While millions will be cheering on Olympic athletes from around the world who would be skating and skiing and curling their way into sports history as they compete in Pyeongchang, South Korea, not far away, helpless dogs are being slaughtered for their meat at more than 17,000 dog meat farms around that country, according to Humane Society International.
Groups like Humane Society International want South Korea to ban the slaughter of dogs entirely, while smaller groups have established volunteer systems to rescue dogs and close farms.
In January 2017, rescuers with Humane Society International (HSI) transported 200 dogs saved from a South Korean dog meat farm in Wonju, South Korea, to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
This is the sixth dog meat farm closure managed by HSI, with a total of 770 dogs rescued since January 2015 as part of the organization’s campaign to end the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia. Officials are flying the dogs to shelters across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom after going through a quarantine process.
Farmers are becoming increasingly aware of the appalling trade and working with HSI to save dogs from this brutal animal abuse.
According to the group, around 2.5 million dogs are killed in South Korea for their meat each year.
The Korean government, after realizing the sensitivity of the issue for foreigners, has offered money to restaurants if they stop serving dog meat during the Games and has requested that signs advertising the meals be covered up or removed.
If they weren't saved by HSI, the dogs would have been electrocuted at a local market or slaughterhouse and made into a spicy soup, called bosintang.
“It’s bitterly cold here and the wind rips through these wire cages constantly, especially at night when the temperature plummets,”said HSI Korea’s anti-dog meat campaign manager.
“I’ve visited so many awful dog meat farms as part of my HSI work, and it always makes me so sad. When we got to the farm, many of the dogs were desperate to make contact and instantly relaxed when we talked softly to them and showed them kindness.”
“Others were too terrified to trust us and hid at the back of their cage.
“My heart breaks to see this suffering in my country, and I’m proud to be a part of this programme that aims to find a solution to end it.
“Cruelty can never be excused as culture, and most young people here want nothing to do with dog meat.”
The dog meat operation is located in Gangwon province, which is significant because it is the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. HSI is calling on the government to support a phase out of the dog meat trade ahead of the Olympics and an ultimate ban on the trade.
In South Korea, it is common to farm dogs for human consumption. People are advised to sign the petition to South Korean president Moon Jae-in calling for a dog meat ban to stop this brutality.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Ints Kalnins