Tax evasion has become the latest weapon in the fight against the Korean dog meat trade.
The Korean animal welfare community is currently targeted the dog meat shops of Gyeongdong Market in Seoul, South Korea. They have been patrolling the area for days gathering evidence of abuse that violates Korea’s animal protection laws.
The challenge, however, is gathering solid evidence. Dogs are displayed in cages one day and sold as meat the next. The abuse, torture and slaughter takes place behind closed doors.
- Despite the challenges, animal activists are applying pressure on local dog meat shop owners by reporting animal abuse, food sanitation and fire regulation infractions. Their efforts are greatly assisted by positive support from Seoul mayor Won Soon Park and help from animal protection and other municipal officials.
The emotional toll on these dedicated activists is incredible. Imagine patrolling a dog meat market numerous times each day. You approach one of the cages and a dog starts to lick your hand. Next the dog is dragged into the shop. You know the horror that’s about to take place and you’re helpless to stop it. The next day the dog is gone and a new carcass hangs in the shop window.
Fueled by such experiences, the activists have identified a cunning strategy to increase the pressure on dog meat sellers: nail them for tax evasion. They noticed during their patrols that many dog meat vendors conduct business via cash only transactions. There is no paper trail and no sales tax is collected.
Tax evasion is a serious offence in Korea, with significantly larger penalties than animal abuse violations. After consulting with several experts, the Korean activists will focus on filing civil complaints of tax evasion against the dog meat sellers of Gyeongdong Market.
With enough pressure from the animal welfare community, in partnership with tax officials at various levels of government, this new strategy might be enough to permanently close down all dog meat trade in Gyeongdong Market. It’s hard to believe, but the tax man may soon prove be dog’s best friend.
Original Korean English translation by Eun Bee