Could stray dogs become an export commodity? Photo: iStock
Could stray dogs become an export commodity? Photo: iStock

A state assemblyman in Malaysia has been criticized for his proposal to bring in additional government revenue by sending stray dogs to South Korea to be eaten.

Syed Abdul Rahman, a United Malays National Organization (UMNO) assemblyman in Johor state, suggested dogs could be scooped up and exported to Korea, The Star reported. He noted that South Koreans slaughtered 2 million dogs every year for their meat, and supplying this market could generate revenue for Malaysia.

The assemblyman said he had received numerous complaints about stray dogs from villagers and did not know where he could channel such grievances. At an assembly sitting, he made the export proposal.

However, Rahman was interrupted by Gan Peck Cheng, Deputy Speaker of the Johor State Assembly, who described the proposition as cruel.

Animal-rights group Noah’s Ark also criticized the idea. The group’s chairwoman Mariam Yusof said there were more humane ways of dealing with stray dogs and the export idea was absurd. She added that all animal shelters worked hard to control the numbers of strays.

Jacqueline Gomez, chairwoman of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Johor Baru chapter, said South Korea’s dog-meat market was on the decline. A Gallup Korea survey in June reported that 70% of South Koreans claimed that they no longer ate dog meat.

In addition, the South Korea Embassy in Cairo recently denied any intention to import dogs from Egypt for their meat, Cairo Scene reported. The statement came after a member of the Egyptian parliament suggested that strays be exported to dog-meat-consuming countries.

South Korea is not the only consumer of dog meat in Asia; China and Vietnam are the two largest consumers. However, Vietnam has made some moves against the practice. The regional government in Hanoi has urged its citizens to stop eating dog meat to maintain the capital’s reputation as well as to prevent the possible spread of rabies.