SEOUL, May 12 (Korea Bizwire) – “Don’t buy domestic pets. Adopt them. And please look after your animals” reads a slogan used by a Korean animal rights group.
The Korean pet industry has grown bigger than ever, to a two-trillion-won industry, but the increasing popularity of pets has also led to a bigger problem; animal cruelty.
Dogs are being ‘produced’ in the same way that factories manufacture goods, and many domestic pets suffer from human ignorance and indifference.
A great deal of pet-buyers purchase animals without seriously considering the consequences or the responsibilities that follow, which leads to owners giving up on their animals.
Some of the abandoned female dogs end up back in the market, and are used for breeding until they reach their limits. They’re eventually resold to restaurants to be slaughtered and served to customers.
The Korean public is appealing for stricter legal punishment and regulations against animal cruelty, and animal rights activists are encouraging people to adopt animals rather than to buy them.
Netizens are pushing the government to forcefully shut down the so-called puppy mills. There are numerous unauthorized dog-breeding areas across the country in which the owners overbreed their animals, creating excess supply that eventually results in some of the dogs being abandoned.
Current animal protection laws state that animals must be protected from birth until death, but this doesn’t necessarily guarantee animal welfare since the law allows a single person to supervise up to one hundred animals. This means that a family of four can breed up to 400 animals, and there is no legal basis for intervention.
Adopting animals rather than purchasing them is another proposition.
“If there’s no demand, then there’s no supply. Let’s start adopting animals,” said one of the netizens.
Other developed countries have embraced legislation that protects animal rights. Germany guarantees animal rights in its constitution, and the EU and US are making moves to limit domestic pet trading.
“We need to create a social environment that helps people to acknowledge and respect animals and their rights to healthy lives,” said professor Seong-han Kim from Sookmyung Women’s University.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)