SEOUL, South Korea — Animal rights groups on Tuesday welcomed the South Korean president's offer to look into banning consumption of dog meat.

Dog meat is neither legal nor explicitly banned in South Korea. Restaurants that serve it are a dwindling business here as younger people find dog meat a less appetizing dining option. But some people oppose a ban as a surrender to Western pressure.

During a meeting with his prime minister on Monday, President Moon Jae-in asked "if it's time to carefully consider" a ban, according to his office. It's unclear when a review would take place and when or whether a ban would be realized.

A few activists gathered in central Seoul on Tuesday to call for the government and parliament to work out steps to officially prohibit dog meat consumption. They placed a big placard on the street that reads "Legislate law banning the slaughters of dogs and cats!"

"We actively welcome President Moon Jae-in's comments instructing a review of the dog meat consumption ban and hope there would be substantial progress on that," animal rights organizations said in a joint statement.

Activists later visited Moon's presidential office and Parliament to convey their calls for swift action to ban dog meat consumption, said Lee Won Bok, head of the Korea Association of Animal Protection.

A public survey in 2018 indicated about 80% of South Koreans had not eaten dog meat in the previous year. Lee said an estimated about 1 million dogs are still killed each year in South Korea for food.

Some older people in South Korea believe that dog meat enhances sexual stamina.