South Koreans In Their 20s Feel Pressured By Their Elders To Consume Dog Meat Despite The Majority Of The Country Supporting A Ban

Photos By: Humane Society International

Shockingly, a new survey reveals that more than half of South Koreans in their 20s who have consumed dog meat in the past year, felt social pressure to do so from influential seniors such as their father or colleagues at work.

While the majority of respondents in this age group did not consume dog meat, of those who did, 54% reported that they ate dog meat under pressure, rising to 57.4% in urban areas. Despite this, the survey found that nationwide refusal to eat dog meat is very high, with 85% of people saying they have never eaten it or will not do so in the future, and 56% supporting a ban.

Humane Society International/Korea commissioned market research experts Nielson Korea to conduct the survey of 1,500 people from urban and rural areas. The organization believes that young Koreans instinctively feel that eating dogs is wrong and they should feel empowered to say no in social situations.

“Although it is clear that the vast majority of South Koreans don’t and won’t eat dog meat, it is nonetheless concerning that so many young Koreans feel pressured to eat it even though they don’t want to. The data shows that people in their 20s are more supportive of a dog meat ban than other age groups,” Sangkyung Lee, Humane Society International/ Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, said in a statement.

“Pressuring people to eat dog meat needs to become socially unacceptable, and young Koreans like myself need to feel empowered to say no and stick to our principles,” concluded Lee. “It is ironic that while an individual’s right to choose is the top reason put forward by those who oppose a dog meat ban, our survey suggests that if social pressure were removed, even more people would exercise that choice by not eating dog meat at all.”

The main findings of the survey are that:

  • 6% of people in South Korea say they have not or will not consume dog meat in the future.

  • 6% in their 20s who ate dog meat in the past year, did so despite not wanting to.

  • 2% nationwide were first introduced to dog meat by their father and 22% by their office senior.

  • 7% nationwide say they are concerned about the welfare of dogs raised for meat.

  • 1% nationwide believe dog meat is not safe or hygienic to consume.

  • 56% nationwide support a dog meat ban.

  • 1% of respondents nationwide who oppose a dog meat ban do so because they believe it should be an individual’s choice.

Last month, Democratic Party Assembly member Jeoung-ae Han expressed her frustration that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is not doing enough to tackle the illegal and unhygienic dog meat industry.

“According to the Food Sanitation Act, dog meat is not considered food, therefore, it is clear that the dog meat trade is illegal. The current law states that the Ministry can crack down on dog slaughter, dog meat processing, distribution, and cooking because it is illegal. However, the Ministry does not do its work, stated Han. “It is threatening people’s health to turn a blind eye to unhygienically processed dog meat.”

A government task force was announced in November of last year and established in December of 2021, to evaluate options for a dog meat ban. Despite surveys showing that the majority of Koreans would support a ban, the task force has twice delayed publishing its conclusions and has now been silent since June of this year. HSI/Korea is urging President Yoon to help South Korea join with others across Asia such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand in ending the dog meat era forever.

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