An American animal rights group is calling on mayor Stephen Bali to condemn the eating of dogs and cats in Blacktown’s South Korean sister city.
A Change.org petition led by Korean Dogs, a volunteer organisation in California, alleges there are “aberrant [sic] and cruel practices routinely carried out in the dog and cat meat trades in Daegu Suseong-gu and all over South Korea”.
The petition has so far garnered nearly 5500 signatures from supporters around the world.
WARNING: Graphic footage.
Korean Dogs campaign coordinator Giny Woo said while the trade is illegal, the local government needs international pressure to enforce South Korean law.
“Mayor Stephen Bali contacting and urging Suseong-gu to close down the illegal dog meat industry can make a big difference,” she said. “This issue is going to be an embarrassment for Daegu Suseong-gu and Mayor Bali contacting [the] Suseong-gu mayor will put the pressure necessary for their government to take action.”
Ms Woo said a similar sister city campaign had led to Bucheon working towards becoming the first “dog meat free” city in South Korea.
She said people signing the petition have “the right and the responsibility” to condemn the dog and cat meat industry, regardless of any cultural differences.
“Bad culture must change,” she said.
“Dog meat consumption is the most urgent issue that South Korea faces today. They didn’t have the leadership to tackle this issue until now...but we are hopeful that with continued campaigning and the new leadership in Korea, the change is possible.”
Cr Bali confirmed he was responding to everyone who emailed and called regarding the petition, and the council was investigating the allegations of animal cruelty.
“We’ll have a close look at it in discussions with the consulate and the local authorities, and then we’ll make an informed choice,” he said.
“We thank them for bringing it to our attention and we’ll follow it through, but in the end if action needs to be undertaken then that needs to be done at a higher level than Blacktown Council.”