The South Korean National Assembly voted to ban the dog meat industry in what animal rights campaigners at Humane Society International/Korea (HSIK) have said is remarkable. “It is with immense joy and relief that the HSI/Canada (HSIC) and Friends of HSI teams are welcoming the news that South Korea has officially banned the dog meat industry,” said HSIC Senior Campaign Manager Ewa Demianowicz in a Tuesday press release. “I have witnessed the horror of dog meat farms in South Korea during many rescues and seen the heartbreaking consequences for the dogs in this cruel industry.”But Demianowicz said she has had the privilege of helping hundreds of dogs who HSIC was able to save and take care of them at its Canadian care and rehabilitation centre. Right now, Demianowicz said HSIC is “celebrating for all of the dogs who soon will no longer be forced to endure this suffering.”HSIC said up to one million dogs per year are factory farmed and killed for human consumption in South Korea. The ban, which comes into force in six months’ time with a three-year phaseout, will make the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs and dog meat for human consumption illegal from 2027, with penalties of up to three years imprisonment or a $30,412 fine. With more than six million pet dogs in South Korean homes, demand for dog meat is at an all-time low. A 2023 Nielsen Korea poll found 86% of South Koreans will not eat it in the future and 57% support a ban. HSIC began assisting HSIK’s and HSI Global’s (HSIG) rescue teams on shutting down dog meat farms in South Korea since 2015, with more than 700 of the 2,700 dogs saved coming to be cared for at its care and rehabilitation centre. HSIK Executive Director JungAh Chae called this “history in the making.”“I never thought I would see in my lifetime a ban on the cruel dog meat industry in South Korea, but this historic win for animals is testament to the passion and determination of our animal protection movement,” said JungAh. “We reached a tipping point where most Korean citizens reject eating dogs and want to see this suffering consigned to the history books and today our policymakers have acted decisively to make that a reality.”While JungAh’s heart breaks for the millions of dogs for whom this change has come too late, she said she is overenjoyed South Korea can close this chapter in its history and embrace a dog-friendly future. Dog farmers, slaughterers and restaurant owners will be eligible to apply for compensation and after review, government support will be offered to transition or close those businesses — similar to the Models for Change program run by HSIK. Since 2015, it has helped 18 dog farmers across South Korea switch to growing crops such as chili plants and parsley, water delivery and other livelihoods. HSIK urged the South Korean government to use the three-year phaseout period to work with animal rights groups to rescue as many dogs as possible in a state-sponsored, planned effort. HSI Global CEO Kitty Block and President Jeff Flocken said this is a momentous day for its campaign to end the dog meat industry in South Korea and one they have been hoping to see for a long time. “Having been to dog meat farms, we know only too well the suffering and deprivation these desperate animals endure in the name of an industry for whom history has now thankfully called time,” said Block and Flocken. “This ban signals the end of dog meat farming and sales in South Korea, and we stand ready to contribute our expertise until every cage is empty.”South Korea has joined a growing list of countries across Asia that have banned the dog meat trade. The countries that have banned it are Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore. A South Korean People Power Party official said in November the country was aiming to ban eating dog meat and put an end to the controversy around it amid growing awareness of animal rights.READ MORE: South Korea set to ban eating dogs amid pressures from young people, overseas“It is time to put an end to social conflicts and controversies around dog meat consumption through the enactment of a special act to end it,” said South Korean People Power Party Policy Chief Yu Eui-Dong. The South Korean practice of eating dogs has drawn criticism from overseas for its cruelty, but there has been increasing opposition at home from younger generations.