Dog Meat Served in South Korean Restaurants Despite Government Pressure Ahead of Olympics

February 8, 2018 Last Updated: February 8, 2018

When the Winter Olympics kick off on Friday, Feb. 9, in South Korea’s Pyeongchang county, international visitors will be, by all accounts, met with restaurant menus advertising dog meat.

Despite the government’s request to stop serving dog during the games, 10 of the 12 local restaurants offering the meat refused to desist. Even a promise of subsidies failed to persuade them.

A dog looks out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organized by Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul on Nov. 28, 2017. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

“We’ve faced a lot of complaints from restaurant operators that we are threatening their livelihood,” said Pyeongchang County government official Lee Yong-bae, according to Channel News Asia.

“Some of them initially shifted to selling pork or things instead of dog meat only to find their sales plunging sharply. They then switched back to dog meat,” Lee said.

Dogs in cages at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organized by Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul on Nov. 28, 2017. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

South Koreans eat an estimated 1 million-2.5 million dogs a year, believing the meat increases energy.

Seoul officially frowns upon the practice, classifying the meat as “detestable,” similar to snake meat. But it hasn’t gone as far as banning it.

Dogs look out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organized by Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul on Nov. 28, 2017. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

The custom is waning with new generations, who many times keep dogs as pets. Korean President Moon Jae-in even adopted a dog saved from a meat farm.

Moreover, activists have used the Olympics as an opportunity to step up pressure on the government and persuade the public to ditch dog eating. They said the dogs are raised in bad conditions and killed cruelly by electrocution, smashing their head, and beating.

A dog looks out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organized by Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul on Nov. 28, 2017. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

“This business will last for five years more at the most,” one dog meat shopkeeper told Hankyoreh news site last year.

In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, Lola Webber of the Humane Society International (HSI) interacts with a dog in a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the HSI in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul.<br /> The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
Lola Webber of Humane Society International (HSI) with a dog in a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organized by HSI in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul on Nov. 28, 2017. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the Olympics issued the following statement to USA Today: “We are aware of the international concern around the consumption of dog meat in Korea. This is a matter which the government should address. We hope that this issue will not impact on the delivery or reputation of the games and the province and we will support the work of the province and government on this topic as needed. Also, dog meat will not be served at any games venue.”

Recommended Video:

Emotional Footage Shows Overjoyed Family After Being Reunited With Missing Dog