International animal rights activists rescued 10 canines from a dog farm in Wonju on Tuesday as part of its campaign to end the dog meat trade in South Korea.
Ten dogs were rescued from a farm where 200 of them were being raised for human consumption, to start new lives as pets under the organisation’s campaign.
As airline flights can only carry a limited number of dogs per day, it will take a couple of weeks for HSI to rescue all 200 of the dogs from the farm.
“As soon as they’re ready for adoption, we find that there are line-ups of people – literally people would line up at shelters – in the U.S. to adopt these dogs because people are so engaged by their sad and compelling stories,” said Andrew Plumbly, campaign manager for the Humane Society International (HSI).
The farm 87 km from the South Korean capital is the sixth that HSI has helped close down in the country since 2015 and follows six-months of negotiation, medical examinations and vaccinations.
Hygiene there is “non-existent”, Plumbly added, with faeces and urine collecting beneath cages where dogs are exposed to cold and hot weather and fed once a day, according to HSI.
“In South Korea, is really the only place where I’ve seen this sort of farms where dogs are kept on farms. I’ve done work in China and in China it’s a lot of rounding up of stray dogs or stealing people’s pet dogs, is really what feeds the industry and it’s very similar in Vietnam,” said, Adam Parascandola, Director of Animal Protection and Crisis Response of HSI.
The owner of the farm, who has been in the business for 30 years and declined to be identified, cited declining health as a reason for getting out of the business.
Consumption of dog meat is on the decline in South Korea, where it is mainly eaten by older people and dogs are increasingly popular as pets. Still, HSI estimates there are 17,000 dogmeat farms in South Korea, and dog meat is especially popular during summer.
The Humane Society hopes the government moves to ban the breeding of dogs for meat ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in the country.
Recently, the mayor of the city of Seongnam, Lee Jae-myung, who is running for president, ordered the shut-down of the large dog meat section of a public market in the city, where seafood will be sold instead.