An animal rights charity has rescued hundreds of dogs and puppies from a meat farm in South Korea.
The farm in Hongseong, western South Korea, had been active for the past eight years breeding dogs to be sold for meat, as well as dogs sold as pets. All the animals, both adult dogs and puppies, were kept in small, rusty cages.
Activists from the Humane Society International (HSI) have today, February 13, removed around 200 chihuahuas, corgis, huskies, poodles, Pomeranians, Yorkshire terriers, Shih Tzus and French bulldogs from the site.
According to reports from the farm, puppies were living in cages with no proper flooring, a few heat lamps plus disused car tyres for warmth. While dogs that were going to be sold to restaurants for meat were kept outside in the cold.
Many of the dogs had untreated injuries, or even deformities to their paws and legs, as a result of the cramped, squalid conditions they were living in. Other dogs were emaciated and starving, many with matted fur, and some were left without water.
As the farm bred dogs for meat and dogs to sell as pets, any puppies that didn’t get sold as pets would be taken to the slaughterhouse and sold as meat.
Nara Kim, of HSI South Korea, said via MailOnline:
The lines between puppy mills and dog meat farms are routinely blurred throughout South Korea, and with our latest dog farm closure we are exposing the shocking reality of that.
These dogs are suffering at the hands of two abusive industries, their ultimate fate depending on whether they will sell for more money as a pet or for meat.
They all start life in this depressing, squalid place, with the lucky few ending up being a loved companion whilst their cage mates are served at a restaurant, or enter a chain of auctions where they are sold on to the next farmer to produce litter after litter of puppies.
UPDATE: Our Animal Rescue Team landed safely in South Korea & are at the dog meat & puppy mill farm today preparing to remove nearly 200 dogs!
— Humane Society Int'l (@HSIGlobal) February 11, 2019
After weeks of negotiations with the farmer, HSI activists were able to close the farm, with a contract being agreed that the farmer cannot return to the dog meat trade for the next 20 years.
The farmer, Lee Sang-gu, had been keen to close the farm as the dog trade had become increasingly unprofitable, while his family were also ashamed of his profession.
The dogs rescued from the site in Hongseong will now be taken to the US and Canada, where they will be put up for adoption by HSI.
To support the work of HSI, you can find out more here.
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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.