INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR SOUTH KOREAN DOGS AND CATS 2012
SLIDESHOW OF EVENTS
PEOPLE DEFENDING ANIMALS (PDA)
On July 18th, on the first Bok day of Bok-Nal, known as the three “dog-eating days,” one of our South Korean partners, People Defending Animals (PDA), held a protest at lunchtime, in one of Seoul’s busiest downtown sections, behind City Hall, in what is referred to as Cuisine Row. Among the many restaurants are three that serve dog meat, even boasting of their forty-year histories of offering such a delicacy! Though dog meat is consumed throughout the year, the practice becomes ritualized, mythologized, and celebrated during the summer months, when farms are teeming with dogs, and the restaurants are overflowing with customers who fervently believe dog meat will strengthen their bodies and help beat the heat.
About 25 activists from local groups joined PDA, including another IDA South Korean partner, Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA), and handed out over 800 leaflets, describing why dog meat must be banned. IDA funded the printing of the leaflets, which featured an IDA rescue, Yuna, from a dog farm. Along with leaflets and IDA’s poster, as well as PDA’s poster that says, Beautiful Korea—No Dog Meat—500 organic peach juice samples were distributed. “Peach” in Korean is pronounced as “BOK-soong-a,” a play on Bok-Nal. The leaflets and juice vanished within 30 minutes.
The PDA protest garnered extensive media coverage, TV and print, and drew large and spirited crowds of over a thousand people in less than an hour. There were various responses from onlookers who stopped by the table: “I don’t eat dog meat but will take the leaflet to my office and tell my colleagues not to eat dog”; male businessmen in their forties, the demographic that habituates restaurants that serve dog meat, joked that “today they didn’t eat dog meat but, rather, chicken soup”; and others who asked why the activists were protesting, saying that “there are dogs who can be companions and dogs who are edible.” An activist got a text from a nearby police station: “Wish you good luck on your event. I don’t eat dog meat!” On the other hand, a restaurant owner and some staff came outside to yell at the protesters and asked if they had the right to be there. The protesters were marching in front of one of the restaurants, where a yellow banner read: Today is First Bok—it’s the day you should eat dog meat soup. It’s nutritious. And on the other side of the divide, PDA marchers also received hardy cheers from other restaurant owners and staff not serving dog meat. One woman shouted in a voice that reverberated around the march, “Right, we shouldn’t eat dogs! Hell, no!”
Activists Worldwide Speak Up For South Korean Dogs And Cats
IDA’s 8th annual International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats was a stirring success. This year, we were joined by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) in Washington, D.C., where crowds gathered at Dupont Circle for rousing speeches and a surprise performance by Willie Nelson’s daughter and granddaughter, Amy and Raelyn Nelson, who sang Cat Steven’s “I Love My Dog.”
We then made our way to Massachusetts Avenue and headed for the South Korean Embassy, chanting “2-4-6-8, Get Dogs off the Plate!” and “2-3-4-5, Cats Should Not Be Boiled Alive!” Arriving at the Embassy, we had a moment of silence and then the Nelsons sang again. Many in the crowd wore yellow T-shirts in honor of the so-called “yellow dogs,” or Nureongi. While any dog may end up on the dinner table in South Korea, large and small, purebreds and mixed, including animal companions who were abandoned or stolen from their families, “yellow dogs” are ubiquitous at the farms and markets.
Across the United States and abroad, protests took place from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to New York to Melbourne to Bangkok to Seoul.
In Las Vegas, activists distributed 735 brochures, and one auto mechanics garage (Your Auto Service #200) spread the word among its customers.
Despite 100 degree temperatures, dozens demonstrated in Los Angeles, led by canine Milo, wearing a banner that read “Beautiful Korea: No Dog Meat.”
In Bangkok, Thailand, the city’s first Day of Action for South Korean dogs and cats caused a stir among news and press agencies, including AP, KBS, and five local Bangkok TV stations that showed up to cover the event.
IDA’s International Day of Action for Dogs and Cats in South Korea draws attention to the $2 billion dollar-a-year South Korean dog and cat meat industry, which snuffs out the lives of approximately two and a half million dogs a year for meat or gaesoju, a dog wine or broth, and thousands of despised and doomed cats for so-called “health” tonics or goyangyeesoju, and soup. The industry operates in a sordid and illicit world where farmers and butchers kill with frightening impunity in the most abominable fashion, while the South Korean government remains chillingly indifferent.
Our profound thanks to all of the dedicated activists who participated on the Day of Action. But let it not be just one day. Please click here to see what you can do to help on any day of the year.