An estimated 2 million dogs are reared on South Korean dog meat farms each year, according to Humane Society International, and all of these canines are “destined for slaughter.”
HSI is working to bring this numbers down one dog meat farm closure at a time. The animal welfare group recently completed another farm shutdown, their 15th so far, saving 90 canines from the horror of the trade.
Along with pulling all the dogs from each farm and sending them aboard for adoption, HSI also helps the former dog meat farmers start a new life too, setting up the farmers in “more humane and profitable enterprises such as crop growing or water delivery.”
This most recent farm shutdown took place in the Gyeonggi-do province in South Korea. HSI rescuers found 90 dogs, including puppies and grown golden retrievers, chow-chows and terriers, living in “cramped and barren wire frame cages” or “chained alone.”
According to HSI, Kwon Tae-young, the 40-year-old man who ran this dog meat farm, confessed to selling the dogs for slaughter and to dogfighters.
“I’ve thought about closing my dog farm for a while now for various reasons, but never actually did anything about it. I have lost more money on this dog farm than I have made, and I feel like the dog meat industry in South Korea has already ended really because it’s the worst of times for dog farmers I think,” the farmer said in a statement.
“One day I talked to a former dog farmer who had worked with HSI and he recommended I work with them to help me leave the dog meat industry,” he added. “Rather than selling them off to traders, I thought it would be so much better if they can live their life and not die for meat or live the life of a fighting dog.”
And that’s exactly what will happen. Now that the 90 dogs have been vetted, vaccinated and quarantined, HSI is sending the canines to rescue partners in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Fifteen puppies from the dog meat farm are set to come to the Washington D.C. area on Sept. 26 and 27, and will be transferred to rescue partners, such as the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, to find new homes.
The farmer, in addition to surrendering the animals, also signed a 20-year contract promising to not to breed dogs or any other animal again.
“As a Korean and an adopter of a dog meat trade survivor, I know what a difference HSI’s program can make in hastening an end to the suffering and what wonderful pets dog meat farm survivors can be when given a chance,” Nara Kim, HSI Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said in a statement.
The recent farm closure shepherd by HSI is, to the organization, another sign of the dwindling interest in the dog meat trade. In 2018, HSI Korea assisted in shutting down the largest dog meat slaughterhouse in South Korea, and helped close a sizable dog meat market in July.
Overall, the interest in consuming dog meat is down in South Korea; a recent survey by Gallup Korea found that 70% of South Koreans polled planned not to eat dog meat in the future.