|Dog protection activists and dog meat advocates stage rallies in Jongno, Seoul, in 2017. / Yonhap.|
By Jung Hae-myoung, Park Si-soo
The presidential office said Friday it will review the legal status of dogs, which are now listed as consumable livestock.
"Amid growing public attention to the animals' protection and welfare, we found some clashing points between the Livestock Industry Act and present culture," said Choi Jae-gwan, a presidential secretary for agriculture, food and rural affairs, in live-streaming on Facebook. "We will review this to explore a way to fix the discrepancy."
It was Cheong Wa Dae's formal reaction to an outpouring of online petitions soliciting a revision of the law to ban eating dogs. A petition of this kind was posted on the Cheong Wa Dae website on June 17 and it gained more than 200,000 signatures in a month.
The online public petition system is promoted by the Moon Jae-in administration and top presidential aides are responsible for making a formal response to petitions that gain more than 200,000 signatures in a month.
The current Livestock Industry Act includes dogs in the list of 19 animals defined as "livestock" for consumption.
Dog protection activists have called for dogs to be removed from the list so that eating them would become unlawful. In a recent survey, eight out of 10 people supported a ban on "Boshintang," or dog meat soup, in Korea.
But not everyone welcomes the idea. Opponents say eating dog is a diet culture with a long history and there are many merchants who make a living selling dog meat.