Susan Song, a New York-based animal rights activist campaigning to end South Korea’s dog meat trade, took a few hours off to demonstrate how to prepare bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish. Of course, Ms. Song, who doesn’t consume animal products, veganizes her bibimbap, replacing the meat with both soy curls and “ground beef” made from Beyond Meat patties.
Ms. Song, who emigrated from South Korea to the United States when she was 13 years old, cooks all types of food more often than Korean, but she was inspired to explore her culinary roots after a two-week trip to Korea in November.
While in Korea, Ms. Song participated in several anti-dog meat protests with dozens of local activists. At times, she protested on her own, wearing a traditional Korean gown to draw the attention of the crowd and media who were assembled for the arrival of president Trump who was visiting South Korea as part of his tour of Asia.
Not only did Ms. Song reach thousands of Koreans on the streets with her message, but she also spoke to several reporters who approached her because they were in downtown Seoul reporting on President Trump’s visit.
“I was overwhelmed by the welcome I received by the Korean activists. The weekly dog meat protest at the notorious Gupo dog meat market in Busan, Korea, usually attracts 20 activists. When the community heard that I was traveling from the U.S. to join them, over 120 activists came out to show their support. About half of them chartered a bus to transport them from Seoul, which is six hours away. It demonstrates how grateful they are that activists around the world are joining them in the effort to stop the dog and cat meat trade.”
A month after Gupo market protest, the dog meat merchants expressed their intent to shut down their shops and slaughterhouses if an alternative way of livelihood can help be arranged for them.
As the PyeongChang Winter Olympics fast approaches in February of 2018, Ms. Song will continue to turn up the pressure on the S. Korean government to ban the dog and cat meat trade.