Warning: This article contains images of animals that may shock some readers.
At the height of summer, known in Korean as the Boknal, it has been reported that those who can no longer take care of their pet dogs take them to the Moran market outside Seoul in an attempt to sell them for meat, only to abandon them when merchants refuse to purchase a former pet [Moran is known for selling animals as both pets and meat].
This article, reposted on Daum, is based on an interview with an angry dog-meat merchant, who criticizes these pet owners as having double-standards when it comes to the issue of eating dog. South Korean netizens were completely outraged to hear that pet dogs are being abandoned in this way, with many advocating a complete ban on eating dog meat in South Korea.
Furthermore, as the netizen comments show, eating dog in Korea is far from being the norm. In fact, the consumption of dog meat in South Korea is extremely controversial, with many Koreans finding scenes like the one below as harrowing as those seeing them from the West. Animal lovers may want to look away now.
Pet Dogs Abound at Moran Market at the Height of Summer
Do you know how pitiful those dogs are? They point the finger at us for selling dog meat, but how could they dump what would have been something like a member of their family? They deliberately drop their dogs off here. But we are not some stray dog disposal team….
Days before the chobok, the dog days of summer, the Moran market in Seongnam is busy. One third of the dog meat sold in the country passes through here, and Lee Kang-choon (58) is often very disturbed by a number of calls he receives as the chobok nears. Most of the calls ask whether pet dogs can be taken care of at the market, because the owners can no longer look after them. Nowadays Lee simply hangs up on such enquiries in disgust, wondering why people see the Moran market as a ‘dog dumping ground.’
Last year, Lee was embroiled in a huge controversy with animal rights groups over the ‘dogmeat festival’, but he has had enough with the double standard that he witnessed in the people who criticized him for dog meat handling and the people who bring their pet dogs to dispose of them once the dog is no longer wanted.
According to Mr. Lee, the number of stray dogs found around the Moran market is about 15-16 per month. The dog owners often quietly propose that the meat merchants take the dog and when the merchants refuse, they simply abandon their pet dog somewhere nearby. Those dogs often stay in groups of 5-6 and some of them ‘suddenly disappear.’
Mr. Lee reveals that ‘the pet dogs that are no longer wanted or fall sick cost about 300,000 Won ($300 USD) to put down, so they try to save on the cost by bringing them here.’ Sometimes even pet shops or vetenerians also approach them for dogs under treatment. The merchants cannot take on any dog that has been neutered for hygienic reasons.
In fact this reporter found a small dog alone near a garbage dump. The dog appeared very guarded against any human and kept its distance.
Lee pointed to a several shacks on the wasteland, saying ‘over there they eat the stray dogs all the time.’ He often hears from witnesses who have seen homeless people directly take a live animal to eat.
Lee vented his anger: ‘Seeing homeless people eating those stray dogs, the problem is that it is not only unhygienic but I wonder whether animal rights groups have any idea that this is going on, and if so I’m curious what they plan to do about it.’
Every year, a number of animal rights group activists have protests around the Boknal. Even the confrontation between the merchants and the activists has become something of a typical scene.
Mr. Lee concluded by asking restraint on blanket criticism for difference of opinion. He wishes to ‘remind the people of the cruelty of procedures such as removing a dog’s vocal chords or snipping off their ears to prevent odours’ to keep them indoor.
UPDATE: These comments have been updated to include more of the most ‘liked’ comments following an increase in netizen interest.
Comments from Daum:
Never mind whether eating or not eating dog meat is good or bad, what really pisses me off are humans who cherish and raise a dog, only to ruthlessly sell them to a dog-meat merchance when the dog later gets ill or injured, or when they’re sick of it. When I see this kind of thing, it seems that people like this are people who have not the slightest good conscience or mercy in their hearts.
Other commenters have correctly pinpointed things in what they’ve said. From the perspective of someone who has a pet dog, I also get very angry when I see people who think things like if a dog barks loudly, cut it’s vocal chords, or if they have a baby or move house how can they dispose of the dog and so on. When you lovingly care for a dog, are your own circumstances so pitiful..if you’re not in a secure position in the first place, you shouldn’t get a dog, should you..What on earth has the dog done to you? To put it in human terms, it’s being abandoned by your mother and father..Really..if personal circumstances don’t allow it, don’t get a dog. Don’t raise it and then abandon it somewhere..what goes around comes around.
On the contrary, there are a lot of people who don’t even like the fact that you can’t fold up a baby and put it away……..I also had a dog for fifteen years, but it died a while ago ㅠㅜ We buried it in the back garden, but they say that’s illegal ;;;;; You know that you look after a normal dog for fifteen years. If you don’t have confidence to deal with giving them affection…………or for your heart to ache as much as the affection you recieve, then just don’t get a dog. Simple as that.
I’m not saying ‘why do we eat dog’ but people who sell a dog they had kept as a pet to a market — they can just die. Puts me off my food. Humans are scumbags.
What’s the reason that dogs are worse than cows, pigs, hens, and ducks? You absolutely shouldn’t [eat] dog, but why is it alright to devour cows, pigs, hens and ducks? Pet animals? That’s what you guys who keep pets think: ‘I have a pet cow. Those who have looked into a cow’s bright eyes could certainly never consume beef. People who eat beef are barbarians’ [the comment referred to is also included below]
Bastards who throw away their dogs are the worst kind of human scum.
Seems to me that sympathising with this is a bit two-faced
Let’s reduce meat consumption… Do we really need to meat that bad?
I cannot believe there is still such a market *gasp*……. Whatever happened to all the people who speak of ‘man’s best friend’??? Are we so starved that we eat puppies???????
Are there any other animals that is so close to us?? Sometimes they even feel like human-beings.. We are not starving anymore..why must we eat man’s best friend… Cows, pigs and chickens are slaughtered in a suitable manner..dogs are clubbed to death.. I hope we can put a stop to this cruelty..
So depressing,, They are such a loyal companion,, let us be more responsible,,
I went to Moran because it was Boknal…. I almost threw up ;;;; Seeing those dogs locked in cages being electrocuted. I walked around seeing so many of them…. I wanted to release and rescue them all. I had snacks with me but I could not even touch them, so I just threw it away;;;;
A dog is a precious life like anything else. Instead of just saying it, please pay attention to them however small they are, and they will cherish it as love.
Dogs are loyal and cute so we shouldn’t eat them, but cows and pigs are alright? This is one human-centered opinion.
Don’t eat beef…. I grew up with a cow as a child. Have you ever looked into their eyes? If you remember those big sad eyes you can never touch beef. I don’t eat beef. I feel as though people who eat beef are savages.
Dog or human-being, if you are not sure about looking after it, do not buy it and do not have it.
This is when I am most embarrassed about being a Korean…..seeing another human being eating a dog. How can you eat a dog???
Dogs are our only friends? Cows and pigs are our friends too — Why must we not eat dogs only? I don’t hear a single logical argument against eating dog.
I don’t care what people eat, but ones who dump one’s own companion really deserve to die. They are really just scum.
I used to have such an appetite for dog meat but once I discovered that they slaughter pet dogs, I cannot eat that stuff anymore. The taste is just not the same anymore ㅠㅠ
How can they dump their pet to a dog-meat restaurant? I don’t like dogs but I would never do such a thing!
I went to the Moran marketplace and those poor eyes begging for rescue…. I nearly cried there….. I wish we would stop eating dog.