Killing dogs for meat is illegal, South Korea rules

In this Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, photo, dogs are seen in cages at a dog meat farm in Siheung, South Korea. Ahn Young-joon/AP

South Korean court has ruled that killing dogs for their meat is illegal.

The landmark decision comes after much criticism from animal advocates over the country. The court case was brought forward by animal rights group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (Care) against a dog farm, which they said was killing animals without a real reason.

WATCH: 18 dogs saved from dog meat farm arrive in Toronto

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18 dogs saved from dog meat farm arrive in Toronto

But the ruling doesn’t outlaw dog meat consumption in a country where about one-million canines are eaten each year, according to The Guardian.

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Kim Kyung-eun, who works with Care, said that this is an important first step in the organization’s call for dog meat to be outlawed entirely.

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READ MORE: 110 pooches rescued from dog meat festival arrive in Canada

“It is very significant in that it is the first court decision that killing dogs for dog meat is illegal itself,” she said.

The country’s dog farms have been widely criticized internationally, especially during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, when some athletes made headlines for adopting the animals to save them.

Canadians have also been rescuing and adopting canines from South Korean dog farms in order to prevent them from being killed.

Earlier this month, dozens of dogs arrived in Canada after being rescued by Humane Society International Canada.

READ MORE: Dogs rescued from South Korean meat farm land in Toronto

The organization has been active in calling for a full ban on the dog meat trade, and said that roughly two-million dogs are kept in 17,000 farming facilities in South Korea.

Julie MacInnis, a campaign manager with Humane Society International Canada, told Global News many of the animals are kept in elevated wire cages with no room to roam.

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WATCH: Protesters using Olympics to expose estimated 17,000 dog meat farms in South Korea

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Protesters using Olympics to expose estimated 17,000 dog meat farms in South Korea

“Dogs on dog meat farms are fed a really disgusting and stomach-churning mix of restaurant waste,” described MacInnis. She added many of the animals are timid because of the experience.

South Korea isn’t the only country that has faced heat over its consumption of dog meat.

China’s annual Yulin dog meat festival, which is currently taking place, attracts international outrage each year.

READ MORE: Yulin dog meat festival in China continues despite global outrage

The 10-day event, dubbed the lychee and dog meat festival by residents, has become a lightning rod for dog lovers, who every year confront those who buy, sell and eat canines.

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Activists say the dog meat trade is inhumane and unhygienic, pointing to videos of dogs caught with wire lassos, transported in tiny cages and slaughtered with metal rods.

But those defending the festival say it is an important cultural tradition.

— With files from Global News reporter Shallima Maharaj, Reuters

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