Kim Basinger is in Seoul, South Korea, to protest the annual “dog meat day” and call for an end to the nation’s dog-meat industry.
Meanwhile, reports CNN, just a few metres away, dog-meat farmers were consuming dog meat as protesters — including Basinger — carried replicas of dead dogs in support of a proposed bill that would make dog meat illegal in the country.
Displaying her dead dog replica, the 65-year-old actress said that “sometimes pictures speak 1,000 words more than we could ever with our voices.”
Basinger, a longtime animal rights activist, has previously protested the country’s dog-meat industry but this marks the first time she’s visited South Korea, where she’s joining efforts to lobby lawmakers to support a bill that would make dog meat illegal.
“I do think that government is going to have to not turn a blind eye and really come up with solutions like this,” she added, hoping their efforts would lead to similar legislation in other nations where dog meat is consumed. “South Korea is going to be the leader for this, it’s going to be known for this, and it’s going to trickle down.”
While the idea of shutting down the dog meat industry seems straightforward, it’s actually a complex issue in a country that has a long tradition of eating dog meat, particularly in less affluent rural areas where farmers subsist by raising and slaughtering dogs.
“Many of the congressmen are based in rural areas where dog farms exist and they are under pressure not to talk about the bill, not to support the bill, not to allow the bill coming on the table,” South Korean lawmaker Pyo Chang-won, a leading proponent of the legislation, told CNN.
According to CNN, in 2016 Humane Society International estimated that approximately two million dogs were being raised for meat in about 17,000 facilities in South Korea.
“We have to end this cruelty on this planet,” Basinger told the Irish Examiner.
Basinger isn’t the only celebrity to protest the dog-meat trade. Last month, Dame Judi Dench spoke out against China’s annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival, admitting it “fills me with sadness… I cannot imagine the suffering of those poor dogs, and I hope very much that one day soon this cruel trade will end.”