According to the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C., about two million dogs are killed for food in South Korea. Although the dog meat industry accounts for about 40 percent of the meat industry, official statistics show that the number of restaurants actually serving dog meat has fallen by 40 percent between 2005 and 2014.
Due to younger generations steering away from consuming dog meat, as they view dogs as companions instead of food, the industry is slowly decreasing and beginning to collapse. It was not until April 2018 that dog meat killing was ruled illegal by the Korean government. One of the biggest dog meat slaughterhouse in Korea, The Taepyeong-dong complex, closed its doors and is to be cleared and converted into a public park. Although this practice is now illegal, dogs are still be killed and sold. The DoVe Project, a non-profit organisation working towards ending dog meat trading in Asia, interviewed people on the street. Much of the public were not even aware that the dog meat trade is going on or underestimate the number of dogs being killed yearly.
Recently, Jenni Baez ‘20, was scrolling through her Facebook homepage. She came across a video uploaded by the DoVe Project where they explained the dog meat trade in South Korea.
“I saw how dogs were treated and what they go through in South Korea and decided I needed to do something to stop that,” Baez said. Baez ended up getting in contact with the DoVe Project and worked with the organization to create the Anti-Animal Cruelty club.
The main purpose of the club is to “raise money by selling cupcakes, making shirts, etc. so we can donate [to the DoVe Project],” Allison Hmura ‘19 said.
The club is also working towards ending the consumption in Oregon as it is still legal to consume cat and dog meat. Currently, it is legal to consume dog meat in 44 states.
However, dogs are not only abused for the purpose of food. Dog fights are still occurring around the country. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has prosecuted multiple cases where drug cartels were running narcotics through cockfighting and dogfighting operations. According to the Humane Society, intentional animal cruelty is strongly related to other crimes, usually violence against other people, and 71 percent of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets.
Although the club’s main focus is the dog meat industry, they do enforce the importance of the cruelty among the farming industry. Chelsea Chihuahua ‘20 is vegetarian and has been for about a year.
“I try to not contribute to the animal cruelty in the meat industry because I do think one more person going vegetarian can definitely make a difference,” Chihuahua said.
The club meets Tuesdays at 2:30 PM in room 212. Members of the club hope Saxons will raise awareness and bring attention to the cruelty of not only dogs but all animals.
“You know what type of person it is by the way they treat animals,” Baez said.