South Korea’s first dog is ‘not food’ as campaign is launched

South Korea’s first dog is ‘not food’ as campaign is launched
'First dog' Tori was adopted from a shelter
‘First dog’ Tori was adopted from a shelter

(SKY NEWS) – South Korea’s “first dog” has become the furry face of a campaign to discourage the consumption of dog meat in the country.

President Moon Jae-in adopted Tori last year.

The black mongrel had been “abandoned, abused, and raised to be eaten before he was rescued”, said Park So-Youn, the president of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE).

As part of the campaign, which CARE has organised, soft toys have been made in Tori’s likeness, bearing the message “I’m not food”.

Proceeds from sales of the toys, which cost £20, will go towards rescuing abused or abandoned dogs, CARE said.

By taking Tori in, Mr Moon was delivering on a campaign promise to boost awareness of fast-growing numbers of abandoned animals.

The campaign has been launched during a period when Koreans traditionally eat dog meat soup in the belief that it helps beat the summer heat.

As people were being encouraged to sign up for dog adoption, Ms Park said Tori had been transformed since going to live with the president.

“President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook said they are very glad and happy because Tori has totally changed,” she said.

“He looked anxious and sad when he first came to them but now he looks very happy and bright.”

Tori is the first pet from a shelter to become “first dog”.

Mr Moon also has two other animals – a Korean-breed Pungsan dog called Maru, and a former stray cat called Jjing-jing.

Dog meat is mainly eaten by older people in South Korea, and consumption is going down.


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