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Friday, 28 December, 2001, 08:47 GMT
Call to legalise dog meat
Puppies in an Asian street market
Dog meat is believed to improve strength and virility
South Korean lawmakers are proposing a bill to legalise the slaughter of dogs for meat in an attempt to calm international criticism of the practice ahead of the 2002 World Cup.

Advocates of the proposed legislation argue it will help the government impose strict checks to enforce laws banning cruelty against animals.

Protest against legalising dog meat in 1999 in South Korea
Attempts to legalise dog slaughter in the past have sparked protests
Many Koreans have been angered by criticism from abroad over their treatment of dogs.

"Some foreigners, because of their lack of cultural understanding, have gone so far as to insult the Korean people over eating dogs," said King Hong-Shin from the Grand National Party (GNP).

Last month, Sepp Blatter, the president of football's world governing body, Fifa, wrote to South Korea asking for "immediate and decisive measures" against cruelty, which animal rights activists say is employed against the dogs.

South Korea is co-host of the 2002 World Cup, due to start on 31 May, with Japan.

Better regulation

Twenty MPs have submitted the bill to include dogs in the Livestock Processing Act.

The bill is scheduled to be debated in February, when parliament reconvenes.

2002 World Cup poster
Fifa say now is a good time to stop 'cruelty'
If passed, the law would regulate the conditions in which the dogs are slaughtered and the processing and distribution of their meat.

Traditionally, dogs were hanged or beaten with bats to soften the flesh before killing. These methods are now officially banned and they should be killed instantly by electrocution.

But Fifa - backed by animal rights activists - says many dogs are still being tortured.

Top South Korean football official, Chung Mong-Jun, responded at the time saying Fifa should not meddle in his country's eating habits.

World Cup trophyWorld Cup 2002
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See also:

12 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
S Korea dog meat row deepens
06 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Fifa warns S Korea over dog meat
02 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan bans dog meat
29 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
No dogs on Seoul menus
17 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
South Korea's dog day
11 Mar 99 | World
Dogs 'blow-torched' alive
05 Aug 98 | Asia-Pacific
Koreans arrested over dog soup
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