South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has called for the country to ban the consumption of dog meat.
The practice remains common in the Asian country, particularly among older generations, with dog meat still available in markets and restaurants.
But its popularity has declined in recent years and is not in such demand among younger South Koreans.
And now Mr Moon – well known to be a dog-lover – is calling for an outright ban.
"Hasn't the time come to prudently consider prohibiting dog meat consumption?" Mr Moon told Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum at a weekly meeting, the presidential spokeswoman said.
He made the remarks as he was briefed on a plan to improve the care system for abandoned pets during discussions on a mandatory registration system for dogs, it was reported.
"After the briefing, he said the time has come to carefully consider imposing a dog meat ban," Mr Moon's spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee said.
About one million dogs are eaten annually in South Korea but the figure is falling. Animal rights activists have been putting pressure on those who still consume meat from dogs in recent years.
Calls for ban
Mr Moon is regularly pictured with dogs, of which he owns several, at his presidential compound, including one rescue dog he took in after taking office.
This is the first time he has voiced his desire for a ban.
Animal protection laws in South Korea prevent the cruel slaughter of dogs and cats.
Several presidential hopefuls have pledged to ban dog meat in recent weeks as dogs become more popular as pets in the country, while pressure groups have urged the country to close down restaurants and markets selling dog meat.
A poll commissioned by animal welfare group Aware released this month said 78 per cent of respondents believed the production and sale of dog and cat meat should be prohibited and 49 per cent supported a consumption ban.