Mayor 'condemns cruelty' but South Korea trip going ahead
MAYOR Paul Antonio has condemned the practice of inhumanely slaughtering dogs for meat in South Korea, but will still visit Toowoomba's sister city Paju next month.
A new petition with nearly 1400 signatures put pressure on Cr Antonio to condemn the controversial dog meat trade in South Korea, which is unregulated but not strictly illegal.
Cr Antonio said he opposed and condemned any forms of animal cruelty, but had no plans to cancel the delegation to Paju, the Asia-Pacific Cities Summit in Daejon or a short visit to Shaoxing City in China.
"I am looking forward to visiting our sister city Paju in South Korea to enhance our relationship which was established by Toowoomba City Council in 2002," he said.
"The relationship focuses on exchanges in trade, education, culture and best practice in local government.
"I absolutely condemn cruelty against all animals.
"The governance of meat production practices in South Korea is a matter for their government, just as meat production practices here in Australia are overseen by our governments."
According to the petitioners KoreanDogs.org, Paju is home to several dog slaughterhouses, which have been known to use cruel ways to put down the animals.
"While (the) City of Toowoomba would have expected to learn about the differences in cultural practices of the Paju citizens, we feel certain that your city would have hesitated to form such a Sister City relationship had your city known about the aberrant and cruel practices routinely carried out in the dog and cat meat trades in Paju and all over South Korea," the petition said.
"In Paju there are countless dog farms, slaughterhouses, markets and restaurants where the dogs, who are tortured their entire lives, end up being slaughtered in the most inhumane ways, such as by electrocution, hanging or beating; and then thrown into boiling water - sometimes while they are still alive."
The most common breed type used in abattoirs is the Nureongi, or "yellow dog", but media reports in the past suggested any type of breed could be used.
Since dogs are not listed as a regulated livestock animal in South Korea, there are no laws requiring the humane slaughter of the species for meat.
Cr Antonio confirmed this week he was the only councillor travelling to Paju and Daejon with CEO Brian Pidgeon, after no others nominated to join the delegation.