The San Francisco-based animal rights organization In Defense of Animals wants South Koreans to stop eating animals--at least the adorable ones, anyway.
The group is staging a protest in front of San Francisco's South Korean consulate this Tuesday, where it will be delivering a petition with over 15,000 signatures urging the South Korean government to do more to stop the consumption of dogs and cats inside of its borders.
This week's event is part of the "International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats" the organization is simultaneously holding in dozens of cities all over the world.
While it's now technically illegal to eat dogs and cats in South Korea, the government has not been good about enforcing the laws, thus allowing the tradition to continue in parts of the country, [In Defense of Animals Campaign Manager Robin] Dorman says. So killing dogs and cats is illegal, but the processing and sale of the animals is not, she added.
"The law is deliberately obscure," Dorman says.
Consumption of cats and dogs in South Korea has decreased in recent years as more people in the Land of the Morning Calm take these animals as pets, which has led to the formation of a burgeoning animal rights movement in the nation.
Earlier this year, bowing to domestic and international pressure, a major annual festival at Moran Market, the infamous outdoor market near Seoul where a majority of the country's dog meat is sold, was cancelled.
South Korea has come under scrutiny for the practice of eating dogs before, particularly during international sporting events hosted there, such as the 1998 Seoul Olympics and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted with Japan.
Some reports following the 2002 World Cup said the practice of torturing dogs before slaughter had ended, and that dogs killed for meat were killed instantly by electric shock.
In the late 1990s, there were efforts in Korea to classify dogs as livestock similar to cows or chickens and move them out of the black market, where their pre-slaughter treatment was particularly inhumane. Those efforts were stymied by anti-dog meat activists who pushed legislators away from moving the practice into an arena where it could be monitored and regulated.
Cat is consumed in South Korea much less frequently than dog; it is sometimes customarily boiled into a tonic to treat arthritis.
While it's illegal to sell dog or cat meat in the United States, 44 states allow for its consumption. The California Penal Code prohibits the consumption of any part of the carcass of an animal "traditionally or commonly kept as a pet."
Besides, what kind of heartless monster could eat something that knows how to flush a toilet?