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[Flower Dog Project] The icons of dogs in farms, Flower Dogs raise voice to the world

Throughout the period of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, ALW along with the Last Chance for Animals(LCA) undertook aseries of mobile, outdoor art installations featuring 8 colorful dogs statues. Dubbed the "Flower Dog Project", the nationwide tour campaign brought awareness of the dog meat trade to the Korean public and international tourists.

"Dear Friends,

Let's Walk on the Flower Path Together"

The 8 Flower Dogs

White to represent snow to be played in, not to cause death in freezing temperatures

Spring to represent fresh, cool water

Goldie to represent the Year of the Golden Dog

Iron to break the cages dogs are locked in

Field to give hope that one day caged dogs will run free

Breeze to represent fresh air instead of the rancid, toxic air at the dog farms

Flame to give warmth to the dogs suffering from extreme cold

Taeguk (name of Korean national flag) to represent the power of the Korean people supporting the dog meat ban

The “Flower Dogs”, about one meter tall each, were created by Zinoo Park, professor of industrial design at Daegu University, featuring eight distinct characters. In the name “Flower Dog” is our sincerest hope to liberate all dogs now suffering in farms and let them 'walk on the flower path', which is an old Korean saying wishing somebody's happiness.

Starting from February 7th in Gwanghwamun, Seoul, the 8 flower dogs traveled to the National Assembly(9th) Pyeongchang(13rd) Jeonju(20th) Gwangju(21st) Busan(23rd) Daegu(26th), and back to Seoul at Blue House(28th). Throughout a series of media photo-ops and displays, the activists and flower dogs strongly urged the government to change the legal status for dogs, which are considered as "livestock" and "companion animals" respectively by the Livestock Industry Act and the Animal Protection Act.

"Even at this moment,

over a million dogs are suffering in farms."

Dogs in farms are not even allowed to end their lives humanely until they are slaughtered and sold for meat. Dogs spend their entire lives in small, filthy, metal cages 10-12 inches above the ground and are fed food waste everyday. The cages do not provide adequate protection from the extreme weather conditions. No medical care is ever given – they live with untreated wounds, infections and diseases from birth until death.

And at countless slaughterhouses hidden from the eyes of society, dog are brutally
electrocuted, hung, beaten with metal rods, and sometimes even boiled alive, all in front of the eyes of the other caged dogs. They witness and remember numerous other dogs being dragged out and slaughtered before their eyes, which results in an extreme fear of humans. There is nothing they can do other than waiting for their own turn.

"The biggest culprit of this tragedy

is the South Korean government."

The dog meat trade has been considered as a problem old and tedious yet too complicated to come up with a clear solution. It has been regarded as either: 1) a matter of personal choice that no individual can force upon in any way, 2) a dog-exclusive fandom that is not rational, or 3) cultural imperialism led by the Western countries putting 'barbarism' forward. However, are these really the only ways we can view the chronic problem South Korea has with dog meat trade?

Going over the current legal system, tacking dog meat trade becomes an issue of solving legal contraction whereby one, indivisible species is treated differently. Indeed, our canine friends are considered as both ‘companion’ and ‘livestock’ by the Korean law. Hence the current legal loophole: 1) dogs are not labeled as “food” (Sanitary Control of Livestock Products Act); 2) must not be maltreated or slaughtered (Animal Protection Act); but are still 3) bred and raised in dog farms in horrific conditions (Livestock Industry Act). Through this legal loophole is dog meat being produced, and the suffering is only left for the non-human animals to bear.

For decades, the government has been deepening and dragging the social conflict surrounding dog meat by keeping silent and turning a blind eye to the industry, one and only in the world. From the '88 Seoul Olympics to the '18 Pyeongchang Olympics, the government has only been ‘hiding’ the restaurants from the eyes of foreigners by giving subsidy to those who stop selling dog meat temporarily. The dog meat issue has long been in a deadlock.

It is high time that the government start recognize the root cause of the brutal, archaic practice’s persistence: conflicting legal status of dog as a single species. It has to actively find out what the Korean public sees 'normal' in this contemporary society where 1 out of 5 nationals are living with dogs as companion animal. It has to find way to proceed into a more humane society where animals are also protected as sentient beings.

"Dog meat is an issue of animal rights."

Non-human animals suffer as us humans do. If they suffer, our exploitation of them cannot be justified morally. All opposition to carnism, including the ban on dog meat trade, is a rightful movement towards acknowledging non-human animals the freedom from pain and overcoming the unfair speciesism prevalent in the anthropocentric society.

Until we put an end to the long, brutal exploitation, #StopDogMeat campaign and the Flower Dog Project will continue.

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