South Korean restaurants are defying Olympic orders to stop serving dog meat

  • Some South Korean restaurants are resisting government requests to stop serving dishes that include dog meat during the Olympic Games.
  • Local authorities in Pyeongchang county have offered subsidies to restaurants who comply, but only two of the 12 restaurants that serve dog meat have reportedly accepted the subsidies.
  • Some South Koreans believe dog meat has special health benefits, but the country is gradually beginning to consider dogs as pets rather than food.


As the opening ceremony for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea nears, local authorities are attempting to make the city's cuisine more appealing to foreigners.

But some restaurants are resisting.

At issue is a request from local authorities that restaurants in Pyeongchang county temporarily stop serving dishes that include dog meat during the Olympic Games. Authorities have offered subsidies to restaurants that comply, but only two of the 12 restaurants that serve dog meat have accepted the subsidies, the Daily Mail reports.

Other restaurants have reportedly insisted that taking dog-based dishes off of their menus, even for a short amount of time, has hurt sales.

See dogs being rescued from meat farms: 

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Dogs rescued from South Korea meat farms
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Dogs rescued from South Korea meat farms
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, a dog looks out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A dog is pictured in a cage at a dog meat farm in Wonju, South Korea, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, a dog looks out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the dog farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescued dogs are seen as they wait for transport, at a dog meat farm in Wonju, South Korea, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A dog collar is seen at a dog meat farm in Wonju, South Korea, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Dogs are pictured in cages at a dog meat farm in Wonju, South Korea, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Dogs rescued by Humane Society International (HSI) from a dog meat farm in South Korea await transport to a local shelter in order to be adopted in Washington, December 14, 2015. Twenty-six rescued dogs were divided among five Emergency Placement Partner shelters in the Washington area to find their new homes. HSI is working to reduce the dog meat trade in Asia, including in South Korea where dogs are farmed for the trade. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, a dog looks out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, a dog looks out from a crate at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, a dog looks out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, a dog looks out from a crate at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the dog farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, a dog looks out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, Lola Webber of the Humane Society International (HSI) interacts with a dog in a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the HSI in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, members of the Humane Society International (HSI) carry a dog in a crate for transport at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the HSI in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, dogs look out from a cage at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on November 28, 2017, dogs are seen in cages at a dog farm during a rescue event, involving the closure of the farm organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) in Namyangju on the outskirts of Seoul. The tradition of consuming dog meat has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je / TO GO WITH SKorea-agriculture-food-dog, FEATURE by Jung Ha-Won (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Some South Koreans believe dog meat has special health benefits, but that perception may be shifting as the country begins to consider dogs as pets rather than food. According to the Daily Mail, dog meat has been designated as "detestable" in Seoul, but that designation doesn't restrict restaurants from serving it.

The shift in attitudes is good news to activists who have encouraged boycotts of the 2018 Olympics to protest the practice of eating dog meat.

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