Fifty-seven dogs and puppies have been rescued from a dog meat farm by Humane Society International and Change for Animals Foundation in South Korea. The dogs are now on their way to new lives in Northern California. The dogs range from beagles, poodles, and Korean Jindos to large Tosas and have spent their entire lives in small, filthy, crowded cages exposed to all weathers on the farm, waiting to be killed for their meat.
Millions of dogs suffer across Asia for the cruel dog meat trade. Most are snatched from the streets, but South Korea is the only known Asian country to have a farming industry that produces dogs solely for meat. HSI and CFAF are partners in a consortium that is campaigning to end the trade and is engaging dog meat farmers in South Korea to transition them to alternative livelihoods, such as crop growing. In this case, HSI agreed to remove all the dogs and be responsible for their rehoming.
Lola Webber, HSI Asia campaign manager and CFAF director, said: “Some of these dogs were in a terrible state both physically and mentally. They’ve been starved of love their whole lives, living in fear and deprivation. As soon as we opened their cage doors and they realised we weren’t going to harm them, they wagged their tails and licked our faces. I felt very privileged to give these dogs the first ever cuddle and kiss of their lives.”
The farmer involved had bred dogs for meat for 20 years and is part of an industry that sees upwards of two million dogs consumed in South Korea each year. Facing criticism from family members for his participation in this trade, the farmer was eager to work with HSI to close his farm and start a new life raising produce.
Farmer Tae Hyung Lee, said: “I think a lot of people want to get out of the dog meat trade, ‘cause [sic] people don’t like dog meat like in the past.”
HSI flew the dogs to San Francisco to be evaluated and treated for medical issues at the San Francisco SPCA. Some of the dogs will be transferred to additional HSI Emergency Placement Partners, including—East Bay SPCA, Marin Humane Society and the Sacramento SPCA. All the dogs will be found loving, permanent homes.
Adam Parascandola, HSI’s director of animal protection and crisis response, said: “These lucky dogs will live the rest of their lives as valued and treasured members of a forever family in the United States. These amazing animals are full of character, and will make loving and loyal companions. But millions more dogs back in South Korea will die for dog meat, so our work will continue, to shut down more farms and call for an end to this cruel trade. With the Winter Olympics coming to Seoul in 2018, we have a clear opportunity to end the dog meat trade as the world focuses on South Korea.”
The dog meat trade is brutal, and the method of slaughter grisly. Most dogs raised for meat in South Korea are electrocuted in full view of others awaiting the same fate.
Dog adoption in South Korea is limited to mostly small, purebred dogs. Public awareness campaigns are needed to highlight the cruelty of the trade, and close the gap in perception between “pet dogs” and “meat dogs” so that eventually in-country dog adoption becomes possible. Investigators have found that even dogs bred to be pets can end up part of the industry if nobody buys them. HSI’s long term objective is to encourage the Korean government to assist farmers to transition to alternative, more humane activities.
In January, HSI and CFAF rescued 23 dogs from a South Korean dog meat farm, and worked with the farmer to convert to growing blueberries. All those dogs are now living in the United States with new families or undergoing rehabilitation with our Emergency Partner Shelters.
Wendy Higgins +44(0)7989 972 423, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read a blog entry about the rescue by Humane Society of the United States President & CEO Wayne Pacelle.