13 of nearly 200 dogs rescued from dog meat farm in South Korea headed to southeast Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE -- Thirteen of nearly 200 dogs and puppies rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea will be cared for at shelters in the Milwaukee area as they wait to be placed in forever homes.

A news release from Humane Society International officials said more than 90 of the dogs would arrive in Chicago on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and 13 of them would be placed at Elmbrook Humane Society in Brookfield, the Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha and the Washington County Humane Society in Slinger.

Humane Society International officials said they closed down a breeding facility in Hongseong, the 14th South Korean dog meat farm to be shut down since January of 2015. Nearly 200 chihuahuas, corgis, huskies, jindos, Yorkshire terriers, poodles, Pomeranians, shih tzus and French bulldogs were rescued.

In addition to the three shelters in Wisconsin, Humane Society partners in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota were preparing to take in some of these dogs. Officials said a few would be transported to California, Maryland, New York and Virginia.

Humane Society officials noted this was the first case where they discovered a facility where dogs are bred for the pet trade alongside dogs destined for the meat trade. They noted dog meat traders peddle the idea that dogs bred for meat are different from pet dogs. They said the closure demonstrates that animals destined for both trades are often bred alongside each other in exactly the same pitiful conditions, and any dogs unable to be sold as pets could also end up at the slaughterhouse.

“The lines between puppy mills and dog meat farms are routinely blurred throughout South Korea. 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. No matter where the dogs go, the conditions at this farm are horrifying. It is an immense relief to be able to rescue them and find them new homes. For them the nightmare is over, and we hope that by exposing their suffering we can hasten the end of the entire industry for good," said Nara Kim, Humane Society International/Korea's dog meat campaigner.

HSI works in partnership with dog farmers to rescue their dogs and transition their businesses to alternative, humane and more profitable enterprises, such as crop growing or service trades.

According to the news release, when closing down a farm, HSI requires the farmer to sign a contract promising to stay out of the dog meat and any other animal-related industry, and the organization follows up regularly to ensure compliance among all past farmers.

Below is some background information on the South Korean dog meat industry, shared by Humane Society International officials in the release:

  • More than 2.5 million dogs a year are reared on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining rapidly in South Korea, particularly among younger generations. Most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, However, it remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August, when it is eaten as a soup called bosintang. A June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea showed that 70 percent of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future.
  • Dogs are mainly killed by electrocution, taking up to five minutes to die. Hanging is also practiced.
  • At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2, or dog flu, virus at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP, and corona virus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper, parvo and coronavirus. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a temporary shelter with no dogs permitted in or out for at least 30 days prior to transport overseas.
  • The dog meat industry is in legal limbo in South Korea, neither legal nor illegal. Many provisions of the Animal Protection Act are routinely breached, such as the ban on killing animals in a brutal way including hanging by the neck, and on killing them in public areas or in front of other animals of the same species.
  • A series of recent moves by authorities to curb the dog meat trade reflects how Korean society is increasingly ill at ease with the industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong, the largest dog slaughterhouse in the country, which is to be replaced with a community park.
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