Olympian Gus Kenworthy managed to convince a South Korean dog farmer to shut down his farm, rescuing the farm’s dogs from a grisly fate.
Mr Kenworthy, a freestyle skier who’s competing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, has used the games to spotlight the inhumane treatment of dogs in South Korea.
Gus worked with the Humane Society International, to convince the farmer to shut down his farm, freeing 90 dogs and taking them to the US and Canada.
Well, almost all the dogs. Gus kept one for himself, a puppy he named Beemo.
In an Instagram post he wrote:
It’s not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty.
This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don't personally agree with it, I do agree that it's not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty. I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in "good conditions" by comparison to other farms. The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes. Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade. Luckily, this particular farm (thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who's seen the error of his ways) is being permanently shut down and all 90 of the dogs here will be brought to the US and Canada where they'll find their fur-ever homes. I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible! There are still millions of dogs here in need of help though (like the Great Pyrenees in the 2nd pic who was truly the sweetest dog ever). I'm hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes! Go to @hsiglobal's page to see how you can help. #dogsarefriendsnotfood #adoptdontshop ❤️🐶
Kenworthy has something of a reputation for rescuing dogs while competing at the Olympics. In 2014, while competing at the Sochi games in Russia he saved five strays who were roaming the city.
Eating dog meat, known locally as Gaegogi, has a long tradition in Korea where it’s used in recipes designed to restore virility. The practice, however, remains controversial due to sanitary and animal rights concerns.
While South Korea adopted its first Animal Protection Law in May, 1991, it never prohibited the slaughter of dogs for their meat, simply banning the killing of animals in brutal ways.
Despite this, unlike beef, pork or chicken, dog meat is excluded from the list of livestock under the Livestock Processing Act of 1962.
This means that there are no regulations when it comes to slaughtering dogs for meat and this leads to them being killed in numerous cruel ways, including electrocution, strangulation and some are even allegedly beaten to death.
Proponents of Gaegogi believe that the meat should be regulated like any other to ensure that the meat is prepared in humane and sanitary ways.
Others, however, believe the practice should be banned entirely.
Thankfully the practice seems to be dying out in South Korea. A 2007 survey by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture revealed that 59 percent of Koreans under 30 would not eat dog.