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Dog soup culture appears licked in Korea

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/Courtesy of Twitter
/Courtesy of Twitter

By Lee Han-soo

"Boshintang," which translates as dog soup, is disappearing from Korean culture.

It was popular on "Boknal," known as "dog day," one of three traditional days on which Koreans eat a specific food to counter the summer heat.

But with the rise of pet animals and global condemnation over cruelty, the culture is disappearing.

Although activists are praising the result as a win for animal rights, store owners are not so happy.

"Summer is when we sell the most boshintang," said a restaurant owner in an interview with the Asia Economic Daily, a Korean newspaper. "We used to have a lot of customers in the early 2000s but now no one comes to eat boshintang."

The owner complained that many people protest outside his restaurant, accusing him of animal cruelty.

"Dog for eating and pet use is totally different," he said. "It's similar to other animals in the food market."

Experts speculate that widespread pet ownership is behind the fall of boshintang.

According to research by the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, about 21.8 percent of Korean households have pets.

"Maybe in the past there was little to eat and our ancestors ate dogs for essential nutrition," Jung Hea-min, 21, a college student, told the Asia Economic Daily. "However, this is no longer the case. We now have other foods that can substitute for boshintang for the nutrition once needed."


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