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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 16:59 GMT
South Korea's dog eaters bite back
Dog market in South Korea
Dog meat is believed to improve strength and virility
South Korea's dog meat lovers are biting back at their critics in the West.

Supporters of Korean restaurants which serve dog meat are threatening to cripple internet sites of leading Western media companies, whom they accuse of making insulting comments about the century-old tradition of eating dog.

"South Korean culture is under attack," said the organisers of one local website who have vowed to paralyse the site of US media giant Warner Brothers and that of French state television channels.


I am sure that Westerners will like dog meat if they eat it - it is tasty and healthy

Professor Ahn Yong-keun

Dog eating has once again become a hot topic ahead of the football World Cup finals to be co-hosted by South Korea and Japan.

The debate was partly fuelled by football's world governing body Fifa, which urged South Korea to take action against the slaughter of dogs and animal cruelty.

The French actress and animal rights activist Bridget Bardot has also denounced the practice.

Snails and horses

But many South Koreans are angry at the Western pressure on their traditional food.

"They do not show any remorse for their culture of eating snails and horses," say the organisers of the website.

"The cyber attack is to show the power of South Koreans and Asians against the West's sense of superiority and ignorance of our history."

Hundreds of dog meat supporters are planning a rally near the capital Seoul on Monday to defend their culinary tastes and protest against an expected government crackdown on dog restaurants.

Fifa logo
The World Cup has fulled the debate over dog meat

The South Korean authorities say they are taking action to halt the sometimes brutal and illegal slaughter methods but they will not ban the eating of dog meat.

About 6,000 restaurants throughout the country specialise in canine cuisine.

An estimated three million of South Korea's 46 million people are believed to eat dog meat regularly as a delicacy.

Some restaurants say they might shut down during the World Cup, while others see the football extravaganza as an opportunity to introduce squeamish Westerners to novelty food.

Some promoters say they plan to open "demonstration" restaurants in Seoul and elsewhere during the World Cup where foreigners can taste food made of dog meat.

Ahn Yong-keun, a food and nutrition professor at Chungchong University, said he is planning to introduce dozens of new dog meat recipes.

"I am sure that Westerners will like dog meat if they eat it. It is tasty and healthy," said the man known by the nickname of Dr Dogmeat.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Owner of London's Korea Food Company, Bernard Suh
explains the history of eating dog meat
What factors determine what we eat? -
Food Writer, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Jeremy MacClancey, Professor of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University discuss
See also:

28 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Call to legalise dog meat
31 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Vietnam's dog meat tradition
12 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
S Korea dog meat row deepens
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