Its closure is an historical event, and hopefully may trigger the closure of other illegal dog slaughterhouses throughout the country.”
South Korea is the only country in Asia where dogs are routinely and intensively farmed for human consumption. There are conflicting figures on the number of farmed dogs, slaughterhouses and markets across the country, but the HSI estimates around two million dogs are being kept in around 17,000 facilities.
Taepyeong comprises six individual slaughterhouses, five of which will be bulldozed immediately. Permission to destroy the sixth building was not secured in time for the closure, but all its cages will be destroyed and equipment removed so that it is no longer operational, HSI said in a statement.
Built illegally, the decision to shut down the slaughterhouse was made in 2013 by the city council, which consulted with the abattoir, animal activist groups and local residents over its closure.
The council intends to build a community park on the land, the HSI statement said.