A painful chapter in Busan’s history for animal lovers has finally come to an end.
Busan Metropolitan City Mayor Oh Keo-don signed an agreement on the complete shutdown of Gupo Livestock Market with Buk-gu District Mayor Jeong Myeong-hui, Lawmaker Jeon Jae-soo, and President of Livestock Organization in Gupo Market Park Yong-soon at Gupo Livestock Market, Buk-gu, Busan, on July 1, 2019.
The date of the signing ceremony coincided with the 1-year anniversary of the inauguration of Mayor Oh into office.
End of a More Than 60 Year History of Animal Abuse
Since it was the first complete shutdown of a livestock market in Korea, Gupo Market was crowded with reporters, members of animal protection groups, and vendors.
“Quitting a job that a vendor has done for dozens of years is just the same as dying for him/her. We decided to shut down the livestock market because Busan Metropolitan City Government tried to maintain coexistence between us and considered living of the vendors first during negotiation, unlike the past one-sided tear-down,” said Park Yong-soon, the President of Livestock Organization in Gupo Market at the beginning of the ceremony.
Some merchants had originally opposed the district’s plans to close the market as they have been working there for nearly 50 years and wanted adequate compensation.
“I appreciate your historic decision on the shutdown of Gupo Livestock Market that other livestock markets still cannot make. We could sign the agreement because all people gathering here including the vendors have the principle of respecting life,” said Mayor Oh.
After the signing ceremony, Mayor Oh and officers moved to the Livestock Market street and transferred 85 rescued animals to animal shelters.
Mayor Oh took off his jacket and handed cages carrying the rescued dogs into a transferring truck. Members of the animal protection groups and the citizens watching the moment applauded together.
He wrote a commemorating phrase, “LIFE, Gupo Livestock Market will be remembered in history” before three trucks carried the animals to local animal shelters where animal protection groups will put up the rescued animals for international adoption.
Animal Protection Groups Laud the Closing
Members of the animal protection groups who advocated for the markets closing for over a decade and who watched the ceremony from beginning to end were very visibly moved by the days’ events.
“We maintained our campaign of animal abuse eradication for 14 years in front of Gupo Livestock Market, but could not imagine that complete shutdown really comes true like today. We are deeply moved and truly appreciate that Busan Metropolitan City Government made this historic event happen,” a member said.
After the signing ceremony, the vendors stopped slaughtering live animals and displaying animal meats from the 1st of July and closed down their businesses permanently yesterday.
The livestock market completely shuts down on July 11.
A Painful History Comes to a Close
Gupo Market was established after the Korean War and came to prominence in the late 1970’s and 1980’s with over 70 shops which slaughtered dogs for meat — the nation’s largest.
The city of Busan and the Bok district office have announced their renovation plan for the dog market to become a new parking facility with resting areas, shopping and a small park in the area.