In a ruling cheered on by activists, a South Korean court has ruled fort the first time that it’s illegal to kill dogs for their meat, a move animal lovers hope will lead to a permanent ban on the practice.
Eating dogs has become taboo among the younger generation but it remains a cultural standby for some, according to AFP.
Lawmakers have hesitated to outright ban the practice and have instead acted with weaker regulatory laws, such as hygiene regulations or measures that ban cruel slaughter methods, the outlet said.
“It is very significant in that it is the first court decision that killing dogs for dog meat is illegal itself,” according to Kim Kyung-eun, a lawyer with the animal rights organization Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth.
She added the precedent has “paved the way for outlawing dog meat consumption entirely.”
Last year, CARE filed complaints against a dog farm operator and accused him of “killing animals without proper reasons,” as well as violating hygiene and building regulations.
Prosecutors ended up charging the man and he was convicted, which meant meat consumption could not be used as a legal defense to kill dogs. He was also fined about $2,700 and waived his right to appeal.
The decision was made in April but the details were only released this week.
CARE leader Park So-youn plans to continue tracking down similar dog farms and slaughterhouses across the country with the intent of filing similar complaints against them with authorities.
“Over the past decades, public discourse over dog meat consumption has shifted towards banning it,” she said.
“The dog meat industry will take greater heat because of the court ruling.”