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Anti-dog meat activists enraged as politician says trade is not animal abuse

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A politician in South Korea has sparked outrage after he claimed dogs raised for their meat is not animal abuse.

Presidential hopeful Yoon Seok-youl appeared to agree with those in the dog meat industry by saying the consumption of dogs born solely to be eaten is different from pets.

The comments arose during a live debate with a possible dog meat ban being one of many election issues ahead of the election next year, South China Morning Post reports.

South Korea already has laws on the cruel slaughtering of dogs but none on eating their meat.

Yoon was asked about the issue and said while he “personally opposed” eating dog meat, he said there would need to be a “social consensus” on the matter.

As reported by This Week In Asia, the 60-year-old politician said: “Dog meat consumption is not a matter of animal abuse because dogs for meat are raised in a different environment from pet dogs.”

Yoon himself is a big pet owner with four dogs and three cats, which caused even more shock as he described himself as an animal lover.

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The former prosecutor general was blasted over his comments with around 100 animal rights activists demanding an apology from Yoon.

They said: “The division between dogs for consumption and dogs as pets is only a figment pushed by dog meat merchants”.

Activists have urged Yoon to apologise and lend his support in legislating a ban on the consumption of dog meat.

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Dog meat industry bosses have continued to call on the government to distinguish between those dogs bound for the meat trade from those that will be kept as pets.

They are looking to try and legitimise the controversial practice while animals activist ask for a complete ban.

Yoon was ridiculed in an earlier TV appearance after people spotted an inscription on his palm of the Chinese character 'wang', which means “king”.

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The symbol had prompted his rivals to ridicule him as the inscription is often associated with courage and used for students in exams, those about to go into a job interview or an event where bravery is needed.

Yoon is currently being probed for alleged political meddling with public prosecutor Son Jun-sung summoned for questioning in relation to the matter on Tuesday.

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