Simon Cowell has donated £25,000 to help shut down a dog meat farm in South Korea.
The X Factor boss has given the money to the Humane Society International, which is aiming to rescue more than 200 dogs and puppies bred for consumption at meat farms.
So far, Human Society International (HSI) has shut down 12 dog meat farms for good, and saved around 1,400 animals.
The charity helps farmers who wish to leave the dog meat trade industry, assisting them in changing to alternative farming methods, such as growing and selling vegetables.
HSI‘s UK executive director, Claire Bass, said:
Simon’s generous donation means the world to us, and provides a huge boost to our appeal to close this horrendous dog meat farm. More than 200 dogs are languishing in the most appalling conditions, but we have a real chance to save them.
With every dog farm we close and every farmer we help switch to a more profitable, humane business, we’re showing the South Korean government that it’s possible to end this cruel trade. These poor dogs have had the worst lives so far, so we’re desperate to get them out of those dreadful cages and show them love, soft beds and loving arms for the first time in their lives.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain about the dog meat trade, Simon said:
It’s like eating your friend. Ironically, some of those people who are eating dogs, if those dogs were their pet, that dog would be protecting that person’s life, that’s the irony.
The joy, the love they bring into your life, what they do for you, you can’t put it into words.
There are an estimated 17,000 dog meat farms in South Korea. Speaking of the farms and the meat trade, Simon added:
It is a strength, in my opinion, to say we’re not going to do it. If they all could come together now, maybe through social media, maybe through a different generation who just say no, enough people will listen. That’s what happens in the world today.
According to HSI, eating dog meat is quickly declining in popularity, particularly in South Korea among younger consumers.
Despite this, an estimated 2.5 million dogs are still bred each year for human consumption.
In South Korea, the dog meat industry is in legal limbo as the country works to change the laws surrounding the practice. Earlier this year, a South Korean court ruled that killing dogs for meat is illegal, a move that could pave the way to outlawing eating canines altogether, according to animal rights activists.
The new law would limit the slaughter of animals for food to species that are classed as livestock, which does not include canines.
However, according to HSI, many provisions of the Animal Protection Act are routinely breached by farmers.
South Korea is not the only country facing the problem, as dog meat is widely consumed throughout parts of Asia. It’s estimated in China alone, 10 million dogs are slaughtered for the dog meat trade each year.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.