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  National
Seoul Resume Inspecting Dog Meat Restaurants
South Koreans Consume 2 Million Dogs Annually
By Grace Kim
Staff Reporter
A dog is being hanged by Korean men. They beat the dog into releasing droppings in order to tenderize the dog meat.

Many of the dog meat restaurants in Seoul area were found to be extremely harmful to the human health as their kitchens are operated in unhygenic conditions.

In some cases several kitchens were filled with cockcroaches and other insects, announced the Seoul City Administration recently.

From July 15 to 18, 2008 Seoul City has conducted a four-day intensive inspection on the restaurants selling dog meat.

The inspection by the city was done for the first time since 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics when most dog meat restaurants in the capital were forced to close or to move out of the city.

About 30 dog meat restaurants in the urban area are subject to the inspection by the city officials. The restaurants are given no warnings against inspections of the sanitary conditions.

Dogs are brutally slaughtered for meat in South Korea.

If there are any germs exceeding safety standards for the dog meat or dog soup, the restaurant will be ordered to suspend business.

There has not been strict control over hygiene of dog meat because dogs were not included in livestock range with cows or pigs according to the law on stock farm products process.

"Dog meat is the food that people generally enjoy and the restaurants dealing with dog meat quickly increase during summer, so there will be intensive restriction for people's health conditions," a local daily Chosun Ilbo quoted the municipal spokesperson as saying.

The spokesperson also said that the sanitation check and restriction will be definite, because the dog meat restaurants are treated the same as other restaurants which are subject to the Food Hygiene and Safety Law.

Dead bodies of dogs are piled up at a South Korean market. Tens of thousands of dogs are slaughtered annually for meat and soup.

Seoul City had notified in April, 1984 that the restaurants selling such abominable food as snake soup, dog meat, earthworm soup, carp and chicken (or soft-shelled turtle and chicken) soup will be suspended of their operation.

Such restaurants were banned and inspected every year from 1984 to 1988 Seoul Olympics but after the Olympics, there was no proper control over the restaurants.

The city's move for the strict control over the dog meat restaurants were met with strong opposition and complaints from the animal rights groups.

The representative of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE), Park So-Yeon said that such controls could mean that dog meat selling is now officially approved.









Courtesy of Kyunghyang.com

"If dog is considered as meat and thus if they keep checking the sanitation condition because of the people's safety, more people will consider that the dog is a edible animal," said Park.

The spokesperson of the Seoul city, however, said that the control over the dog meat restaurant is far from approval of dog meat.

Meanwhile, the officials randomly visited the well-known dog soup restaurant in Mapo-gu in Seoul on July 16, 2008.

According to Kyunghyang.com, there were tens of cockroaches on the wall right beside the boiling soup. Also, the wall was smudged with oil stains and grease spots.

Food scraps were stuck to the chopping board, knives, dippers and other cooking kits and there were flies everywhere. The sink hole on the floor was filled with food scraps giving off a horrible smell.

This restaurant rises up to second floor and has 70-80 seats as well as parking places. Because of it popularity, the restaurant was famous in Sinchon, Seoul for 15 years and the owner moved and enlarged the place to Mapo-gu two years ago.

"I was just too greedy to do bigger business and I couldn't take care of sanitation of the kitchen due to the personal debt I have for the restaurant," the restaurant owner said with regret, according to Kyunghyang.com.

The official responsible for the regulation said in Kyunghyang.com that the suspension of the business is inevitable if the restaurant's hygiene condition is this bad.

"How can someone be so irresponsible when the labor cost is not that much? The sanitary condition can be easily settled depending on the owner's will," the official said, according to Kyunghyang.com.

The officials gave confirmation letter of inspection to the restaurant owners with poor hygienic condition. There will be appropriate disciplinary action according to the result of germs and food poisoning bacteria on cooking kits and facilities.

The punishment include revocation of restaurant license if the restaurant is picked up three times in a year, suspension and fine depending on the severity of the sanitary condition.

Seoul city will have their first control over dog-dealing restaurants until July 18, 2008. After the bacteria sampling examination of about 25 places, there will be a strict spot check starting from July 29 to August 8, 2008.

Koreans are known to enjoy dog meats particularly during the sweltering summer days. In Seoul area alone there are some 6,000 restaurants selling dog meat.

Annually 2 million dogs are butchered for the human consumption in South Korea.



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Grace Kim serves as staff reporter of The Seoul Times. Born in Connecticut in the US, she grew up both in S. Korea and in the US. She studied political science and sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Perfect bilingual Grace covers political and foreign communities. Her hobbies include jogging and swimming.

 

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