UPDATE, April 4, 2010:
Great news! As a result of protests and complaints from animal organizations and individuals around Korea, the government confirmed on April 2 that it will not go ahead with the Busan puppy mills project! At first we heard it would be "postponed," which was of course unacceptable. But now, it seems, it has been cancelled!
Protesters in Busan.
In a move that has stunned animal welfare and rights groups in Korea, the Korean government has decided to open and support puppy mill operations, starting in Busan in March, 2010.
A news item about it is here.
Protests have been lodged and among them is this letter sent to one of the major backers in the crazy enterprise, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, and to the manager of the project, Kim Tae Su:
|Dear Sir / Madam,
I am astounded by the plans of the Korean government to open a Companion Animal Breeding Center at the Agricultural Technology Center in Kijang-kun, Busan.
The Korean government's scheme to make money by exploiting more animals appears to be unnecessary, irresponsible, and short sighted. It is an action that could lead to a national animal welfare disaster. I therefore have some questions about the logic behind this very strange initiative.
1. An over-population of companion animals already exists in Korea, and yet the government's response is to breed more dogs.
2. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery announced that the average number of abandoned animals annually is up around 100,000. Animal protection groups estimated that the truer figure is up around 700,000 animals abandoned.
- Does the government think that breeding more dogs will make the dog over-population problem worse or better?
3. In forward thinking and progressive societies the trend is to promote the adoption of shelter animals. In West Hollywood, for example, pet shops are now required to sell only dogs from dog shelters. A dog breeding facility backed by the government is a very long way from this kind of smart and intelligent thinking.
- Why isn't the government trying to fix this problem first before breeding yet more dogs?
4. Currently, shelters around Korea are full of the kinds of dogs the Korean government plans to breed. These poor dogs live in crowded shelters because they have been abandoned by irresponsible Koreans.
- Why isn't the government trying to solve the abandoned dog problem through the reselling of shelter dogs or by widely promoting their adoption?
5. Volunteer and animal welfare agencies are already struggling to help dog shelters with food and aid. They have to raise money themselves because the government offers no help.
- Is the government prepared to start spending money to assist the many dog shelters that exist all over Korea?
- Will the government spend even more money to help animals shelters when the abandoned animal problem becomes worse?
6. Animal welfare laws in Korea are inadequate and not enforced. With more dogs being bred, there will be more abuse and more abandonment.
- Is the government going to start helping animal welfare agencies by providing them with financial assistance?
7. The Korean government is rushing headlong into a money making scheme without having considered the consequences.
- Will the government spend money to educate the public about the proper treatment of animals and about the evils of abandoning animals?
- Will the government also upgrade its animal protection laws, or else will it finally begin to properly enforce the current animal protection laws?
8. Only people sympathetic or useful to the government appear to have been consulted about the dog breeding initiative
- Why were animal welfare agencies not consulted in the decision making process concerning the dog breeding scheme?
- Did the government want to avoid hearing about any inconvenient animal welfare or ethics issues relating to this scheme?
9. The dog breeding scheme will draw condemnation from the international community. Already people avoid buying Korean products because of the disgraceful dog meat industry.
- Why did the government go ahead with the breeding initiative without allowing any public debate about it?
I look forward to your responses to these questions. I have written about your dog breeding policy online and I will also publish your answers online for the international community.
- It would appear that the government does not care what the international community thinks about Korea. Is this true?
- Should the government cancel the dog breeding initiative, so that it can prevent further social problems, further shame and further criticism of Korea regarding its poor animal welfare standards?
Indeed any answers, if sent, will be published on this site.
* * *
The following are contact details for where to submit protests:
Online complaint and query submission:
Person in Charge of the Project in Gijang County Office
(Agricultural Technology Center)
Kim Tae Su
Minister For Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF)
Tel: 822- 500-1501~2/ 822-2110-4000
Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Fax: 822- 503- 7249
Mayor of Busan Mr. Huh-Nam-shik
Busan City Hall
051-120, Jungang-ro 2001
Yeonjae- Ku, Busan
Tel: 8251- 120
Mayor of Gijang- Gun, Busan
400, Gijang Dae-ro, Gijang-up
Tel: 8251-709- 4000
Fax: 8251- 709- 4444
Gijang Agriculture Technology Center
New Im-gwang Bldg.,
81 Uijuro, Seodaemun-gu
Tel: 8251- 709- 5303
Rural Development Administration
Administrator Mr. Kim, Jae-soo
Suin-ro, 150, Gwonseon-gu
Suwon city, Gyeonggi-do
Tel: 8231- 299-2200
Fax: 8231- 299- 2469