Philipp Gardemin
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Pets between two oceans

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When it comes to the pet sector in South Korea, it is worth taking a closer look at this fascinating country. South Korea was once one of the poorest agricultural countries on the planet. It was only in the early 1960s that the nation embarked on the steady development of its economy. Today this economy ranks eleventh in the world, built on a solid foundation of technology products, shipbuilding and the auto­-motive industry.
Looking at the pet sector in South Korea, the many reports regarding the commercial dog meat industry make for uncomfortable reading. It supplies hundreds of thousands of dogs for human consumption. Customs and traditions are changing, even in South Korea; but despite a South Korean court declaring the killing of dogs for human consumption illegal in June 2018, it is reported that around two million dogs are still consumed every year. A rough figure of 17 000 dog breeders is given, but the true figure is believed to be higher.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. A growing number of dog breeders are getting out of the so-called dog industry - which is admittedly highly lucrative. If the many reports from international animal welfare organisations are to be believed, many of these breeders are now supplying pedigree dogs for the pet trade.
The pet sector in South Korea is booming. Growing by leaps and bounds, it points the way from the traditions of the past to the modern world. South Koreans are experiencing a sharp upturn in their quality of life, and owning a dog or cat has become fashionable. The country's younger generation prefers to view dogs as members of the family rather than food on the table. Young people work in modern technology companies, but live in urban settings in comparatively small apartments.
South Korea's birth rate is currently 0.92, a historic low. There is usually only room for a cat or dog in the life of young couples, and the dogs acquired are mostly from smaller breeds. These pets are pampered with premium products from the speciality trade, a habit in which South Korea wholeheartedly follows the western industrialised nations.
According to official figures, South Korea is home to around 5.7 million dogs and well over 2 million cats. The figures have increased by…
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