The South Korean 57 – Delivered From the Clutches of the Dog Meat Trade

By on March 20, 2015 with 26 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

This week, we turned around the fortunes of 57 dogs set to be butchered after a short, brutish life on a dog meat farm in South Korea, and shepherded them to the United States. They’ll be treated and cared for at the East Bay SPCA, Marin Humane Society, Sacramento SPCA, and San Francisco SPCA, before being adopted out to loving homes. Among the group were beagles, poodles, Korean Jindos and large Tosas who have spent their entire lives in small, filthy, crowded cages, waiting to be killed. As they arrived in San Francisco, tails wagged, barking resumed and many kisses were given. The smallest gesture of affection was met with unbridled enthusiasm. These lucky 57, including adorable pups like Elly in this video, should never lack again for any human kindness.

For our Humane Society International staff rescuers, who worked tirelessly to spare them a gruesome fate, this is the latest action in a campaign to rid South Korea of thousands of dog farms and end the practice of putting dogs on the butcher’s block. We intend to bring a relentless focus to this campaign.

South Korea is the only country in the world where dogs are raised for their meat, and HSI staff members have been reaching out to Korean dog meat farmers to assist in transitioning their farms to other pursuits, like crop growing, permanently. With the 2018 Winter Olympics scheduled for Pyeongchang, South Korea, and a growing distaste of the trade both within and outside the country, we see a good opportunity for focused attention on the dog meat trade. Our primary strategic goal is to get the South Korean government – a democratic government with a remarkable record of economic and social progress — on board with assisting farmers to make the change into alternative, more humane trades.

This is the second dog meat operation HSI has helped shut down. In January, we helped one dog meat farmer transition his full property into a blueberry farm and brought all 23 dogs from the farm into the United States. All of those dogs are now with new families or undergoing rehabilitation with HSI’s emergency partner shelters.

The 57 dogs rescued this time came from a larger property. The farmer agreed to permanently shut down his farm and change to agricultural crop growing. As part of the plan, all 57 dogs were relinquished to HSI to be rehomed in Korea and in the United States. This farmer has also agreed to act as a spokesperson against the dog meat trade, on the ground in Korea, and introduce HSI to other dog meat farmers interested in transitioning to other livelihoods.

HSI’s work to end the dog meat trade in other parts of the world also continues with equal determination. We joined the Asia Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA) nearly two years ago to combat the dog meat trade in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. The campaign has been successful and we managed to get in place a five-year ban on the cross-border trade of dogs for meat between all countries.

In China, HSI is guiding and supporting numerous local animal welfare organizations in addressing the dog meat trade there. Since August 2014, over 8,000 dogs have been rescued from large transport vehicles carrying hundreds of captured dogs in crowded cages to their deaths at various slaughterhouses in the country. HSI is also assisting with the language and submission of the first animal welfare law in China.

In South Korea, there is a tendency to keep only purebred dogs as pets and there is little interest in adopting “meat” dogs. We are focusing on a public awareness campaign to close the gap in perception between a “pet dog” and a “meat dog” – something that is already happening with the increase in the pet industry throughout Asia. We are hopeful that given the growing dislike of the dog meat trade in South Korea, and the uncovering of the cruelty and unsanitary nature of this industry, more and more Koreans will soon start to speak out for an end to this practice

We’ll be pushing for that kind of lasting change, and in the short run, working to save every dog we can.

Help HSI fight the dog meat trade »

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

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  1. Annoula Wylderich says:

    This is among the many campaigns about which I’m passionate. Thank you for focusing attention on this issue and putting forth the effort to help these poor creatures.

  2. Daniele Dolleans says:

    Bravo à vous tous. La Human Society fait un excellent travail.

  3. Laurella Desborough says:

    Will these rescued imported dogs and puppies be quarantined for a sufficient amount of time to monitor for diseases, tested for rabies and other transmissable dog diseases or unknown diseases in the country from which they were removed? If not, why not? Rabies and screwworm have already been introduced into the US recently from imported dogs from Puerto Rico, which then pose a threat to humans, domestic animals and our native wildlife. It seems to me that ANY imported rescued dogs or other animals should be quarantined appropriately and tested appropriately prior to being released to new owners. This is a serious health concern for our people and our animals.

