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  • Writer's pictureZoe Cawthorn

90+ Dogs Rescued From South Korean Dog Meat Farm

Humane Society International’s rescue team has saved more than 90 dogs from a dog meat farm in South Korea, with a helping hand from TV dog experts Marc Abraham and Victoria Stilwell. The lives of the dogs have been turned around, from farm animals on death row to man’s best friend, and they will be flown to the UK, USA and Canada to find new homes.

A mother dog and her puppies caged at the dog meat farm in Yeoju, South Korea. Photo Credit: Jean Chung (For HSI)

The dogs were rescued from a dog meat farm in Gyeonggi-do province that is closing thanks to the wonderful work of Humane Society International (HSI). TV vet, animal welfare campaigner, and founder of PupAid Marc Abraham, and world-respected dog trainer and star of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog” and Channel 5’s “Dogs With Extraordinary Jobs”, Victoria Stilwell, flew out to South Korea with HSI. They found the poor dogs living in cramped wire-framed cages with no comforts or enrichment. The majority of the dogs were tosa and jindo breeds, but others included a chow-chow, a golden retriever, several terrier mixes and two Boston terriers.

The owner of the dog farm - 40-year old Kwon Tae-young - chose to give up the farm through HSI’s dog farm closure programme, to save his remaining dogs from the grim fate of fighting or slaughter. He said:

"One day I talked to a former dog farmer who had worked with HSI and he recommended I work with the charity to help me leave the dog meat industry. When I heard that HSI would help find forever homes for the dogs instead of them being euthanized, that's when I decided to do it. 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. That is why I’m working with HSI.”

Not many people in South Korea regularly eat dog meat, but it remains popular during 'Bok Nal' in July and August, when it is eaten as a soup called bosintang. As a result, an estimated 2 million dogs a year are reared on thousands of dog meat farms across the country, supplying live dogs to slaughterhouses and markets for human consumption. However, many dog meat farmers are happy to escape the controversial industry if they can secure an alternative income. HSI's program helps farmers to transition their businesses to more humane and profitable enterprises such as crop growing, or service trades like water delivery. This enables HSI's ground team to rescue the dogs safely from the farms and close the dog farm permanently. The dogs are then given all the necessary veterinary care before being quarantined prior to relocation for adoption.

Nara Kim, left, Campaign Manager of HSI Korea, and UK celebrities Marc Abraham and Victoria Stilwell rescue Morty from the dog meat farm in South Korea. Photo credit: Jean Chung (For HSI)

This is the 15th dog farm HSI has closed permanently, with each farmer signing a 20-year contract stipulating they must not breed dogs or any animals again. The cages are demolished to ensure that no animals will suffer on the property in future. The charity hopes its programme will demonstrate to the government that its phase-out model can be adopted nationwide with state support, and in collaboration with, rather than opposition from, the farmers.

To find out more, visit Humane Society International’s website. The rescued dogs from Kwon Tae-young's farm will soon be looking for their forever homes. For UK dog lovers, 7 of these dogs will soon be up for adoption through Chimney Farm Dog Rescue and details can be found on their website.

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