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March 20, 2018

Olympian Gus Kenworthy reunites with Beemo, the puppy he is adopting from a South Korean dog meat farm

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Matt, Gus and Beemo. Dario Ayala

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MONTREAL—More than 80 dogs rescued from a South Korean dog meat farm by Humane Society International, with the generous support of the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, have arrived in Canada to find forever homes. One of those lucky pups is Beemo, with whom U.S. Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and boyfriend Matt Wilkas fell in love when they visited the dog meat farm with HSI two weeks ago. Kenworthy and Wilkas were reunited with little Beemo at Humane Society International/Canada’s temporary shelter in Montreal, where the rescued dogs will receive desperately needed care and attention in the coming weeks. The jindo/husky mix puppy was living in subzero temperatures on the property in Gyeonggi-do province when the pair spotted her.

Give now to help shut down the dog meat trade and protect all animals.

Kenworthy said: “Visiting the dog meat farm in South Korea was one of the most heart-wrenching things I’ve ever done. It really upset me to see these beautiful dogs enduring such horrible, inhumane conditions, and to know that without HSI’s intervention, all of them would eventually end up being killed in really brutal ways to be eaten. I have total respect for South Korea, but I don’t believe we should ever use culture as a scapegoat for animal cruelty.”

The two toured HSI/Canada’s emergency shelter to see some of the dogs they first met in the ramshackle, snow-covered meat farm, now safe and warm in HSI’s care. The dogs are a mixture of breeds including mastiff mixes, jindos, Great Pyrenees, golden retriever-crosses, Samoyed and Husky mixes and Labrador mixes. But it was little Beemo, the grey and white jindo/husky cross, that Gus and Matt were especially keen to see again. Kenworthy added: “When Matt and I were on the dog meat farm, we fell in love with Beemo instantly. As soon as I scooped her up in my arms, I knew she was coming to live with us and we cannot wait to give her a wonderful life. It’s so great to see her far away from that horrible cage. But there are millions of dogs still suffering back in South Korea, and if I can help raise awareness about how HSI’s dog farm closure programme is working hard to end the entire trade, then I’m happy to do so in honour of Beemo and all these wonderful dogs.”

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada, said: “We are so grateful to HSI supporters and the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation for making this crucial rescue possible. To see these dogs safe at last in Canada is simply wonderful. But these dog farm closures mean even more: we are helping to show the government of South Korea that there is a viable solution for ending the dog meat trade that benefits both the dogs and the farmers. We hope this a phase-out model the South Korean government can adopt and end the dog meat trade by implementing an industry-wide transition program.”

Eric Margolis, founder of the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation and major donor of this dog meat farm rescue, said: “When I see the kind of cruelty that exists in the dog meat trade, I have to do everything I can to stop it. These poor dogs have suffered so much, for so long. But now, they have a second chance and a wonderful future. I am honoured to support HSI/Canada in giving these deserving dogs their freedom."

FACTS:

  • This dog meat firm closure was made possible through the generous support of the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation and HSI’s supporters.
  • More than 2.5 million dogs are confined on South Korean dog meat farms each year for human consumption.
  • HSI is helping to end this brutal trade with its proof of concept dog farm closure program. HSI forms a partnership with dog farmers through a legal contract to rescue their dogs and help the farmer transition to a new, humane livelihood. To date, we have rescued more than 1,300 dogs, saving their lives and bringing their stories to global audiences.

Click here and here to download high-resolution photos. To volunteer at our emergency shelter or to adopt one of these dogs, please visit hsicanada.ca/savedogs. Donate and take action to help.

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