International Aid for Korean Animals (IAKA) is a non-profit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in South Korea. Its mission is to end the consumption of dog, cat, and bear products in South Korea by raising international awareness and advocating for improved animal protection legislation in South Korea.
IAKA was founded in 1997 by South Korean activist and artist, Kyenan Kum. When she began IAKA, Kyenan had already fought for the welfare of Korean animals for over a decade. Working with her sister and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Kyenan played a role in many firsts for animal rights in South Korea: the first Animal Protection Law, the first animal welfare non-profit (Korea Animal Protection Society or KAPS), the first spay and neuter program, and even the first use of the phrase “animal protection.”
After advocating in Korea for seven years, Kyenan returned to California to create a non-profit that would grow international support for animal protection in South Korea: IAKA. Only two years after founding IAKA, Kyenan had managed to build a broad enough base to stave off a major threat to South Korean dogs: a Korean government official proposed a bill legalizing dog meat, and reputable world animal organizations supported the law because they believed it would lead to humane slaughtering practices. In answer to this challenge, IAKA contacted a slew of activists to organize protests across the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The overwhelming response from protesters dissuaded the Korean government from passing the law.
In 2002, Kyenan co-organized another international protest to great effect. She collaborated with a British filmmaker on a documentary about South Korean dog markets, and timed the film’s release just before the FIFA World Cup in South Korea. Screenings and protests coordinated around FIFA events drew media coverage within the UK, and the negative press persuaded South Korean government officials to improve animal protection laws.
After organizing a protests and campaigns for a few more years, IAKA went on to partner with various animal rescues, shelters, and activists throughout Korea including the Nabiya Cat Shelter, the Korean Animal Theme Park, and Daejeon Paws. IAKA also refocused its efforts on educating the Korean people on animal care practices and encouraging a change in social attitudes toward dogs and cats.
Today, IAKA is responding again to changing times and politics. The city of Sungnam has decided to ban the slaughter and sale of dogs for meat purposes – effectively shutting down South Korea’s largest dog meat market, Moran Market. IAKA is organizing a letter and postcard writing campaign to encourage other Korean cities to follow suit.
IAKA US is a registered 501(c)(3) organization in the U.S.: 94-3255699.