SEOUL, Jul. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — Animal auction houses, which have been identified as a hotbed of illegal distribution of dogs and acts in South Korea, will now be required to register as retail businesses.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced Sunday that it had passed a revision to the Animal Protection Act, following regulatory measures introduced last year to secure the protection and uphold the wellbeing of animals.
Under the new animal protection law, existing animal auction houses will be registered as animal sellers, and required to meet standards regarding the quality of their facilities, staff members and management.
Local authorities will be informed of auction schedules in advance, and the auctions will take place in the presence of veterinarians and enough staff members to give animals a medical checkup and provide bidders with useful information to make sure the animals find a safe home.
While the new animal protection law will prohibit sellers from breeding and importing pet animals, animal producers and importers will be able to sell pets directly to pet market consumers, in an effort to cut the time animals spend in a cage waiting to be put up for auction, during which many are at risk of animal abuse.
As online sellers will also be subject to the new law, with websites now required to state registration numbers, the name of the business establishment and a contact number, those in breach of the new regulations will face a business suspension of up to one month.
Others measures included in the newly introduced law will see government-owned local animal care centers contact owners immediately after accepting abandoned animals that have ID chips, while pet owners who have relocated will be able to register a new address online in order to make it easy for animal care centers to contact them in case they have lost their pet.
“By expanding the target animals for our certification system and ramping up regulations for business owners of places like auction houses, we hope to prevent animal abuse and bring awareness of animal rights to consumers,” a MAFRA official said.