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06/28/2011 06:12 pm ET | Updated Aug 28, 2011

South Korea Dog Meat Festival Cancelled After Animal Rights Protests

Dog may be a staple ingredient in various Asian cuisines, but that wasn't enough to silence South Korean animal rights activists, whose repeated protests lead to the cancellation of a Seongnam festival focused on promoting canine meat's consumption.

As the AFP is reporting, the festival -- planned to “showcase canine food products, including barbecued dog, sausages and steamed paws” and to be held in a traditional open-air market -- quickly stirred fury from South Korean animal advocates and many Internet users, who conducted several online campaigns to force the event's cancellation. "This is making our country an international laughing stock, and making the whole world mistakenly believe that all South Koreans eat dogs," Park So-Youn, head of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth, is quoted as saying.

The continued protests eventually led to a lack of appropriate space for the event. "We couldn't possibly go on with the plan due to endless phone calls of complaint...now there are few willing to rent us a place for the event," Ann Yong-Geun, an adviser to Korea Dog Farmers' Association and a professor of nutrition at Chung Cheong University, told AFP.

Though the event has already garnered international headlines, just how popular dog meat truly is throughout South Korea remains a matter of debate. As the Wall Street Journal notes, dog meat soup, for example, "is not as popular as most news stories make it seem. A minority of people eat it regularly. It’s consumed most frequently in summer but is available year-round. And it’s more popular with men than women and is said to possess qualities that “help stamina.”

Of course, for those who do enjoy their dog meat, the South Korean event's cancellation seems unlikely to have lasting implications. As the Daily Mail reports, a similar, week-long festival kicked off without a hitch in China. "It is just like other meat," one local explained. "Smaller animals tend to be more delicate and sweeter while very big dogs have a strong, muscular taste."

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