    • Amy says:

      Valid concern but this is a tremendous victory and it’s too bad you’re focusing on self-interest instead of fully supporting the world culture shift that small victories like this can represent if given enough momentum. I fully agree with you – all animals should be tested and treated exactly like any other animal going through the animal shelter system. And Humane Society is well-versed in that. This is just my opinion but give praise where praise is due and a little credit that they are not forsaking animal health best practices. You skipped right over the celebrating the victory part. I’m kind of sick of discouraging, critical people who only want to gripe even in the most positive of news.

      • Jazz says:

        Amy, bravo for caring for these dogs. I agree that some people should be rejoicing that helpless dogs are being rescued. They will be properly screened, taken care of, and ultimately loved by kind people. I am also sickened that South Korea, which is such a sophisticated country would tolerate such cruelty. There are many Christians in South Korea, and why haven’t they taken up the cause. Dogs are dogs! What’s with the pet dog and meat dog and pure breed and mutt? Nothing! They all wag their tails, want humans, belly rubs, treats, and a hug. Thank God for those people who rescue these suffering creatures.

      • Tom Stephenson says:

        Hi Amy,

        Laurella may have given a warning that’s too late.

        Idexx labs April update

        A new strain of canine influenza has been identified as the cause of a respiratory outbreak affecting Chicago and surrounding areas. Initially assumed to be due to H3N8 canine influenza,
        it has now been confirmed to be due to the avian-origin H3N2 subtype. This strain was previously reported only in Asia, with outbreaks reported in China and South Korea around 2006 and has been isolated in dogs in Thailand. H3N2 influenza is highly contagious between dogs via aerosolization and results in significant morbidity, including cough, fever, inappetence, weight loss, interstitial pneumonia and rarely death. Cats can also be naturally infected and present with respiratory signs, although this is likely uncommon. Treatment is supportive only and may include fluids to maintain hydration, antibiotics in case of secondary bacterial infection and oxygen in severe cases. Current vaccines derived from the H3N8 strain may not be protective against the H3N2 strain, as those viruses are distinct genetically, and likely antigenically, from each other. Influenza should remain on the differential list for vaccinated dogs with respiratory signs.

      • Pamela Johns says:

        Well said Amy, I couldn’t have put it better myself. What tremendous work this charity does and I support them wholeheartedly in their compassion and on-going fight for these animals.

      • nilsa says:

        Well said on your response to laurel la post , I understand ur frustration n it’s also insulting that ppl think that the HSI would not take proper protocol with the animal. I commend the HSI for all the amazing rescues, I would like to also help out how would I go about getting information to help out in the dog meat trade 🙁 . I’m always signing petitions I want to do more…

      • Marion says:

        Laurella raises valid concerns. Laurella’s “self interest” as Amy puts it is in fact a very valid concern for the health and safety our people and domestic animals in the this country. There is a saying, “Charity begins at home” and it certainly applies here.

        The well intentioned efforts of HSI should NOT place our own pets and citizens in jeopardy and that appears to be exactly what is happening. The canine influenza H3N2 virus is spreading and had cost lives of some of our domestic pets and at this time, there is no protection from this virus. Cornell University has established a link to dogs imported from Korea and China for this virus.

        For the sake of our own health and welfare, a moratorium needs to be declared on the importation of dogs from third world countries until such time as safeguards and proper quarantines are in place to protect our own pets and population.

        Additionally, we should be taking care of those pets in need that we already have before we import more.

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      Hi, I am the editor of A Humane Nation, The dogs were checked by a veterinarian and monitored prior to traveling for 30 days, and once they were stateside they were again health checked by vets at the shelter where they arrived and quarantined at that shelter away from the other shelter animals with strict protocols for interacting with them.

  4. Jan Dykema says:

    If only pure breds are kept as pets why then are poodles and beagles being sent here?

  5. Alex says:

    Now, I’m not for animal cruelty, but how is farming dogs really all that different from farming pigs/hens/cows?

