Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation (AHWF) is respectfully proposing that the Korean Government embrace The Gupo Market Revitalization Project in the region of Busan, South Korea.

The region of Busan is divided in two areas; a modern up- and- coming section and a section that is unfortunately still operating behind the times; this is where The Gupo Meat Market Association is located. The market was established in Northern Busan during the Joseon era over one hundred years ago and grew popular after the Korean War. The market was and still is known for slaughtering animals with unnecessarily cruel, inhumane and torturous methods for the purpose of entertainment, food and means of work. Across the street from the market is a middle school where children are forced to encounter this cruelty on a daily basis. Although the majority of modern Koreans disagree with the business practices performed there, the slaughtering of animals continues.

Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation has an agreement with The Gupo Meat Market Association, it’s current owners and it’s vendors to execute a new economic redevelopment plan of the slaughter area. There are currently twenty- seven operating slaughterhouses that the Gupo Meat Market Association endorses; Seventeen dog vendors and ten other vendors that process and slaughter chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, etc. Because of this long- standing tradition, there is a negative association between the vendors, the market and the citizen’s of Busan. This economic redevelopment plan will allow AHWF to revitalize the reputation of the vendors, the market and the citizen’s of Busan while introducing them to a respectful, more humane way of operating.

In order to execute the necessary changes to The Gupo Meat Market Association, AHWF will partner with Eui-Sung Yi of Morphosis Architectural Firm to aid in the removal of the slaughterhouses and to complete the three phases of The Gupo Market Revitalization Project. Eui-Sung Yi is a Korean architect that has worked on a number of redevelopment projects throughout the world and has also previously worked with the Korean Government. With the help of Yi and his crew, the region of Busan can flourish and change its reputation worldwide as the region that encouraged and implemented positive and lasting changes for the community.

AHWF will give every vendor an opportunity to omit the slaughtering of animals (specifically dogs) from their business practices. They will assist each vendor and the association in regards to selecting viable and cruelty free businesses in place of each slaughterhouse. For example: coffee shops, pet stores, noodle restaurants, etc. In addition, AHWF will bring in new industry and other interested parties who would like to participate in the revitalization of the market stimulating the economy of the region.

The Three Phases of The Gupo Market Revitalization Project is as follows:

1) Assessment:

  • AHWF and Yi will assess the market and the twenty- seven stalls located throughout to determine if the space should be restored or rebuilt.
  • Meet with the current vendors to discuss their vision for the transition.
  • Yi will take pictures and measurements to redesign and redevelop a blueprint based on all information obtained.

2) Financing:

  • After the blueprint is finalized, AHWF will create a budget for renovation.
  • Using companies that participate in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to not only invest in the project, but to also become a new business in the market. For example; Starbucks, Samsung, Canon, etc.
    (CSR: refers to business practices involving initiatives that benefit society; from giving away a portion of proceeds to charity to implementing “greener” business operations.)

3) Revitalization:

  • Meet with The Gupo Market Association for the finalizing of all plans, make any changes necessary and set a date for construction to begin.
  • Help the current vendors with closing down their shops and help them prepare to open new ones.
  • Document and advertise the project from start to finish to bring attention and tourists to the area to see positive groundbreaking change

In Seoul, South Korea a similar set of rules originated at the Moran Market. Both the Moran Market and The Gupo Meat Market Association participate in the same business practices. Both have received international criticism and uproar from activists, local citizens and tourists. The Moran Market has agreed to close down and cease its’ public display of daily slaughter. They now have the chance to rebuild and remodel the market and will be internationally recognizable for its change. Although The Gupo Market Revitalization Project is requesting to end all slaughter rather than prohibiting it publically, this deal represents positive change made to an industry that has historically remained unchanged.

The whole of Busan has the potential to become a competitive city with thriving markets and increased tourism. With help from the Korean Government, Yi and AHWF, Busan can reach that potential. Through The Gupo Market Revitalization Project, it also has the opportunity to make historic economical changes in the Dog Meat Trade and inspire its fellow competitors to do the same.

AHWF will work to execute this plan to it’s fullest potential and will provide support and guidance during every step. Animal Hope and Wellness Foundations’ end goal is to stop the slaughtering in Busan and in return, restructure and rebuild The Gupo Market to be a reputable and celebrated part of the community in which it resides.


UPDATES:

On Trip #11, Marc met with the City Council of Busan and the Northern Economic Division in regards to the Gupo Slaughterhouse Revitalization Deal. The meeting itself was frusterating, long and drawn out but in the end they were able to find common ground and work together. The City Council agreed to support the initiative if approved by the government.
The most optimistic thing about everything is that the owners and association seem deeply motivated. One of the slaughters told Marc, “I killed so many dogs” to which he replied, “The one thing life gives to us- is a second chance to start again.”
On Trip #13, Marc visited the Region of Busan to see the transformation of one of the slaughterhouses into its new revitalized beginning. This slaughterhouse was in existence for over 90 years where thousands of animals were tortured, abused and killed; it is now a construction retail supply store.

“Seeing it for the first time- it was like how in the morning, how you see the sun push itself over the horizon. And you think for a second, that maybe it is possible. That maybe darkness, that it does not have to be everything.” –Marc Ching
Currently awaiting the 3D model and blueprint plans to be finished so the next step can commence.