Cheong Wa-dae, official residence of the President of the Republic of Korea. Photo by iStock.

More than 200 Seoul protesters rallied outside Cheong Wa dae, the South Korean Presidential residence, to urge an immediate ban on the trade and consumption of dog meat in South Korea.

Activists, legislators and celebrities protested on August 16, traditionally the hottest day of the year according to the Lunar calendar. Many Koreans believe that eating dog meat on the hottest day can help them beat extreme summer temperatures, Yonhap reported.

Animal rights groups including Humane Society International from the UK and the local Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) were among the protesters. They accused the government of negligence towards animal welfare and protested the glorification of “anachronistic” dog meat consumption by passing it off as tradition and culture.

A KARA representative said the government should ban dog meat consumption as there is a shift regarding the way society perceives it.

However, the Korean Dog Meat Association called for the legalization of dog meat trade for the reason that banning the dog meat trade would “wipe out livestock farmers”.

Earlier this month, the Indonesian government announced plans to ban the trade in dog and cat meat in order to improve the country’s image to foreign tourists. The South Korean government also said it is considering removing dogs from its official definition of “livestock”. The two announcements may create some pressure on other Asian countries such as China and Vietnam, where the consumption of dog meat remains common.

Read: South Korea mulls dropping dogs from livestock list

Read: Indonesia bans dog, cat meat trade to improve tourism image

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