(SEOUL, South Korea) — A small group of animal rights activists caged themselves in protest against eating dog meat.
The protest came on “malbok,” which falls on the last day of summer according to the lunar calendar. The day is often celebrated in South Korea with a dog stew called “bosintang,” which translates to “body nourishing soup.”
The protesters picked Tuesday to highlight their claim that 1.2 million dogs are consumed every year in Korea.
South Korea banned dog meat sales in 1984, classifying it as “repugnant food,” but laws are not strictly enforced. Hong Kong also banned the killing and sale of dog in 1950. Dog meat is still consumed today in Switzerland, China and Vietnam, and in European countries like Belgium, France and Germany there are records of dog meat consumption in the 19th to early 20th century.
The protesters strongly disapprove of the traditional process of slaughtering the dogs by beating them to death. They are also against illegal dog farms and slaughterhouses that are unsanitary and that cage sick dogs, for example, with eye infections.
Most dog meat at South Korean restaurants is imported from China and North Korea, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who died last December, was reportedly a dog meat lover.
What may be most surprising to learn, though, is the price of what some consider a properly prepared “bosingtang” meal for four persons — almost $1,000.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Schams Elwazer, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Tim Hume, CNN
Ivana Kottasova and Armelle De Oliveira, CNN
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN