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January 5, 2018

Thirteen lucky pups saved from death on South Korean dog meat farm arrive in the UK

TOWIE’s Pete Wicks joins charity Humane Society International in emotional reunion

Humane Society International/United Kingdom

  • Stephanie Maw obesers one of the dogs who arrived from South Korea. Harriet Barclay/HSI

  • Pete Wicks with Jack. Harriet Barclay/HSI

  • Abbie the dog now in the UK and looking for a home. Wendy Higgins/HSI


Thirteen dogs saved from being killed and eaten in South Korea have arrived safely in the United Kingdom to start the New Year getting the love and care they deserve. Animal protection charity Humane Society International, accompanied by TV’s Pete Wicks from The Only Way Is Essex, travelled to South Korea before Christmas for the charity’s 10th dog meat farm closure, saving all 170 dogs from death row.

Pete joined the charity at Heathrow Animal Reception Centre for an emotional reunion with Henry, a golden retriever; Jack, a beagle; and Lucie, George, Tory, Rocky, Bella, Chris, Adam, Mocha, Abbie, Lucy and Leila, all Jindo mixes.

The dogs were confined their whole lives in filthy, barren, metal cages on a dog meat farm in Namyangju, a mere two hour drive from where South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics in just over four weeks’ time. It’s one of an estimated 17,000 dog farms across the country, breeding more than 2.5million dogs a year to be eaten. In addition to their lives of suffering, the methods used to kill dogs are brutal and often protracted, with electrocution or hanging at the local market, slaughterhouse or restaurant the usual fate.

Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, was part of the rescue team in South Korea, where she first met Henry and is now adopting him. She said:

 “It was incredibly upsetting to see so many frightened dogs in such appalling conditions, many of them emaciated, with skin or eye infections and covered in pressure sores. But our dog farm closures are shining a much-needed spotlight on this cruelty and supporting the vibrant campaign by South Koreans themselves to end the trade. Most South Koreans don’t regularly eat dog meat, and in fact the majority of young people have never eaten it, so it’s a dying industry that we have a real opportunity to end. Being able to rescue Henry from his dog meat farm hell is a privilege that spurs me on to campaign for a day when no dog suffers for the dinner table in South Korea.”

HSI has so far permanently shut down 10 dog meat farms and rescued more than 1,200 dogs who were flown to the USA, Canada and the UK for adoption. The closures are done in partnership with dog farmers eager to leave the controversial trade, and in the hope that the South Korean government will adopt and expand this working model to phase out the cruel industry for good.

Pete Wicks said “Nothing could have prepared me for how dreadful a dog meat farm really is. Endless rows of dogs shivering in the bitter cold on freezing metal bars, a look of utter hopelessness in their eyes. Some of them cowered at the back of their cage, clearly traumatised by their ordeal, while others wagged their tails nervously and even offered me a paw. Their resilience and trust despite their harrowing ordeal really moved me. Helping the HSI rescue team close down that hellish place was one of the proudest experiences of my life, and I’m thrilled to finally be reunited with the 13 dogs who will find their forever homes here in the UK. With love and patience, hopefully they can put the nightmare of the dog meat trade behind them.”

Fight the Dog Meat Trade and Other Cruelty.

Whilst Henry is settling in with Claire and family, the other 12 dogs have been transferred to the care of All Dogs Matter rehoming centre and will stay at the centre in north London, getting the care they need before finding families. Ira Moss, All Dogs Matter director, said: “Everyone at All Dogs Matter is really moved to be able to help give these special dogs a new start in life. They’re never known comfort or love before, and so look forward to finding them their forever homes to help them recover from their ordeal.”

To register interest in adopting one of the South Korean rescues, you can apply online.

HSI thanks Animal Couriers for sponsoring the transport of the dogs from Heathrow.


  • Around 30 million dogs and 10 million cats a year are killed across Asia for eating, with the trade most widespread in China, South Korea, Indonesia, Laos, Viet Nam and Nagaland in northern India. 
  • South Korea is the only country known to factory-farm dogs for eating. Elsewhere, dogs are typically snatched from the streets or stolen as pets for the trade.
  • In South Korea, dog meat is most often eaten during the hottest days of the summer in July and August, called Boknal, as a peppery soup called bosintang believed to improve stamina and virility. 
  • Dog meat farmers who approach HSI for help exiting the industry sign a legal contract with the charity to relinquish the dogs. The charity provides a small start-up grant to transition farmers to an alternative, humane trade such as chilli growing or water delivery.
  • The dog meat industry is in legal limbo in South Korea, neither legal nor illegal. Many provisions of the Animal Protection Act are routinely breached, such as the ban on killing animals in a brutal way including hanging by the neck, killing in public areas or in front of other animals of the same species.

For more information on our campaign visit www.hsi.org/dogmeat 

Media contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423

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