The new Korean President Yoon Seok Youl has been “digged” by netizens for his old statements about eating dog meat.
People’s Power Party (opposition) candidate Yoon Suk-yeol was elected as the new President of South Korea on March 9 in a tense election and Mr. Yoon will be the leader who will shape South Korea’s background. It is the 4th largest economy in Asia in the next 5 years.
However, when he was running for office, Yoon Seok Youl caused controversy when he commented on eating dog meat.
Mr. Yoon is known to be an animal lover, he has four dogs and three cats. A year ago, he spoke about the dog meat trade and animal rights in a Televised Presidential Debate.
When former four-term congressman Yoo Seong Min, another presidential candidate, asked Yoon Seok Youl’s opinion on dog meat consumption. Mr. Yoon said, “I personally oppose the consumption of dog meat. But the implementation of government policies must be approved by the people”.
Yoo Seong Min further asked, “There are about 15 million pet owners in South Korea, this is a very sensitive topic. It might be a personal choice when dog meat consumption is linked to animal abuse?”
Yoon Suk-yeol replied, “Eating dog meat is not animal abuse because dogs for meat are raised in a different environment from pet dogs.”
However, he did not give a clear answer to Mr. Yoo’s question about whether to categorize dogs raised for meat from dogs as pets.
New President Yoon’s comment about dividing dogs based on slaughter or pets has led to a controversy. Because Mr. Yoon’s argument is used frequently by dog meat traders and advocates. Although South Korea has a law that prohibits the brutal slaughter of dogs while eating dog meat is not prohibited.
It is worth mentioning that former South Korean President Moon Jae In is also a lover of cats and dogs. However, Moon Jae In has an opposite view of the new President. He opposes eating dog meat.
South Korea’s pet industry is on the rise, with an increasing number of people living with dogs at home. Mr. Moon used to raise several dogs at Cheongwadae (Blue House), including one that he saved after taking office.
Dog meat shops and buyers have called on the government to separate dogs for meat from dogs as pets to create a legal boundary. On the other hand, animal rights activists and opponents of dog eating have objected to categorizing dogs for certain purposes. They believe segregation will exacerbate animal cruelty on dog farms.
Food expert Hwang Kyo Ik criticized Mr. Yoon for distinguishing dogs for meat from dogs kept as pets. He said this was like “human racism”.
“There are no certain dog breeds that are classified as food. Even dogs that are commonly kept as pets can be easily found at slaughterhouses,” he wrote on Facebook. He criticized the new president’s views on dog meat consumption as “uncivilized”, adding that all dogs should be treated equally.
In addition, Live In Freedom & Equality (LIFE), an animal rights organization, has stated that there is no difference between animals kept as pets and for meat. Dog eating and animal abuse are closely related.
New President Yoon Suk-yeol was born on December 18, 1960 in Seoul. His father and mother are both University Professors, majoring in statistics. His father is currently a professor emeritus at Yonsei University.
New President Yoon Suk-yeol studied Legal Studies at Seoul University. In 1991, he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree. In 1994, he started working in the prosecutor’s office.
In 2021, Mr. Yoon became a critic of President Moon’s administration and joined the opposition People’s Power Party just a month after resigning as a prosecutor.
It is worth noting that Mr. Yoon highly values freedom. He chose Milton Friedman‘s “Free to Choose” (Nobel Prize winner) as his most influential book. This book was given to him by his father when he entered university in 1979. Mr. Yoon insists, whether a politician or a celebrity, there is “no need to hide your true passions”.