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Animal Issues

Although the dae jindo dog is considered a Korean national treasure, many dogs in Korea live miserable lives destined for slaughter. Consumption of dogs is illegal in Korea, though law enforcers tend to look the other way and powerful lobbyists keep the dog meat industry thriving. Every year, nearly two million dogs are killed and eaten for food in Korea.

Cats are rarely kept as pets in Korea and are more commonly treated as vermin, often beaten to death in sacks. The false belief that cat tonics hold a cure for rheumatism has led to a vicious industry in which cats are boiled alive in pressure cookers.

Though nearly extinct in the wild, over 1400 bears are kept in farms, tortured in captivity and exploited for their bile, which is prescribed for range of ailments in traditional medicine. Though synthetic alternatives are more affordable and proven to be effective, demand for bear bile is rampant in South Korea.

Animal Protection Law
Adopted in 1991, the Korean Animal Protection Law was a major milestone in attempts to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. However, since its adoption, the law has done very little for animals as it is rarely enforced. A newer version of the animal protection law went into effect in 2008 that contained more specific language and harsher penalties for violations. IAKA looks forward to working with Korea's Ministry of Agriculture to enforce the law, and continues to negotiate with the Korean government for stronger legislation against animal abuses.