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South Korea – Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

South Korea is a country located in East Asia with a rich cultural heritage and a modern, bustling society. It is known for its technological advancements, food, and entertainment industry. However, when it comes to animal welfare, South Korea has faced criticism in recent years due to certain cultural practices and lack of laws regarding animal rights. In this article, we will explore the prevailing attitude towards animals and pets in South Korea, the laws regarding pet ownership, major animal charities, pet supply stores, and any cultural taboos or sensitivities associated with different types of animals.

Attitude to Animals and Pets

In South Korea, pets are becoming increasingly popular as more people are choosing to live alone or without children. Dogs are the most popular pet in South Korea, followed by cats, and small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. However, the attitude towards animals in South Korea is complex due to cultural practices such as dog meat consumption, which has led to controversy and protests from animal rights activists.

The younger generation in South Korea is more accepting of pets and animals as companions and are actively involved in animal welfare and advocacy. However, there is still a generational divide where older generations are more accepting of certain cultural practices such as dog meat consumption.

Laws Regarding Pet Ownership

In South Korea, there are laws regarding pet ownership that require pet owners to register their pets and vaccinate them against rabies. Additionally, pets must be leashed in public areas and pet owners are responsible for their pets’ actions. There are also regulations regarding the breeding and sale of pets.

However, there are no laws regarding animal cruelty or animal abuse, which has led to concerns from animal rights activists. The lack of animal welfare laws has also led to the continuation of cultural practices such as dog meat consumption.

Major Animal Charities

There are several major animal charities in South Korea that work towards animal welfare and advocacy. One of the largest animal charities in South Korea is CARE, which stands for “Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth.” CARE operates a shelter for abandoned animals, provides veterinary care, and works towards improving animal welfare laws in South Korea. Another prominent animal charity is KARA, which stands for “Korea Animal Rights Advocates.” KARA focuses on animal welfare advocacy, education, and rescue.


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Pet Supply Stores

There are many pet supply stores in South Korea, both brick-and-mortar and online. Some popular pet supply stores in South Korea include Petpal, PetUs, and Petbe. These stores offer a wide range of products for pets including food, toys, accessories, and grooming supplies.

Online pet supply stores are also popular in South Korea, with sites such as Gmarket, Coupang, and 11st offering a wide variety of pet products. Many of these online stores offer same-day delivery and free shipping for orders over a certain amount.

Cultural Taboos or Sensitivities

There are several cultural taboos and sensitivities associated with different types of animals in South Korea. One of the most notable examples is the consumption of dog meat, which has been a part of traditional cuisine in South Korea for centuries. While the consumption of dog meat is not illegal in South Korea, it has become increasingly controversial in recent years due to concerns about animal welfare and the spread of disease.

There are also cultural taboos and sensitivities associated with the treatment of animals in general. For example, it is considered rude to stare directly into the eyes of a dog, as this is seen as a challenge or a threat. In addition, there are certain superstitions and beliefs associated with animals, such as the belief that black cats are unlucky or that certain animals are associated with specific personality traits or characteristics.

Overall, while attitudes towards animals and pets in South Korea are generally positive, there are still cultural taboos and sensitivities that should be taken into consideration when interacting with animals or discussing animal-related issues.


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