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Boris Johnson asked to lobby over dog meat

Press AssociationPress Association 12/09/2016 By Richard Wheeler, Press Association Parliamentary Editor

Dame Judi Dench is among the celebrities urging Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to "vigorously encourage" South Korea to end its "cruel" dog-meat trade.

The actress is joined by Downton Abbey star Peter Egan and author Jilly Cooper in calling on the Foreign Secretary to press for reforms.

They are among the signatories of a letter to Johnson, co-ordinated by Humane Society International, which claims up to three million dogs a year in South Korea are "raised and killed largely to be made into a supposed 'health' soup" known as Boshintang.

Estimates on the number of dogs slaughtered for food in South Korea vary with animal welfare campaigners criticising the methods used, which are said to include electrocution and hanging.

During the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea banned dog meat by invoking a law which prohibited the sale of "foods deemed unsightly" although this was not strictly enforced after the event.

Johnson has come under pressure to speak out in favour of outlawing the trade ahead of a parliamentary debate on Monday, triggered by an online petition which received 102,131 signatures.

This petition claims the dog meat trade "remains the same, if not worse" than 30 years ago as South Korea prepares to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

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