South Korean National Assembly Approves Ban on Dog Meat Consumption

Seoul, South Korea - The South Korean National Assembly has officially passed a bill banning the consumption of dog meat, a practice increasingly viewed as unfavorable in the country.

According to Yonhap News Agency, The legislation, prohibiting the breeding, butchering, distribution, and selling of dogs for meat, was approved with 208 votes in favor and 2 abstentions, according to the National Assembly. This move was jointly supported by the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), reflecting growing animal rights awareness and the rise in pet ownership in South Korea.

Additionally, the bill proposes subsidies to assist those in the dog meat industry in transitioning to new occupations. First Lady Kim Keon Hee has also been a vocal supporter of this ban, aligning with President Yoon Suk Yeol's campaign promises. The President and the First Lady, known for their affection for pets, share their home with four dogs and three cats.

Enforcement of the law is scheduled to begin in 2027, following a three-year grace period. Violations of the ban could result in a maximum prison sentence of two years or a fine of up to 30 million won (approximately US$22,768). Current government statistics indicate the existence of around 1,150 dog farms, 34 butchering businesses, 219 distributors, and roughly 1,600 restaurants that serve dog meat in South Korea.

Animal rights groups have warmly received the news of the ban. Lee Sang-kyung, a spokesperson for the local branch of Humane Society International, an animal rights group, hailed the ban as a significant shift in South Korea's approach to animal protection, marking the end of an outdated industry.

In a related development on Tuesday, the National Assembly also passed legislation for the establishment of an independent space and aerospace agency. The proposed Korea Aerospace Administration (KASA) aims to emulate the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and is expected to commence operations in Sacheon, about 296 kilometers south of Seoul, around May or June.

This initiative is part of President Yoon Suk Yeol's long-term strategy to drive future growth and establish South Korea's global presence in the competitive arena of space projects. President Yoon has praised the bill's passage, highlighting it as a significant step towards South Korea becoming a space power, as stated by his spokesperson, Kim Soo-kyung.

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