The slaughter and sale of dogs for their meat is to become illegal in South Korea, after the Parliament unanimously passed a law to ban the dog meat industry with 208 votes in favour, none against, and two abstentions.

The new law focuses on the dog meat trade – those convicted of breeding, butchering dogs, distributing or selling dog meat may be jailed up to three years or fined up to 30 million won ($22,800). However, the consumption of meat itself will not be illegal under the new law.

The ban will take effect in 2027 after a phase-out period of three years. Farmers and restaurant owners have three years to find alternative sources of employment and income before the legislation comes into force.

Activists estimate that nearly one million dogs are farmed and killed for human consumption in South Korea every year. Government statistics show that there are over 1,000 dog farms and about 1,600 restaurants selling dog meat dishes.

Dog meat has been slowly outlawed in the Asian region, including in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and some cities in China and Indonesia.