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Horror discovery of over 70 dogs at meat farm shows people haven't stopped eating puppers despite pandemic

This was reportedly the 16th meat farm closed by Humane Society International since 2015
(Jean Chung/HSI)
(Jean Chung/HSI)

More than 70 dogs and puppies were rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea on Thursday, May 7, by an animal welfare group, Humane Society International, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. This was reportedly the 16th meat farm closed by the organization since its campaign was initiated in 2015.

The president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, Kitty Block, commented on the farm's closure, saying that they had faced some issues because of the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions. However, they succeeded in rescuing the canines, who will be eventually flown to temporary shelters in Canada and the United States before they find permanent homes.

Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Saturday, February 8, 2020 (Jean Chung, HSI)

"With the rescue happening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we have faced some delays, but our staff on the ground in Korea is working hard to make sure the dogs don’t have to suffer for another day," Block said. "The dogs will be moved to a boarding facility, where they will receive full veterinary check-ups and be given everything they need to be comfortable for the first time in their lives. The dogs will be cared for in South Korea until the pandemic calms globally and they can be flown to our temporary shelter in Canada and shelter partners in the United States to seek adoptive homes."

The animal cruelty charity reportedly also assisted the farmer overseeing the dog meat farm in starting a new life by growing cabbages and vegetables instead. The farmer, identified as Nakseon Kim, had been breeding dogs for slaughter for nearly 40 years. However, when he was given a chance to leave the industry behind, he jumped at the chance.

Nara Kim, Campaign Manager of HSI Korea, holds a puppy at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 (Jean Ching, HSI)

"It may sound odd but I started dog farming because I like dogs," Kim said. "I've never actually been a big fan of dog meat myself. I had a few dogs so I began breeding them and when I had 20 or 30 I started to sell them because I thought it would be good money but it hasn’t really worked out that way. I earn nothing from this dog farm, and pressure from the government is increasing and it's not a good business at all.”

A series of new regulations and court rulings in South Korea have cracked down on the dog meat industry over recent years amid increasing opposition to its consumption. 

Kim, on his property in Hongseong reportedly breeds tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers for two kind of industries:  the meat rade and the puppy mill trade.

The HSI Animal Rescue Team rescues a dog at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 (Jean Chung, HSI)

Dog meat campaigner HSI's Nara Kim, in a statement, said: "Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses."

Consumption of dog meat has witnessed a steady decline in South Korea, and the industry is banned or severely restricted in countries like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. Indonesia and Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi, in 2018, had vowed to end the dog meat trade while Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai banned dog and cat meat consumption last month.