Con­tro­ver­sial pet eu­thana­sia

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

The num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing with com­pan­ion an­i­mals has ex­ceeded 10 mil­lion. Un­for­tu­nately, how­ever, the pub­lic still has a poor un­der­stand­ing of how to live to­gether with pets. The na­tion still lacks a so­cial sys­tem for the bet­ter pro­tec­tion and care of pets.

A case in point is a con­tro­versy over the al­leged eu­thana­sia of about 200 de­serted pets that Care, a sig­na­ture an­i­mal pro­tec­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion, has res­cued over the past four years.

It has been a se­ri­ous prob­lem with the sit­u­a­tion get­ting worse as own­ers of pets fail to care for their com­pan­ions to the last, as seen in the fact that about 80,000 pets are aban­doned ev­ery year.

The scan­dalous case of Care un­der­scores the need for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to man­age aban­doned an­i­mal com­pan­ions, rather than depend­ing on civil or pri­vate cen­ters.

Re­lated au­thor­i­ties also need to make guide­lines about an­i­mal wel­fare. As the Care case shows, the con­tro­versy could in­evitably get worse in case civic groups ad­min­is­ter eu­thana­sia ac­cord­ing to their own judg­ment.

The reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem for dogs was in­tro­duced in 2014. How­ever, only 1.15 mil­lion pets, or 17.3 per­cent of the pre­sumed to­tal num­ber of 6.62 mil­lion, are reg­is­tered-cur­rently. It is for­tu­nate that the re­vised An­i­mal Pro­tec­tion Act and its en­force­ment de­cree are to go into ef­fect in March.

Still there are many tasks our so­ci­ety has to solve such as the dogs’ bit­ing, the dis­posal of pet waste, feuds be­tween own­ers and their neigh­bors, lack of eti­quettes in pub­lic places and il­le­gal vet­eri­nary care.

The pet in­dus­try is ever flour­ish­ing of late with pet own­ers num­ber­ing more than 10 mil­lion. This means there re­main so many tasks our so­ci­ety has to tackle.

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