More than 70 dogs have been rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea thanks to the Humane Society International (HSI), all of which will eventually be flown to shelters in Canada and the U.S. and put up for adoption.
The owner of the farm, Nakseon Kim, has been breeding dogs for nearly 40 years but has decided to leave the profession behind following HSI’s offer to help him grow cabbage and other vegetables instead.
“Amid growing South Korean opposition to eating dogs and a series of new regulations and court rulings cracking down on the industry, farmers like Mr. Kim are increasingly looking for an exit strategy but with one request – to save their dogs,” notes an HSI release about the rescue.
“After years of sending the animals to slaughter, Mr. Kim is not the first farmer to be relieved to learn that HSI rescues, rehabilitates and seeks happy homes for all the dogs.”
The many dogs that have been granted a second chance at life include Tosas, Jindos, Poodles, Beagles, Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston Terriers, and they were all bred for either the meat trade or the puppy mill trade.
“In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs are destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade,” notes the release.
“Despite Korea’s dog meat industry attempting to claim a difference between pet dogs and ‘meat dogs,’ the reality is they are all just dogs whose fate ultimately depends on where greatest profits can be made.”
The closure of this farm marks the 16th one to be shut down by HSI since 2015, and more than 2,000 dogs have been rescued in total.
According to the organization, dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea in recent years.
A June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea showed that 70 per cent of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future, but up to 2 million dogs are still bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea every year.
The practice has also recently been banned or severely restricted in several other regions, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.
The dogs from Kim’s farm have been relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea while the organization waits for travel restrictions to relax, and they’re each receiving a full veterinary check-up and settling into the temporary quarters to begin their rehabilitation.
“HSI hopes its model for change will hasten an end to the controversial and cruel industry by demonstrating to the Korean government that a farmer-supported phase out of farms can work,” notes the release.
“As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.”