Despite authorities’ request South Korean restaurants continue to serve dog meat during the Winter Olympics

When the Winter Olympics kicked off on Friday February 9, in South Korea’s Pyeongchang, visitors poured into the country from all over the world ready to enjoy the spectacle and sample the area’s culture with many people exposed to the restaurant menus that offer dog meat.

Despite the government’s appeal to restaurants to stop serving dog meat during the Games, many of the local restaurants which offer dog meat refused to oblige.

Dog meat is considered a delicacy in South Korea and is believed to provide energy. But animal rights activists claim that dogs, as well as cats, in the meat trade are subjected to horrific conditions.  Among other things, Swedish superstar skier Charlotte Kalla has expressed her sadness at the cruelty.

”I knew nothing about this … I have not heard of this treatment of dogs in South Korea at all, it’s terrible”, Kalla told Swedish newspaper The Expressen.

Animal rights activists have intensified their campaign to ban the sale of dog meat. The South Korean authorities have also tried to influence restaurant owners to stop, but without success.

“We have received a lot of complaints from restaurant operators that we are threatening their livelihood,” said government official Lee Yong-Bae, according to Channel News Asia.

Facebook / Humane Society International

“Some of them initially shifted to selling pork or things instead of dog meat only to find their sales plunging sharply. They then switched back to dog meat, “Lee said.

The tradition of eating dog is still strong is some parts of the country, but in the capital of Seoul it is considered “detestable” to eat dog meat.

Eating dog meat has also diminished as another generation of South Koreans emerge. The younger ones see dogs as pets and the South Korean president Moon Jae-in has adopted a dog, which was rescued from a meat farm.

Facebook / Humane Society International

Animal rights activists have taken the opportunity and used this as an opportunity to increase pressure on government and persuade the public not to eat dog meat. Several organizations say that the dogs are raised in poor conditions, beaten and tortured.

The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee has released this statement following the criticism:

“We are aware of the international concern around the consumption of dog meat in Korea. This is a matter which the government should address. We hope that this issue will not impact on the delivery or reputation of the Games and the province and we will support the work of the province and government on this topic as needed. Also, dog meat will not be served at any Games venue.”

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