It is with immense joy that I report that South Korea’s National Assembly has just passed legislation to ban the dog meat industry. In November, the South Korea government publicly announced that it would support a ban; this historic vote was the final hurdle to make such a ban official.  

With a three-year phase-out period during which dog farmers can apply for government compensation and assistance to transition to different livelihoods, the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs and dog meat for human consumption will be illegal in South Korea by 2027.

Almost a decade ago when Humane Society International/Korea began its efforts to help close and remove dogs from dog meat farms in South Korea, helping dog farmers to identify new and humane opportunities, we were told that achieving a ban would be impossible. But through determination, strategic discipline and an optimistic passion for change, we proved naysayers wrong. At the time, the sheer scale of animal suffering in the industry was hard to even fathom. I have joined our rescue teams on the ground at dog meat farms, and I have seen the rows and rows of rusty cages containing dog after dog after dog peering out in desperation. I remember some dogs were strong enough to stand up and wag their tails; others remained huddled in the corners of their cages, skeletal and starving.  

As many as 1 million dogs are factory farmed and killed for human consumption in South Korea each year, which means the ban will have an enormous impact on reducing animal suffering. It is a monumental achievement.

Many dog farmers have been keen to exit this controversial industry for some time. Over the years, we’ve worked with 18 dog farmers to help them permanently close their farms and transition them to other, cruelty-free professions, like growing crops such as chili plants and parsley, or water delivery, through our Models for Change program. In doing so, we also rescued more than 2,700 dogs and puppies from these farms and ended the cycle of suffering for countless more.