The fact today is being shared with you because Mom repeatedly gets this response from people. She was wearing her “I Am Their Voice” shirt when she went to the doctor’s last week for some routine stuff. The Radiology Tech asked her about it and she proceeded to give a quick overview of me and what my mission is all about. The response she received was this: “Well when people are starving and have nothing else to eat, I’m not sure you can’t deny them eating dogs to survive”.

Here’s the facts about South Korea that I want everybody to try to retain so that you too can counter anyone that offers that response to you. After the Korean War, South Korea was indeed one of the poorest nations in the world. It was resource poor and had hardly any mineral wealth. But due to the strong authoritarian leadership of Park Chung-hee from 1961 until he was assassinated in 1979, the country industrialized at super speed and focused on the sectors of steel, shipbuilding and electronics. South Korea’s ties to the US (who occupied the country after WWII and during the Korean War) poured billions of dollars into the country which provided a good source of capital. And the massive devastation after the war set the stage for regrowth to do nothing but blossom and rebuild. The Koreans were determined, competitive and motivated to reclaim their country.

In contrast to North America where we are home to fewer than 5% of the global population, South Asia is home to 25% of the world’s population! Now, South Korea currently ranks 25th in the world as one of the richest countries. Since Korea was divided into two separate entities in 1948 (North and South), the Republic of Korea has flourished economically. With the authoritarian rule during the first few decades, the development of business conglomerates like Samsung and Hyundai were able to grow. South Korea has now become one of the world’s leading economies with a gross domestic product (“GDP”) of over $1.5 trillion.

So when people say that South Koreans eat dog meat because they have nothing else to eat, CORRECT THEM. The statement is ludicrous and if nothing else, the torture and inhumane abuse associated with the consumption is completely unjustified and indefensible. South Korea consumes dog meat because it’s a unionized, money-making business (albeit a declining one now) and NOT because of poverty. In order to gain support for this fight, people must be educated. Be the difference friends and be the voice for the voiceless.