Breaking! Largest Dog Meat Auction House In South Korea Closes Following Lady Freethinker Investigation

Before and After: L – Dogs at the Nakwon Auction House, photo from Lady Freethinker. R – The Nakwon Auction house has been shut down, photo from City of Namyangju

In a major victory for animal advocates, what is most-likely the largest remaining dog meat auction house in South Korea, Nakwon Auction House, closed this week, following an inspection by Mayor Cho Kwang-han of the premise’s illegal dog meat farm and auction in the city of Namyangju. The dogs have been removed from the facility, and the owner has voluntarily reported the business’ closure to the government.

Photos from City of Namyangju

The closure follows an undercover investigation in the summer of 2020 by animal rights nonprofit Lady Freethinker that captured footage and images of captive dogs kept and sold at Nakwon Auction House. As reported by WAN last year, the investigation found more than 200 dogs being held in 60 metal crates and cages, each containing three to four dogs.

Dogs in auction house photos from Lady Freethinker

The closure follows a wider crackdown on dog meat farming in Namyangju by Mayor Cho. In January 2021, Mayor Cho convened a joint meeting of relevant departments to discuss measures to counter illegal activities of the dog farm and auction house. In the meeting, he demanded the departments take strong administrative measures with regard to legal violations that result in public harm and environmental damage. The city had also filed a complaint with law enforcement authorities and was taking administrative measures against the dog farm and auction house on charges of constructing an unlawful structure and changing its usage without a permit.

Photos from City of Namyangju

“We applaud Mayor Cho for his decisive action, which sends a strong international message that dog meat farming must become a thing of the past,” Nina Jackel, Founder and President of Lady Freethinker, said in a statement sent to WAN. “Lady Freethinker’s investigation of Nakwon Auction House found terrified dogs cowering in cramped, dirty cages while workers jabbed them with metal hooks. Breeding and farming dogs for meat causes enormous and unnecessary animal suffering.”

Following its investigation this summer, Lady Freethinker also launched a petition urging Mayor Cho to shut down Nakwon Auction House; the petition received more than 46,000 signatures. Representatives from Lady Freethinker’s local partner, Save Korean Dogs, delivered the petition to Mayor Cho’s office. Save Korean Dogs also presented Lady Freethinker’s investigative footage and discussed the animal cruelty at Nakwon Auction House with the city’s agricultural department and the mayor’s secretary, and staged protests outside the auction.

Protest photo by Save Korean Dogs

Dog meat farming in South Korea remains legal, but consumer demand for the meat remains low. The Korean Animal Welfare Association found in a 2019 poll of South Koreans that just 12.2% of respondents were still eating dogs, down from 13% in 2018. It was also reported that 41% of those that used to eat dogs, are no longer doing so, up from 39.5% in 2018.

Sadly, an estimated one million dogs continue to suffer in South Korea’s horrifying meat trade. That is why Congresswoman Han Jeong-ae recently introduced House Bill 7035 which advocates for an amendment to the country’s Animal Protection Act that would explicitly ban the slaughtering and processing of dogs for food.

Please sign Lady Freethinker’s new petition to urge the passage of this crucial bill to ban South Korea’s brutal dog meat trade, HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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