South Korean Animal rights activist So-Youn Park (president of CARE)
1 Year prison labor in special larceny for rescuing abandoned animals?
“Animal rights, longing to be dignified in the presence of human law”
“Larceny on violating private ownership of property? Or a just(fair) animal rescue well grounded on animal rights?
On 16th August, 2012 South Korean court demanded So-Youn Park animal rights activist and president of CARE(Coexistance 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 destroying parts of construction’ categorized as a serious criminal offence. This ‘special larceny’ is only punishable by incarceration, and no monetary penalties.
Mrs. Park accidentally witnessed 5 dogs and 8 chickens miserably abandoned while walking by a farm. After that she visited the farm 3 more times during that week with other CARE animal rights activists, but they couldn’t find any trace of food or visitor. So they rescued the dogs and chickens in the cages on the night November 26th, 2011. These animals were bathed in their own excretions, so the activists were knee deep in dung and urine while rescuing them. This was under the judgement that if the animals were kept in this sort of conditions any longer, either they’ll be infected from the filth or they might even starve to death. But upon discovering that the dogs and chickens he abandoned were gone, Han, the owner of the farm called the police accusing Mrs. Park for theft. The prosecution charged Mrs. Park with ‘special larceny’. This lead to the 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. The quarantine 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 only local governments.
Mrs. Park’s verdict on first trial is scheduled for Thursday, August 30th, and regardless of the result it is expected to bring dramatic implication. If she’s not guilty, the animal protection groups’ actions will gain momentum. If guilty, rescuing acts on animals might be more limited, but the resistance and discontent will escalate on the reality suppressing animal rights movements.
During the last 13 years, Mrs. Park with CARE has been rescuing many animals, whether abandoned, heading off to slaughter, or in danger by force. In 2006, Mrs. Park with CARE rescued 100 dogs, and this year 9 cows who were being starved to death by the owner 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 etc. have already sent their petition appealing for judgement of the acquittal.Tweet