The focus on the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang provided us with the ideal opportunity to raise awareness about the dog meat trade and to urge the government of South Korea to work with HSI to end to the suffering. In conjunction with our local partner groups, we capitalized on the media spotlight to increase the pressure to remove what is increasingly being seen as a stain on the country’s global reputation. We placed eye-catching full page advertisements in some of the country’s leading national newspapers, lobbied policy makers, and took to the road with our mobile ‘virtual dog meat farm’ campaign truck to show Korean people the true nature of dog meat farms. We also welcomed world-famous U.S. Olympic athlete Gus Kenworthy to a dog meat farm closure we were completing during the Games, and his reaction to the conditions made international media headlines.
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International criticism alone will not see the demise of this horror. For that, we also need to debunk the commonly-held myths about dogs and dog meat that underpin South Koreans’ defense or tolerance of the trade. We believe that no culture in any country must ever be used as an excuse for cruelty, even if it means includes challenging norms, including in the West. The dog meat trade is an issue of cruelty first and foremost.
Most South Koreans have never seen a dog meat farm and are unaware of the shocking conditions these animal endure. There is also a widespread public misconception about the dogs bred for meat—the myth that these dogs are somehow different from “normal dogs” has fostered a societal indifference to their suffering. But HSI has proven in our campaign that all breeds and types of dogs are used in the dog meat trade, including popular pure-breeds such as golden retrievers, huskies and chihuahuas. Some of the dogs are abandoned former pets or dogs from the pet trade who went unsold. Regarding the potential to be loving companions, there is absolutely no difference between “pet dogs” and “meat dogs.” Donate and take action to support our campaigns.