Humane Society International closes another dog meat farm in South Korea (our seventh)

By on March 23, 2017 with 11 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

“When I first entered the darkness, the overpowering stench of feces and urine made me retch,” said Adam Parascandola of Humane Society International. “The ammonia burned the back of my throat. We could hear the cacophony of desperate barking but we couldn’t see their faces, just their eyes peering out.”

Some of the dogs cowered as their rescuers approached. Others tried to hide. Loving human contact was an alien concept to them.

In a dog meat farm just 10 miles north of the capital city Seoul — in an indoor, labyrinthine maze of barren metal cages — were 55 dogs, including five puppies, living without any access to daylight or fresh air. The animals lived in pure darkness, and drew their breath from air that was fetid and overpowering. There were miniature pinscher mixes, Jindo mixes, a Great Pyrenees/Golden Retriever mix, a German short-haired Pointer, Shih Tzus, and a little Corgi/Chihuahua mix. A Maltese mix caged in isolation wore a very tight electric shock collar that was so tightly fitted, it was starting to dig into his flesh.

But this is a story with a happy ending: This weekend, we’re flying all 55 dogs to the United States. Once they arrive, they will be placed with our partner shelters and put up for adoption into forever homes. Never again will they know the kind of misery that haunted them since they came into this world.

Over the past two years our HSI team has been working in South Korea, closing down half a dozen dog meat farms and bringing the animals back to the United States or to Canada and the United Kingdom for adoption – to save lives and also to draw attention to this dark, dirty industry. They have seen it all: starving, thirsty dogs with no human or medical attention, locked up in tiny crates or cages, before they meet their final, gory end. But the extent of the cruelty our team encountered this time, during their seventh dog meat farm closure, was particularly jarring to them.

A Maltese mix caged in isolation wore a very tight electric shock collar that was so deeply embedded in his matted hair, it would have soon begun to dig into his flesh.

A Maltese mix caged in isolation wore a very tight electric shock collar that was so deeply embedded in his matted hair, it would have soon begun to dig into his flesh. Photo by Jean Chung/For HSI

During previous dog farm closures we conducted, HSI worked with farmers on a business plan to transition them to humane livelihoods such as chili or blueberry farming. But the couple who owned this farm, both in their 80s, were finding it increasingly hard to sell the dogs and they were failing miserably in their animal care duties. This couple also wanted to retire, and ironically, they wanted to leave the animals in kind hands.

Appetites in South Korea are changing, and younger generations are turning away from dog meat. HSI has also been working in Korea to encourage adoptions from dog meat farms and dispel misconceptions that dogs raised for meat are somehow different from companion dogs.

With the closure of this farm, HSI has now rescued 825 dogs in its campaign to end the dog meat trade across Asia. But there is a long road ahead, and HSI cannot do it alone: South Korea has an estimated 17,000 dog meat farms, and more than 2.5 million dogs are killed there each year for human consumption. With these farm closures, we are designing a blueprint for change, allowing the South Korean government to begin in earnest the immense task of closing out thousands of farms and helping the operators transition to more humane businesses.

With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming to Pyeongchang in South Korea in just under a year, the time has never been better for the country to turn global attention away from this kind of unsavory and unpleasant cruelty, focusing it instead on a great sporting event in a country that its leaders want the world to admire. If South Korea doesn’t address this problem, and fast, it will be a stigma on the reputation of this fast-growing and important nation, and that’s a perception that will be hard to unwind once the cameras and the world’s attention focus elsewhere.

Help HSI fight the dog meat trade >>

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

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  1. Kurt Gasbarra says:

    So sad that HomoSapien is not evolving in this Issue!

  2. Debra Grossman says:

    I can’t thank you enough. Keep closing them down!

  3. Annoula Wylderich says:

    This disgusting industry is among the most callous I have ever come across. These animals are forced to endure such miserable conditions only to be brutalized in the end. They live lives of fear, deprivation and suffering and their deaths are unspeakably violent, yet the only release they had. . .until Humane Society International came to their assistance, along with partner groups. So good to finally see happier outcomes for these poor creatures. Keep up the great work!

  4. Heather Levy says:

    Can’t thank you enough – – G-D Bless all of you and the pups! This is impossible to believe – what humans can do this – send them to hell please – there is no forgiveness here. Wayne – you and your team are loved and appreciated by all of us that can’t have hands on and can only read about the nightmare!

  5. Jill Lueb says:

    I think it’s wonderful the HSUS is liberating dogs from this inhumane practice in South Korea and other parts of Asia. However, while they are focusing their efforts overseas there are thousands of dogs suffering in the US in shelters down South, where they have minimal resources. Dogs with grevious injuries are left to suffer in the shelter with little to no medical care, and end up dying or are euthanized. I really wish stories like this were secondary to the HSUS taking over and completely redoing the shelter system in the South, especially in rural areas, including low cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics. Let’s take care of our own dog problem before we liberate the rest of the world.

    • Ann says:

      Jill, dogs are not tortured here n the USA. Yes we need to help here too but China and Korea are the most brutal. Watch a video of a dog being skinned alive- it is sadistic! It needs to stop.

  6. Edyth Jackson says:

    Divine Intervention and thank you for being their for the dogs.
    Keep up the pressure

  7. carol stott says:

    Thank you HSI for saving these wonderful animals. I love to see these kind of positive videos. Please keep showing them. We need all to remember that any donation given will help these animals who have nothing in life but the will to live and be loved. Many get neither.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Im so enraged! They deserve to have the same done back to them, so they can experience what the dog is feeling and enduring…eat your rice you sick MF’S not pets

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