    • Sandor Fekecs says:

      You are not a dog owner, right?

    • Michelle says:

      I do agree with Alex’s point but I am a vegetarian. Sometimes, I don’t understand people eating cows, chicken, pigs etc… then I am amused and wondering how much you need to be hungry to eat dogs (it’s not that South Korean are hungry – South Korea is a pretty wealthy country). Some South Koreans would think that dogs are some kind of special medicine then I am wondering how ignorant would you be to think that dogs are some kind of special medicines? They are not ignorant – it’s all about the culture.

      I am also a Korean(-American). NOT all Koreans love dog-meat. Most Koreans do love dogs as their pets but as the article says, they prefer “pure” bread as “pet” dogs. Unfortunately, “some” mixed-bread dogs end up as meat and the Korean culture accepts it among “some” older people – again it’s “some” not “all” but eating any dogs is just purely wrong!

      I just want to rescue all those puppies from dog-meat market anywhere in the world if I am able to. I really thank whoever went to South Korea and rescued all those puppies and brought them to San Francisco Humane Society. God bless them all. Thank you and thank you again.

    • Jazz says:

      Alex. You raise an issue that tears at my heart. There are so many animals that are being essentially tortured. Beaks clipped off chickens. Some chickens suffer so much pain, that they starve, because it is too painful to eat. Millions of sheep are sheared too short and die from wounds, cold, pain. Cows are beaten. Pigs are beaten. Baby male chicks are ground up alive, because they will never lay eggs. I realize that animal protein is important, but let’s give these incredible creatures dignity and a life and death free of pain and stress. Meat animals need to have the same protection as beloved pets. Why are some workers so cruel to animals? How can peopke be so callous?

    • Lieutske Visser says:

      …Alex… it is THE WAY they get slaughtered for consumption……….

      FIRST those people take pleasure in BEATING the dog ALIVE while it’s leg are tight behind him/her and muscled whit a can on his/her snout, against biting.. all to make the meat ‘BETTER'(??????).. then they go in a de-hair machine ALIVE.. then.. (IF still alive) they get skinned ALIVE!!!!
      Or their fur gets burned off while they are ALIVE!!!!!!!
      Most decent farmed animals in Northern Europe are killed/slaughtered in a least stressful way.. since STRESS creates a hormone that makes the meat TASTE BAD!!!!!!

      That is WHY…. for 1

      2………. WE HUMANS made dogs TRUST US.. DEFEND US.. and HUNT FOR US!!!! We have NO RIGHT to DECEIVE our FRIEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Maggie says:

      Why do people alway want to bash a good cause? If you feel pigs and cows shouldn’t be slaughtered for food consumption GO FIGHT FOR THAT CAUSE! AND STOP BEING NEGATIVE TOWARD GREAT WORK BEING DONE ON THE FIGHT AGAINST THE DOG MEAT TRADE! ALL GREAT CAUSES NEED SUPPORT- and LESS NEGATIVE DISTRACTIONS

  6. Athena says:

    How would one go about adopting one?

  7. Heather Bates says:

    Please sign everyone x

  8. Jan says:

    Wonder if any are being transported to Southern California??? my pure bread Jindo died last May 2014 at the age of 16…by far the best and smartest dog I have ever owned..I miss him dearly and so does my girl Jindo mix.

  9. Julia says:

    After finding so many heartbreaking articles about the extreme cruelty involved in this evil trade, I find myself growing ever more despondent. That is why learning of the progress this charity is making and these victories mean so much to all those who care about the wefare of these unfortunate, innocent dogs.
    I have a fifteen year old golden retriever, who is the most loving, and smart, family member.
    Dogs are pets, not food!

  10. Gina Scrofano says:

    Truly amazing work by the Human Society. Keep your heads up and keep doing all you do. From the bottom of my heart I thank you.

  11. Teresa Stratton says:

    I feel a link between animal torture and cruel acts against hamans is clear when you see how it is acceptable to torture these dogs and an acceptance of their issues with sex trafficking and living conditions . there will be new generation approaching and we must help launch an attitude of kindness and humane nation for all living on this earth

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