South Korea Implements Ban on Exotic Animal Cafes!

South Korea Implements Ban on Exotic Animal Cafes!

South Korea has taken a significant step towards enhancing animal welfare with the recent implementation of a ban on exotic animal cafes.

These establishments, where visitors could see, touch, and interact with a variety of wild animals, were subject to an amendment to the Wildlife Protection and Management Act approved at a Cabinet meeting on December 5.

Effective December 14, it is now illegal to exhibit “wild animals” in facilities not registered as zoos or aquariums, according to the Ministry of Environment in South Korea.

The move aims to better protect the well-being of these animals, as the amendment also explicitly prohibits visitors from touching, feeding, or climbing on top of the animals to prevent distress.

Owners of exotic animal cafes are faced with a choice: either re-register their establishments as zoos or aquariums, ensuring compliance with stringent requirements for animal protection, hygiene, and safety, or cease operation altogether.

The government has granted a four-year grace period, extending until December 13, 2027, during which these cafes are technically allowed to operate without facing penalties.

Despite this grace period, certain restrictions are immediately in effect from December 14. Any violation involving touching, feeding, or climbing on the animals will result in fines, with penalties set at 1.5 million won (approximately $1,540) per infraction, up to a maximum fine of 5 million won.

Exotic animal cafes have gained popularity in South Korea in recent years, offering visitors the unique experience of interacting with animals such as raccoons, arctic foxes, sheep, capybaras, wallabies, and meerkats.

However, concerns about animal welfare and the conditions in which these animals are kept have prompted the government to take action. The decision to ban such operations reflects a growing awareness of the ethical treatment of animals.

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This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 15 December 2023. Image Credit :Phil’s Mommy/Shutterstock.

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