Press Release

Board View

Minister of Environment Initiates Wildlife Welfare Consensus, Broad Outreach to Communicate with Future Generations

▷ Minister Han Wha-jin visits Seoul Wildlife Center in alignment with the full revision of the Zoo and Aquarium Act (enforced on December 14), discusses new animal welfare policies with future generations

▷ Initiating animal welfare policies, the Minister plans to actively communicate with the youth on various environmental policies, including carbon neutrality, eco-friendly living, and resource circulation

Minister of Environment Han Wha-jin actively communicates with the youth and future generations, starting with building consensus on wildlife welfare, and addressing various environmental policies such as carbon neutrality, eco-friendly living, and resource circulation.

On the afternoon of December 13, the Ministry of Environment (Minister Han Wha-jin) announced that the Minister visited the Seoul Wildlife Center located in Gwanak-gu, Seoul. During the visit, she inspected the wildlife rehabilitation process and held a communication meeting with the future generations on the theme of animal welfare.     

The meeting was arranged ahead of the enforcement of amendments to the Act on the Management of Zoos and Aquariums (hereinafter referred to as the “Zoo and Aquarium Act”) and the Wildlife Protection and Management Act (hereinafter referred to as the “Wildlife Act”) on December 14. It was designed to listen to the thoughts of young people on animal welfare and to build consensus on environmental policies of the Ministry.

The young participants in the meeting emphasized the need for improvement in animal welfare by highlighting cases of suffering due to abnormal behavior or abuse of some animals. They presented various opinions on the strengthening of educational functions and the transition to sanctuary facilities* as the direction zoos should move towards.

* Sanctuary: A space that ensures protection and welfare for animals in situations where it is difficult for them to return to the wild until the end of their lives

Furthermore, Kim Jun-young, who attended the meeting together on behalf of internet broadcasting (TV Seangdo YouTube Channel), emphasized the need for promotion regarding endangered species.

In accordance with the upcoming enforcement of the Zoo and Aquarium Act and the Wildlife Act, Minister Han explained that, in the future, zoos must provide habitats* that suit the characteristics of wildlife, such as hiding places and flooring, and stressed that the exhibition of stress-prone wild mammals like raccoons in animal cafes will be prohibited**. This explanation was to garner the empathy of young people by highlighting that animal welfare will be further improved.

* Until now, zoos could easily register with minimal exhibition facilities. However, in the future, they will need to undergo validation by specialist inspectors, ensuring appropriate living environments and management plans that consider animal characteristics, as well as factors such as disease, safety, and welfare, to obtain approval.

** Exhibiting stress-prone wildlife such as raccoons and meerkats is prohibited in facilities like animal cafes. Display of these animals is allowed only in zoos with appropriate facilities (some species like parrots and turtles are exceptions and can be exhibited).

In addition, the Minister expressed gratitude for the empathy of young people towards animal welfare and explained the intention to enhance personnel and facilities for animal welfare. The goal was to ensure that the new system settles effectively in practice. 

Minister Han, prior to the meeting on this day, visited the Seoul Wildlife Center to inspect the rehabilitation and treatment process of injured magpies and raccoons. She expressed her commitment to support these wildlife creatures in quickly recovering their health and returning to nature as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Minister plans to continue engaging with the younger generation on various environmental policies, including carbon neutrality, following the meeting held on this day.

Firstly, on December 18 at COEX (located in Gangnam-gu, Seoul), a nationwide forum will be held to explain the results of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in the United Arab Emirates from November 30 to December 12. The Minister will participate in this forum, where around a thousand participants, including young people, industry representatives, and academics, will join both in-person and online. The forum aims to facilitate in-depth discussions on the outcomes of COP28 among various age groups, including the younger generation. 

Following that, the Minister is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the National Institute of Ecology Wildlife Protection Center in Seocheon-gun, Chungcheongnam-do, at the end of December. After the ceremony, she plans to engage in bird strike prevention tape attachment work with young animal keepers and managers (those aged 40 and below).

Additionally, on December 27, Minister Han plans to visit the 37th Army Division (located in Jeungpyeong-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do), which has dedicated itself to national defense and made significant contributions to environmental conservation management. During the visit, the Minister will convey condolences and provide support to the military personnel. On the same day, the Minister will also visit Public Designism, a social enterprise in Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do, that practices environmental values by recycling waste materials. During the visit, discussions on resource circulation policies and opinions on future generations, including young entrepreneurs, are expected to take place.

Minister Han Wha-jin stated, “The fundamental success criterion for various environmental policies depends on how actively we communicate with the younger generation.” She added, “We will strive to ensure that the voices of these future generations are reflected in various policies, including animal welfare and carbon neutrality.”