Of the animal protection organizations in South Korea, we are currently the only one that have been lobbying municipalities in the country to execute mass seclusion and rescue measures for dogs rescued from slaughterhouses. Some of these instances include:
- Hanam emergency dog rescue in 2018
- Cheonan dog slaughterhouse rescue in 2019
- Shiheung dog slaughterhouse rescue in 2019
- Anseong dog slaughterhouse rescue in 2020
Mass Seclusion & Rescue Measures
Here is what ‘mass seclusion and rescue measures’ is in legal terms, their importance, and finally, in which direction we must take them for future rescues.
According to Section I in Article XIV of the South Korean Animal Protection Act,
“The city, governor, mayor, county executive, and district officer … must seclude victimized animals that fall under Categories 2 to 3 from the abuser to prevent a recurrence of abuse.”
Category 3 refers to animals that have been impacted by abuse categorized in Section II in Article VIII and are unable to receive proper medical care or protection.
Section II in Article VIII prohibits acts of
- Inflicting injury to an animal using tools, drugs, or other physical or chemical methods
- Causing injury to an animal that requires veterinary care; harm to a person’s life, body, or personal possessions by an animal; physical pain or damage to an animal without a reason deemed as valid by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA).
The key words are ‘physical pain.’
Depending on how municipal officials judge ‘physical pain,’ they would decide whether to proceed with mass seclusion and rescue measures. All this time, municipalities have been avoiding this procedure, not wanting to be burdened by the financial responsibility of caring for and providing shelter to rescued animals.
All four instances of mass seclusion and rescue measures mentioned above were achieved through our and individual activists’ perseverance in persuading civil servants to fulfill their minimum duties as stated in animal protection laws, but that were not being performed in reality.
These successes were significant in that they brought slaughterhouse dogs, whose welfare has been and is still being largely neglected by the government, into the frame of legal protection.
However, there is still a long way to go. Firstly, It takes too much time and energy to catalyze response and action from civil servants. Secondly, even when a civil servant is cooperative, there can be situations when another party files complaints against our projects, in which case, even the civil servant may not have the power to proceed with the measures. A prime example of this was the Cheonan Slaughterhouse rescue.
In order to put mass seclusion and rescue measures into wider practice, mass protection sites need to be established by the government on a municipal or perhaps even a national level, and sufficient budgets must be allocated for facilities and procedures. Furthermore, the rescued animals must be
- protected as stated in animal protection laws,
- provided with an opportunity for adoption, and
- for those that are unable to be adopted, be treated with appropriate humane measures.
We sincerely thank all the individual activists, volunteers, and donors who have helped us step-by-step improve animal rights in South Korea.