SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – Lotte Mart has recently announced plans to ditch sales of pets through gradual steps and promote animal adoption instead, after signing an agreement with animal rights groups on Tuesday, a move that will see the South Korean retail giant end pet sales by 2018.
Working together with the Korea Animal Welfare Association, Lotte Mart has pledged to end pet sales at its Pet Garden stores in 28 locations across the country by the end of next year, with plans to launch animal adoption campaigns at its stores and on its website.
As part of efforts to promote animal adoption, the retail giant is giving away online discount coupons to some 20,000 members of the Korea Animal Welfare Association while pet-friendly gifts such as pet food and urine pads will be given to those who adopt animals at Pet Garden stores.
In addition, other plans have also been revealed to lend a helping hand to the animal group by sending a group of volunteers consisting of employees at the Guri, Namyangju, Deokso, and Maseok branches of Lotte Mart to the Korea Animal Welfare Association’s animal care center in Namyangju on a regular basis, where they will help clean, bathe, and walk the abandoned animals.
The companion animal welfare center in Namyangju accommodates over 400 abandoned animals each year, and usually finds a new home for over 100 of them.
“Putting aside the relationship between humans and pets, every creature has a right to be protected and respected. Through the companion animal campaign, we hope to raise awareness of the issue of abandoned animals and see more support,” Kim Sun-min, an official at Lotte Mart, said.
As of now, Lotte Mart operates Pet Garden stores at 28 of its locations, handling a wide range of over 2,000 items, with veterinarians on standby at some locations capable of performing medical procedures including surgery.
Buying pets as opposed to adoption is advised against by animal rights groups including PETA, who argue buying a dog from a pet store means indirectly supporting cruel puppy mills.
With growing pet ownership, the debate over puppy mills has been increasingly contentious in South Korea, with President Moon Jae-in setting a precedent by bringing stray dog Tory into the Blue House, becoming the first president to make a stray dog the country’s first dog.