International Aid for Korean Animals: Cats and Dogs in Korea

In this interview we speak with Yoon Kerr, the UK Director for the International Aid for Korean Animals (IAKA)/ Korean Animal Protection Society (KAPS). Founded in 1997 by Kyenan Kum, IAKA is a non-profit organization that promotes animal protection and humane education in Korea. Tune in to hear Kerr describe Korean markets where cats and dogs are sold for meat and goyangi soju (cat tonic), which can involve boiling (sometimes still alive) cats in pressure cookers and other forms of torture. Providing an historical and economic perspective, she refutes arguments that claim dog consumption is culturally justifiable. “It is a gross ignorance of Korean culture to regard the consumption of dogs as a part of Korean culture. It deliberately ignores many Koreans who find such a practice horrifying and something to be rid of,” writes Kerr. “It also doesn’t acknowledge the fact that eating dogs is a threat to Korean culture and violation of its essence. There is one underlying element which is very crucial to various aspects of Korean culture. That is reciprocity” (“Eating Dogs: Korean Culture?”).

How did the cat and dog trade shift from a being “fringe activity”? How is the trade bound up in International politics, capitalism, and poverty? In what ways can the International community address the Korean cat and dog trade, while also challenging the Western racist stereotypes associated with these practices? Listen into to hear Yoon Kerr’s responses and more about this impassioned organization, which currently has branches in Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Listen right now:

or download an mp3 of the interview.

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