Activists and celebrities joined together in a large march and protest on Friday the 8th of July against the Korean summer season of dog eating called ‘Boknal’. Wildlife presenters Nigel Marven and Anneka Svenska, Dominic Dyer CEO of the Badger Trust, Duke Ingram of Besureis, K9 Angels, as well as many other charities and activists lent their impassioned voices to this demo which followed on from the Yulin demonstration outside the Chinese embassy two weeks prior. Well over 100 protesters stood in solidarity for dogs worldwide outside the doors of the Korean Embassy, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and the Queen’s corgis.
Bok-Nal literally translates as ‘Dog Days’ and is a 3 week Korean holiday marking the height of the summer growing season. It is traditionally the hottest time of the year and in a bid to beat the summer heat, many Koreans will consume ‘traditional’ soups or tonics made of dog meat. The meat is believed to have magical restorative powers, increasing overall health and fitness, as well as the powers to ‘cool the blood’, yet no such magical health benefits have been proven to exist and it has been simply argued that it’s the ‘water’ content in the soups which help in hydration. Dog meat consumption will increase considerably during this period, focusing in on 3 days in particular. The event is hosted on the first day July 19th called Cho Bok translated as ‘first summer’ continuing through to Joong Bok, ‘mid-summer’, on the 29th of July and Mal Bok, ‘end of summer’, on August 8th, lasting approx. 3.5 weeks.
South Korea has the world’s 14th largest economy yet this is also a country where an estimated 2.5 million dogs and thousands of cats are slaughtered and eaten each year. Forced to endure deprivation and unimaginable torture from the moment they are born until the day they are slaughtered, dogs are imprisoned in cramped, filthy, raised, wire, cages all their lives with no protection from extreme weather. They have no exercise, companionship or medical care, and they never feel the ground beneath their feet. Their eardrums are often burst to prevent them from barking.
In broad daylight, often in front of other live dogs, they are electrocuted, hanged, beaten, have their throats slashed, boiled or burnt to death. This is a profit-driven, tax free, unregulated industry where a belief system that the more a dog suffers, the better its meat is. This is why so many dogs are sadistically made to experience extreme fear and suffering prior to death. Cats are frequently boiled alive to make health tonics, too.
The demand is so high in South Korea that 20% of the dogs eaten are now imported from China. Unlike China, most of the dogs are farmed and these same dogs are pumped full of antibiotics and medicines – it is the only way to keep them alive and free from disease, because of the terrible conditions they live in.
Some people believe a solution to the social, environmental, and health problems of the illegal dog meat industry is to legalise it. However, legalisation of dog eating will do nothing to stop the cruelty. If condoned by the government, it would only become more widespread and open. And it would still be practically impossible to police. Dog farmers will not want extra social responsibilities, rules and regulations, and costs. It will be cheaper for many to continue to farm illegally without restrictions.
Just this week, it was announced that South Korea’s longest running dog meat restaurant of 33 years is finally closing its doors due to demand for dog meat being in decline. “Most young people eat chicken soup on a dog day and even those who eat dog tend to refrain from talking about it openly”, according to Moon Jaesuk, a 32-year-old researcher “Young South Koreans grow up watching TV shows about raising puppies and other pets, which sapped appetite for dog meat”
Many animal rescue charities are actively operating out in South Korean, The Humane Society International has rescued 495 dogs this year and closed at least 5 slaughterhouses. Other local famous rescuers, including a local lady called Nami Kim works hard on a daily basis trying to change beliefs and minds in her home country, as well as trying to save as many dogs that she is able.
Protesters missed Miracle, the rescue dog from the Thai meat trade along with her rescuer Amanda Leask, when their train was turned back from London due to line works and directed back up to Edinburgh. Miracle sent his love to all the other protesters and dogs there. However, his friends Sophie and Peggi were there. Sophie was spotted by Anneka while sitting in a death camp in Northern Thailand 2 years ago, she looked for a good home for her and Mike Shaw stepped forward. After fostering Peggi, brought over by Niz Khan, Mike also knew he couldn’t separate the two dogs who adored one another and thus a happy ending for them both. All of these dogs are now ambassadors working to stop the cruel meat trade.
Anneka’s Angels for the Innocent Ambassador colleague Leilani Dowding also attended The Los Angels #STOPBOKNAL protest the day after and reported back for GreenWorldTV – Leilani’s report will be edited in with London demo film which Anneka is editing up right now.
Anneka wrote a poem to go with her speech at the demo and has been asked to write it out here so people can read it so here is is:
‘One is born on soft sheets, milk & food until she’s full,
Another is born on cold wire, when she walks she falls,
One has kindness, one million hugs and a warm comfy home,
Another is shunned and isolated, she shivers on her own
One has only the best food given from expensive little tins,
The other has food when she’s lucky – chucked at her from bins
One is walked every day, smells the grass, sleeps upon a bed,
The other is crushed with shivering friends, baking sun upon her head,
One grows old with family; she knows her time is done,
The other never gets old, killed before she’s one
One leaves this world with kindness, the eternal sleep, strokes upon her head,
The other is hung from a rafter, beaten and choked until she’s dead
One is laid to rest with a small cross, the whole family gather together,
The other is chopped and cooked in a pot, her memory gone forever’
Written by Anneka Svenska, July 2016
There is a Government Petition online which is running at approx. 97,000 signatures. To sign this please visit: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/120702
To find out more about the Dog Meat Trade, charities and what you can do, please visit:
Stay tuned for GreenWorldTV’s Film of the March which will be out soon
Thankyou to Besureis for the use of photos