Kim Basinger leads protest against 'dog meat day' in Seoul - but what is it?

Dozens of people opposed to eating dog meat, including American actress Kim Basinger, protested near the National Assembly in Seoul on one of three "dog meat days" in South Korea.

About 20 others stood nearby calling for legislation of banning dog meat on Friday.

Just a few metres away from the protest a group of dog farmers eat meat from dogs they have reared, claiming it is part of their tradition.

But what exactly is dog meat day?

Members of the Korean Dog Meat Association eat dog meat during a rally to support eating the meat. Credit: AP

Under a traditional belief, Friday July 12 is thought to be the first of three hottest days in South Korea.

Many South Koreans believe eating dog meat or chicken soup on those days, gives them strength to beat the heat.

The three dog meat days are based on the lunar calendar and supposedly coincide with the three hottest days of the year.

The dates are usually between July and August but change each year.

How have people reacted to dog meat day?

American actress Kim Basinger, center, holds a model of a slaughtered dog during a rally to oppose eating dog meat in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: AP

Dozens of people have protested against the meat eating day and also put mock dog carcasses on a table including Kim Basinger.

She said: "They do not need your tears, they need your help.

"We have to end this cruelty on this planet.

"We have to help anything suffering."

The anti-dog meat eaters also held placards which read: "How Many Millions Have to Die Before Dog Meat Ends?"

American actress Kim Basinger, left, watches a pet dog during a rally to oppose eating dog meat in front of the National Assembly in Seoul. Credit: AP

Could eating dog meat ever be illegal?

A bill is being proposed that would make the killing of dogs for food illegal.

However, others still oppose outlawing dog meat because they view it as surrendering to Western pressure.