TV vet and campaigner Marc Abraham has joined forces with world-famous dog trainer Victoria Stilwell in a Human Society International (HSI) rescue operation in Korea, to save meat farm dogs. During their trip, Victoria and Marc also joined the HSI team as special guests of the British Ambassador Simon Smith.

The dogs rescued were living on a dog meat farm in Gyeonggi-do province, which is closing thanks to HSI’s pioneering programme to help dog farmers who want to leave the increasingly controversial industry set up more humane and profitable livelihoods. This is the fifteenth dog farm HSI has permanently closed, out of thousands supplying live dogs to slaughterhouses and markets for human consumption. However, the business is increasingly unprofitable, as fewer and fewer people in the country consume dog meat.

Victoria Stilwell said, “It’s been a real privilege to join Humane Society International’s team in South Korea and see their dog meat farm closure program for myself. I’ve seen all breeds of dogs here suffering the same, kept in filthy cages with no environmental enrichment whatsoever. It’s little wonder that they seem so desperate to escape. The agreement that HSI reaches with the dog farmer truly is a lifeline for these dogs.”

Victoria Stilwell and Marc Abraham walk down the row of cages as they cuddle tosa puppies at a dog meat farm in Yeoju, South Korea, on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

Marc Abraham, who campaigned successfully to introduce Lucy’s Law in the UK, said, “I’m really in awe of the resilience of these beautiful dogs. They endure miserable lives in squalid conditions with just the bare minimum to keep them alive, and no veterinary care whatsoever, and yet so many of them still wag their tails and jump with excitement when shown the slightest bit of affection. Any factory farm for dogs is a hellish place, be that for the pet trade or the meat trade, and HSI’s program is making a massive difference here to pave the way to end this cruel industry for good.”

Winston the Boston Terrier, Labrador mixes Pumpkin and Oscar, spaniel mix Maisy, terrier Scooby, and Jindo mixes Bella and Molly were among the more than 90 dogs destined to be sold to the butcher before the dog farmer – 40-year old Kwon Tae-young – had a change of heart and asked to join HSI’s dog farm closure programme. Seven of the rescued dogs will fly to the UK, where they will begin their search for loving homes.

Maisy, second cage from left, and other dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Yeoju, South Korea, on Sunday, August 11, 2019.

Ex-farmer Kwon Tae-young said he was happy the dogs would go on to have happy lives. 

“I’ve thought about closing my dog farm for a while now for various reasons, but never actually did anything about it,” 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 euthanased, 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.”

Kelly OMeara, Senior Director of HSI Companion Animals and Engagement, holds a puppy at a dog meat farm in Yeoju, South Korea, on Sunday, August 11, 2019.

HSI stated, “Dog meat consumption is declining rapidly in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, with a survey by Gallup Korea in June 2018 showing that 70 percent of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. A series of recent moves by authorities to curb the dog meat trade reflects how Korean society is increasingly ill at ease with the industry.

“In November last year, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong, the largest dog slaughterhouse in the country, and in July this year HSI/Korea worked with fellow Korean animal groups and Busan city council to close down Gupo dog meat market.”

Images by HSI.

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