South Korean Animal rights activist So-Youn Park (president of CARE) may
serve a 1 Year prison term for "special larceny" for rescuing neglected
animals from a dog farm.
“Animal rights are longing to be dignified in the presence of human law.
Koreans need to stop regarding animals as pieces of property.”
Is this a case of larceny and violation of private ownership
rights? Or is this a justified animal rescue based on liberating animals in
terribly inhumane conditions?
On 16th August, 2012 a South Korean
court demanded So-Youn Park animal rights activist and president of
CARE(Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth) serve a ‘1 year prison labor’
for special larceny. This differs from simple larceny, as it is ‘a special
larceny to destroy parts of construction’ categorized as a serious criminal
offence. This ‘special larceny’ is punishable only by incarceration, and
carries no monetary penalties.
accidentally witnessed 5 dogs and 8 chickens miserably abandoned while
walking by a farm. She visited the farm three more times throughout the week
with other CARE animal rights activists, but they could not find any trace
of food or the owner. So they rescued the dogs and chickens from the cages
during the night of November 26th, 2011. These animals were bathed in their
own excretions and the activists were knee deep in dung and urine while
rescuing them. It was obvious to conclude that if the animals had been kept
in this condition any longer, they would have either died of disease or
starvation. Days later, upon discovering the dogs and chickens were gone,
Han, the owner of the farm called the police accusing Mrs. Park of theft.
The prosecution charged Mrs. Park with ‘special larceny’. This led to a
secondary trial on 14th August in the An-yang district court where the
prosecution demanded imprisonment.
Even though the farm owner Han
admitted that all the dogs rescued from his farm in Asan were raised for
slaughter and the environment which they were kept was inadequate, it didn’t
have an impact on the trial.
Korea’s animal protection laws carry no
penalties when it comes to the psychological abuse or abandoning of animals.
Even so, measures are hardly implemented since there is no enforcement
ordinance. Amendments are needed in the direction where animal protection
organizations also have the right of countermeasure, not just local
Mrs. Park’s first trial verdict is scheduled for
Thursday, August 30th, and regardless of the result it is expected to bring
dramatic implications. If she’s found not guilty, animal protection groups’
actions will gain momentum. If she is found guilty, attempts to rescue
animals in need will falter and erode.
Over the last 13 years, Mrs.
Park and CARE activists have rescued many abandoned animals, animals heading
off to slaughter, and animals in danger of severe cruelty. In 2006, Mrs.
Park led CARE to the rescue of 100 dogs from a dog farm. Earlier this year,
Mrs. Park and CARE rescued nine cows from a farmer attempting to starve the
cows as a form of protest against the government.
This trial has
gained international interest among animal rights groups. Numerous groups
such as PETA (People for Ethical Treatment on Animal), Humane Society
International, etc. have already sent petitions requesting Mrs. Park be