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SKorean Online Dogmeat Retailer Closes Site Amid Uproar

A South Korean online retailer of dogmeat on Thursday closed its website after media reports sparked an uproar about the traditional but controversial cuisine.

The online shop (www.e-bosin.com) has been under fire from critics, including animal rights activists, since local media reports about it Tuesday.

"We're too exhausted by the controversy to speak. We no longer run the website. We erased all photos," Jo Chang-Geun told AFP.

He operated the site along with Ko Se-Hoon, who sells dogmeat in the city of Seongnam south of Seoul.

Online messages to the Seongnam city government's website pressed officials to stop the online sale of dogmeat. The business, which opened in April, had featured photos as well as recipes.

Dogmeat is a divisive issue in South Korea.

Proponents say it is a traditional cuisine and no different morally from consuming beef or pork. Opponents say eating dogmeat is an animal rights issue and harms the nation's reputation.

Keum Seon-Ran, chief of the Korea Animal Protection Society, told Chosun Ilbo newspaper: "According to food sanitation law, dogs and cats are not among the animals that can be cooked. The sale of dogmeat is illegal."

But officials in the health and agriculture ministries gave no clear-cut answer to the question of whether dogmeat sales are illegal.

"To be honest with you, the country has no rule directly regulating dogmeat," one health ministry official said while asking for anonymity.

Food safety regulations require all livestock to be examined before sale, but dogs are not defined as livestock.

An animal rights protection law bans the brutal killing of dogs or other animals for food but does not directly ban dogmeat.

Dog soup, or Boshintang, is a Korean delicacy usually served over the summer season.


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