SEOUL, Sep. 2 (Korea Bizwire) - When “Sang-geuni,” a renowned dog in Korea which had been on a TV show, died in April, his owner didn’t know how to handle the body. As the fido was one of his family members, he really wanted to bury his pet in his family burial ground but he couldn’t. It is because burial of pet’s body is illegal in Korea. The owner had no choice but to have the remains cremated at the cost of 1,000,000 won, or about $985.
Even though more than 10 million Koreans have a pet, there are only three ways to deal with pet’s remains: to leave pet’s body with one of only seven pet funeral parlors for cremation at a high cost, to let veterinarian incinerate the body as a medical waste, or to place the remains in a trash bag for garbage collection.
“The legislation was enacted to prevent people from burying pet’s remains anywhere, which might cause hygiene problems. But the real problem is that the legislation does not respect the life of animals at all,” said Jeon Jin-kyung, an activist in an animal advocacy group, KARA.
Neither costly cremation by few service providers nor throwing away is favored. That is why pet owners choose to bury their pet’s body even though it is illegal.
In order to improve the existing scheme, the government first needs to expand funeral services for pet in many districts. The service will help not only respect the life of pets but also cut the cost of cremation for owners. Hwaseong City in the south of Gyeonggi Province announced on August 20 that it planned to build a funeral house for pets for the first time as a city.
“Disposing of pet’s body in a trash can means that animal rights are abused in Korea,” said Lee Hyung-joo, a manager in the Korean Animal Welfare Association. “But I believe that the legislation will be amended one day if people’s perception on pets improves and the number of funeral services such as the Hwaseong city funeral house are increasing” he added.
By Veronica Huh (firstname.lastname@example.org)