Group to protest Korean practice of eating dogs and cats


Protesters plan to gather at the South Korean consulate at 3500 Clay St. at 11 a.m. and march to the corner of California and Divisadero streets before marching back to the consulate.

The demonstration is one of 40 protests planned around the world, including in many U.S. cities, Canada, Ireland and South Africa. Called the "International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats," the event has been held annually for the last seven years.

In Defense of Animals will deliver a petition with about 15,000 signatures calling for the strengthening of laws to prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for consumption.

Dog and cat meat is illegal to sell for food in South Korea but continues to be sold on the black market, and, according to In Defense of Animals Campaign Manager Robin Dorman, the South Korean government is complicit in its continued sale.

"This sort of shameful indifference of the South Korean government allows this to happen," Dorman said.

Cultural tradition leads dog meat sellers to torture and beat the dogs before slaughter, Dorman said, as they believe the adrenaline released before death imbues men who eat the meat with greater virility.

"It's kind of a perverse belief," Dorman said. "The longer it takes to kill a dog the better the taste."

South Korea has come under scrutiny for the practice of eating dogs before, particularly during international sporting events hosted there, such as the 1998 Seoul Olympics and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted with Japan.

Some reports following the 2002 World Cup said the practice of torturing dogs before slaughter had ended, and that dogs killed for meat were killed instantly by electric shock.

Dorman said that, according to South Korean animal rights groups working with In Defense of Animals, the practice still continues, despite laws against it.

"No it's not gone away," Dorman said. "This is still happening and happening in force."

Dorman also said cat meat is thought to have medicinal properties, and that cats are regularly killed by being bludgeoned and boiled alive.

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