WATCH: 57 canines rescued from Korean ‘dog meat’ farm had never been out of a cage

WATCH ABOVE: A sad story with  a happy ending. Crews rescued more than a dozen dogs who were set to become someone’s dinner. Andria Borba reports.

TORONTO – A large group of canines rescued from a South Korean ‘dog meat’ farm had never been outside of their cages until arriving in San Francisco Thursday.

Fifty-seven dogs were part of an international rescue operation led by Humane Society International (HSI) along with Emergency Placement Partners East Bay SPCA, Marin Humane Society and Sacramento SPCA.

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HSI claimed that the dogs had spent their entire lifetime in small, crowded and filthy cages for the sole purpose of being harvested for meat.

“As soon as we opened their cage doors and they realized we weren’t going to harm them, they wagged their tails and licked our faces,” Webber added. “I felt very privileged to give these dogs the first ever cuddle and kiss of their lives.”

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WATCH ABOVE: A humane society YouTube video captures the entire rescue process.

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HSI has been raiding trucks headed for slaughter and working with Korean farmers in an effort to eradicate the South Korean dog meat trade.

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In this particular case, farmer Tae Hyung Lee had farmed dogs for two decades. HSI said that he’s part of a massive industry that sees “upwards of two million dogs consumed” annually in South Korea.

Part of the problem lies with dog adoption in the Asian nation – something that HSI said is limited to small, purebred canines.

Recent pressure from family members convinced Lee to cooperate with HSI and transition to agriculture instead.

“I think a lot of people want to get out of the dog meat trade, ‘cause [sic] people don’t like dog meat like in the past,” Lee said.

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“We are so thrilled for these dogs to be off the farm and closer to living in their loving forever homes they so desperately deserve.”

The dogs have been split up into groups and distributed to nearby SPCAs. Their final step to freedom and a loving home will be taken the day they are adopted by an owner.

HSI’s director of animal protection and crisis response, Adam Parascandola, is relieved all 57 dogs have a bright future but said there is still much more work to do.

“These lucky dogs will live the rest of their lives as valued and treasured members of a forever family in the United States,” Parascandola said in a release.

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“But millions more dogs back in South Korea will die for dog meat, so our work will continue, to shut down more farms and call for an end to this cruel trade,” he added. “With the Winter Olympics coming to Seoul in 2018, we have a clear opportunity to end the dog meat trade as the world focuses on South Korea.”

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