SEOUL - The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Thursday that it was pushing for a five-year animal welfare project, under which pets would have to receive microchip implants starting next year in a bid to reduce the number of abandoned animals.
Information about the pets and their owners will be contained in microchips, which will help the owners find their pets more easily if they get lost, the ministry said. Animal hospitals will also be required to record pets' identifying information for all medical treatment, according to ministry officials.
The Agriculture Ministry aims to reduce the number of abandoned pets to 70,000 by 2019, it said. About 100,000 animals are abandoned every year, it added.
The ministry also vowed to toughen punishment for those who desert animals or who do not properly protect their pets. Those who do not remove pet waste in public will also face a tougher fine, officials said.
For those who want to give up raising pets, the government said it would launch a pilot project that allows owners to consider their decision for a certain period. Pets will be raised at local facilities in the meantime, the ministry said.