Campaign to Spare Korean Dogs Comes Again to U.S. 

By on April 28, 2016 with 15 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

This week, 171 dogs raised for the butcher block in Wonju, South Korea, have received a stay of execution and have been flown into the United States. We worked with the farmer in February to permanently shut down his farm and rescue all 250 dogs on the property. So they’ve left their cages and squalor, and have now found their way to the United States. Here, they’ll go to shelters and rescues that are part of the HSUS Emergency Placement Partner program, and will be placed for adoption. A sharper turnaround in their fortunes would be hard to find.

That’s because these dogs are getting out just in time: in 11 weeks, South Korea will celebrate summer, with some segment of its people consuming large quantities of dog meat stew. It’s a time when farmers slaughter hundreds of thousands of dogs, and an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the entire year’s dog meat is eaten in just two months. Most of that consumption occurs at South Korea’s hundreds of dog meat restaurants.

The farm in Wonju is the fifth dog meat operation we have closed down in South Korea. In February and March, we flew in 79 dogs from the farm and many of them have already been placed in loving homes. In South Korea, not only were their futures bleak, but their lives on the farm were miserable too: they lived in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety in cold, raised, metal cages with no cover from bitingly cold temperatures that could drop below freezing. Many of the rescued animals were puppies. Underneath their cages, piles of feces had accumulated for months.

The dogs we have rescued so far belong to many different breeds: there are Jindo mixes, huskies, golden retrievers, mastiff mixes, and some small breeds, like beagles, Chihuahuas, and maltese mixes. In the United States, we have seen long lines at some of our partner shelters as people have greeted the dogs with great enthusiasm and open arms. Many people have ended up adopting local dogs as well, showing us that the attention that these dogs bring to shelters lifts all boats, boosting the chances of other homeless animals. At one of our Emergency Placement Partners, all of the dogs at the shelter, including the Korean rescues, were adopted out within two weeks.

Even more important, we expect that these rescued Korean dogs now leading happy lives in American homes will serve as ambassadors of hope for the hundreds of thousands of dogs living lives of terror in thousands of dog meat farms in South Korea. Right now, says Humane Society International’s Kelly O’Meara, when people in Korea adopt dogs, they are usually small in size and obtained  from breeders. There are no real options to adopt out the meat farm dogs in Korea. “There is a misconception about what kinds of dogs are on the dog farms,” says Kelly. “By bringing these dogs here to the United States, we’ve been able to share their adoption stories and show the Korean public that they are no different from other dogs whom people share their homes with in Korea.”

We are also working to convince the South Korean government to make a commitment to phasing out dog farming and banning dog eating, as the eyes of the world turn to the Winter Olympics coming up in Pyeongchang in 2018. The global focus on South Korea gives us an opportunity to persuade the country’s leadership to rid this boil of an industry from its landscape.

Meanwhile, we’re shepherding 120 of the new arrivals to a temporary emergency shelter set up in partnership with St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. The remaining dogs will be transported nationwide to Emergency Placement Partner shelters, as well as to foster families in Ottawa, Canada.

It’s an emotional, crushing industry to contemplate. But we’re starting the process of unwinding it, and the second chance given to these innocent creatures is a cause for celebration.

Help HSI end the dog meat trade »

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to This Post

  1. Hundreds of dogs saved from slaughter in China – A Humane Change | July 27, 2016
  1. Doris Muller says:

    I know that all those who read about the atrocities committed against dogs, rightfully, feel anguish and anger. Yet, these same humans don’t make the connection to their own indoctrination’s, traditions, and food addictions that support the atrocities to and slaughter of millions of cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, fishes, etc.

    • Jayne Fawcett says:

      Some of us actually do. Im a vegan and sign every petition I come accross to try and protect and help animals. Factory farming in our country was what woke me up to the horrors and miserable lives animals suffer. I dont eat, wear or patronize establishments who use animals for human entertainment including zoos, circuses, sea world..I try to boycott products from China and south korea because of the dog farms. I want to live in a world that is kind and compassionate to all sentient beings. I am encouraged by all the devoted and dedicated individuals who are out in the trenches everyday saving as many animals as they possibly can! I must admit I get depressed at the cruelty of the human animals and cry my eyes out at times. It makes me realize just how strong and courageous these animal loving beings truly are and how very appreciative I am of their emotionally taxing and painfully devastating things they witness and continue to fight hard for them. Thankyou everyday from the bottom of my heart for making this world a less painful and better place for animals! It is people like you who make this world less painful for people like me..?hugs..

  2. Diana says:

    They also slaughter cats for the meat festivals. Please don’t forget them. Their lives matter too

  3. Sharon kunkle says:

    Please spare the Korean dogs from these barbaric acts.

    • Jessica Woods says:

      To those who think these people are inane and horrific. Think about what you ate today. Beef? Chicken? Bacon?
      Cows, chickens, pigs and other animals are facing the same defects as these dogs but how come there are hardly no articles about them? They are exactly the same as dogs and should be sympathized even more because at least dogs are considered pets. cows and pigs are born to be eaten. How come when everyone sees pictures of these dogs, they are all like “We must rescue them. This is inhuman” and when cow are mentioned its all good.

      • Jayne Fawcett says:

        That is true. And do you know that a cow can recognize your face and remember you for 7 years after they meet you? Yep once you make a cow friend, she is your friend for 7 years..

  4. Joy Smith says:

    FieldHaven Feline Center in California has the only cat that was rescued from that farm. Learn more about him at

  5. Lynette Brimble says:

    I agree with Doris. We Americans have a lot of work to do ourselves. We need to take a strong look at the horrible conditions that factory farming brings to the lives of farm animals and demand better. Those who are willing should become vegan to protest these conditions and also help the planet avoid the destruction caused by this industry. We need to end animal experimentation. We need to focus on spay and neuter as so many poor cats and dogs die needlessly because Americans do not take care advantage of low-cost spay and neuter services that are available in many places. We have many animal issues to address right here. While I agree that the dog meat trade is horrible, I also believe we need to look at our own behavior and do something about it.

  6. Lena says:

    There is a lot of work, needless suffering to do at home, I agree. However we are about to, along with the rest of the world pour $$ into the 2018 olympics being held in south Korea. Now is the time to address this. The idea that torturing the dogs so that the animals have an adrenaline rush at the time of slaughter has no place in a country whom wants trading privileges, and respect.
    For myself, I am going to put what energy I have here because it is breathing the most gravity into my heart, my heart is heavy.

    • Jayne Fawcett says:

      I agree. We cannot become “sister cities” as so many mayors in the U S have aligned themselves with these cities and promote tourism and other money making industries. The asian people do openly and publicly torture the dogs and cats. We torture and abuse animals in factory farms and hide it..even pass laws to protect the abusers and the industry. Animal abuse is sickening everywhere. One thing people can do is boycott products from south korea and china. Hundai, samsung, daewoo, LG all come from south korea. You can sign petitions and tell them you are boycotting their products. Its much harder with China since we are inundated with their goods.I wish there was more we could for all animals but yes these dog and cat farms are sickening and deplorable and vile..

  7. Susanne Strimling says:

    Although it is true that in American we have a long way to go in terms of animal rights and protection, yet this is still wonderful to read about, the saving of lives of these dogs in Korea.

  8. Sharon Zimmer says:

    I was honored to be on the HSUS ARV Team to assist with the rescue of some of these dogs at St Huberts in NJ. They were scared and afraid but you could see that they so wanted to be loved and were learning to trust. They reminded me of a quote from the book “The Lost Dogs”. – “dog’s waiting to happen” Thank you to HSUS and HSI for this incredible rescue!

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.