Amid reports celebrating the closure of South Korea’s biggest dog meat market, it appears the Moran market will stay open after all, an animal rights group says.
The country has started to shutter its dog meat markets in response to international criticism, ahead of it playing host to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
But Moran in Seongnam, which sells the meat from over 80,000 dogs per year for human consumption, is due to stay open, says the Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE).
It’s merely the display and slaughtering of live dogs that would stop — dog meat sales will continue at Moran, CARE said in a statement on Wednesday.
Moran’s sales account for about a third of the country’s dog meat consumption.
The city had agreed to shut down kennels and slaughterhouses in December.
Dog meat vendors were promised financial support to refurbish their premises and open new businesses, according to city officials, who are seeking to remodel Moran and end its association with the dog meat trade.
In a video recording posted, Moran chairman of the Guild of Merchants, Kim Yong Buk, asserted that dog meat would continue to be sold at the market, but that vendors had agreed to refurbish the area.
“We decided to voluntarily remove dog slaughter facilities in the market to abolish the slaughter of dogs here,” Kim was reported as saying by the Korea Herald. Over 60 square meters (about 645 square feet) of shops were demolished, the Hankyoreh reported.
But that doesn’t change anything “from the animal’s point of view,” asserts CARE.
“The dismantling of the display and slaughtering facilities will mean that only those things that make us uncomfortable will disappear,” CARE added.
“We must be careful to not let the emotion of a small “victory” obscure the facts.”
And not all the vendors agreed to the plans.
Seven of the 22 vendors who signed the agreement with the city government have since changed their minds, citing difficulties in changing their business model, and a potentially “tremendous” profit loss when the ban in slaughtering dogs is in place, according to the Korea Herald.