Animal rights campaigners have closed down a 15th dog meat farm in South Korea and rescued 90 pups from slaughter – six of who have been taken to the UK to find loving new families.
There are still thousands of dog farms across South Korea supplying live dogs to slaughterhouses, markets and restaurants for human consumption, but the trade has been in decline over recent years as attitudes and appetites are changing.
The Humane Society International has rescued more than 2,000 dogs and deported many to the UK , the US and Canada.
Six dogs arrived in the UK this month to start their search for new homes. Spaniel mix Maisie, Boston terrier Winston, and Jindo mixes Pumpkin, Oscar, Bella and Molly were languishing on a dog meat farm in Gyeonggi-do province before HSI stepped in.
Activists from Humane Society International have been assisting dog farmers across the country to transition to a different livelihood as public opinion mounts against the industry.
Many dog meat farmers are increasingly eager to exit the trade and approach HSI for help. They each sign a legal contract with the charity to relinquish the dogs, destroy all the cages, and never farm dogs or any animal again.
The charity provides a small start-up grant to transition farmers to an alternative livelihood such as mushroom growing, water delivery, water parsley farming and other more humane trades.
Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, who was part of the rescue team in South Korea, said: “These facilities intensively breed dogs in barren, factory farm-style caging, appallingly deprived conditions that no animal of any species should ever have to endure.
“Our dog farm closures not only shine a spotlight on that cruelty and contribute to wider efforts in the country for policy change, but they also provide a lifeline for these frightened but friendly dogs to start new lives.
“Our six new arrivals are all settling in their foster homes while our shelter partner Chimney Farm Rescue matches them with forever families. It’s wonderful to know that instead of a cold, metal cage they will have soft, warm beds and can start to put the dog meat trade behind them.”
Most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, and a survey by Gallup Korea in June 2018 showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future.
There have also been a series of recent crackdowns on dog slaughterhouses, dog meat shops and dog meat markets by local authorities.
Last year the city council in Seongnam closed down Taepyeong, the largest dog slaughterhouse in the country, followed by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in July this year led by the mayor of Busan.
Most recently the mayor of Seoul and the Seoul Metropolitan Government negotiated with dog meat shops in the city to end all on-site dog slaughter as part of a wider effort to make Seoul dog meat-free.
Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said: “Contrary to popular belief, most Koreans these days don’t eat dog meat and would find the idea of eating dogs quite upsetting.
“This is one of the reasons why many dog farmers are keen for HSI to help them leave the trade and start a new life.
“Thanks to awareness raising by HSI/Korea and other local groups, the cruelty that these dogs endure is no longer hidden, and Koreans are really starting to speak out and demanding change.”
Chimney Farm Rescue are not accepting new adoption enquiries for the six dogs at this time due to the volume of enquiries already received, but potential adopters can check the website.
Jenn Gilbert, founder of Chimney Farm Rescue, said: “As the founder of Chimney Farm we try to help all dogs in need, and the dog meat trade has always played heavily on my heart. So to be asked to help Humane Society International/UK was an honour.
“The six dogs who arrived – Bella, Winston, Molly, Maisie, Pumpkin and Oscar – are just amazing dogs, and after all they have endured they are settling into UK life amazingly. Out for walks, cuddling up to humans, lying in comfortable beds, just how all dogs should live. All the dogs have a thorough medical and then we can start to look for the best homes possible.”
What is the best way to change opinions about the dog meat trade? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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