Winter Olympics 2018: Pyeongchang restaurants refuse to stop serving dog meat

Mythili Sampathkumar
A dog is pictured in a cage at a canine meat farm in Wonju, South Korea, 10 January 2017: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Certain restaurants in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have refused to stop serving dog meat during the Winter Olympics.

A government request was issued to the restaurants ahead of today’s opening ceremonies to avoid the controversial practice of eating dog meat in front of foreigners and subsidies were offered to change menus for the duration of the Olympics.

Pyeongchang County government official Lee Yong-bae told AFP however, that only two purveyors of the 12 in the county have taken up the offer.

“We've faced a lot of complaints from restaurant operators that we are threatening their livelihood," said Mr Lee, adding that sales of pork and other meat were allegedly leading to poor sales.

The South Korean government for its part has not declared treating canines as livestock illegal but has said it is “detestable meat.”

“Signs advertising dog meat dishes such as boshintang (health-boosting soup), yeongyangtang (nutrient soup) or sacheoltang (year-round soup) have been replaced with more neutral ones such as yeomsotang (goat soup) to avoid giving "a bad impression to foreigners" during the Games,” Channel News Asia reported.

South Korean authorities have tried to convince restaurants to change their menus or drop signs suggestive of dog meat during major international events hosted by the country.

The practise has decreased steadily as the country has hosted more international events and younger South Koreans see it as taboo.

It is unclear if the government will attempt to dissuade the restaurant owners once again now that the Olympics are underway.