Dogs in Korea: The Good, The Bad, The Adorable

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The relationship between Korean society-at-large and their dogs continues to shift as more and more people get dogs of their own.

Although many other Asian countries also consume dog meat regularly, Korea has long faced a somewhat disproportionate amount of scrutiny from Western observers over dog meat. Sales of dog meat in Korea are lambasted while efforts by animal rights organizations to free dogs from dog meat farms are celebrated in Western media.

Much of this criticism boils down to long-standing cultural differences; in the West, eating meat from closely-kept work animals like dogs or horses has long been considered a taboo only acceptable during times of serious famine.

In Korea, however, eating dog meat has been a long accepted practice, and many Korean observers have defended the practice by pointing out how many Western delicacies — like foie gras — can involve far crueler treatment of animals.

However, with nearly one-quarter of Korean households now owning a pet dog, many dog owners have grown uneasy about eating meat from animals they now regard as members of the family. There has been a corresponding drop in consumption of dog meat in Korea as a result, further compounded by regulatory issues surrounding the production and sale of dog meat.

In line with these cultural shifts, the Korean President Moon Jae-in recently adopted an adorable rescue dog named Tori. President Moon hopes that this adoption will draw attention to the growing number of abandoned pet dogs in Korea.

See the adorable mutt below:

President Moon with his new dog. [Courtesy of The Blue House]