Seoul has been declared free of dog slaughterhouses after the last three meat stores in the city agreed to stop killing dogs for food.
The last three dog meat shops in the South Korean capital said they would end the slaughter of dogs on the spot, after campaigning for more than a year from the city's mayor, Park Won-Soon.
In July, the notorious Gupo dog meat market closed in Busan in South Korea, after closing Taepyeong, the largest dog slaughterhouse in the country in Seongnam, the year before.
Park promised to close all dog butcheries in Seoul in February and made the announcement to an audience after a screening of an animated film about abandoned dogs called Underdog.
The meat has long been part of South Korean cuisine, with around one million dogs being eaten each year.
Most people in South Korea no longer eat dogs on a regular basis, but it remains popular in July and August when it is eaten as a soup called forest root. The Gupo market for dog meat is shown in Busan when more than 80 dogs were rescued when the local authorities stopped
Dogs are locked up in a cage last October at a dog meat farm in Namyangju, South Korea. Dogs intended to be killed for meat were relocated from the farm to the UK by the HSI / Korea
Each year 8,500 dogs are left in Seoul and a quarter of them are euthanized because they cannot be adopted.
Last year, the animal rights organization Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) was accused of euthanizing more than 200 stray dogs without permission.
The scandal led to more and more opposition to dog meat trade in South Korea.
When Gupo was closed, the mainly Korean Jindo mix dogs were freed by charity workers after being found in their tight cages.
Dog meat consumption is declining rapidly in South Korea, especially among younger generations, because attitudes to practice are changing.
A study by Gallup Korea in June 2018 showed that 70 percent of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in the future.
Despite the trend of no longer eating dogs, it remains popular in South Korea in July and August when it is eaten as a soup called forest root.
Dog meat is officially classified as & # 39; horrible & # 39; through Seoul, just like slang, but the name has no legal consequences.
A mother dog and her puppies are locked up in a cage at a dog meat farm in Namyangju, South Korea, on August 18, 2018
Dogs looking out from a cage on a dog farm during a rescue operation, closing the farm organized by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Hongseong, in February
The step to end the last remaining dog meat butchers has been welcomed by the leading animal organization Humane Society International / Korea.
The organizations have been active in the country since 2015 and work together with dog meat farmers to close farms, save dogs and change government policies.
Nara Kim, dog meat campaign leader at Humane Society International / Korea, says: & I am so happy to see the last dog shop in Seoul where dogs are slaughtered.
& # 39; Although these stores can still sell dog meat, it's great to see South Korea go a step further from this dying industry that most Koreans don't want to have anything to do with.
Two month old puppies open for sale at the Seongnan market, south of Seoul, for pets or meat. The puppies only cost $ 9.20 or £ 6.50
& # 39; It gives me hope that the future of South Korea is not dog meat. HSI / Korea will continue to work with the government and support farmers who no longer want to work in the dog meat trade, so that one day we can celebrate the closure of the last dog slaughterhouse in South Korea. & # 39;
HSI / Korea has so far closed 15 dog meat companies in South Korea, allowing farmers to close their dog meat slaughterhouses and move to other livelihoods.
Increasingly, dog farmers want to leave the controversial trade because of social shame, family pressure and falling profits, according to the HSI.
Authorities have invoked hygiene rules or animal protection laws that prohibit cruel slaughter methods for redecorating at dog farms and restaurants.
Dog farm owners have protested against a possible ban on meat sales because many Koreans traditionally eat dogs in the summer because it is believed to increase energy.
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