How is eating dog meat any different from eating cows, chickens, or other animals? Isn't this just a cultural thing?
HSI campaigns globally to address the cruelty related to the use of all animals for food and the suffering of dogs for the meat trade in Asia is just another among this wider campaign. We don't believe that animal cruelty can ever be excused as culture, and indeed in South Korea most people do not regularly eat dog. There is a growing and vocal local Korean opposition to the dog meat trade, and HSI is proud to work alongside our Korean partners to support their work. Our dog meat campaigns emphasize culturally sensitive solutions to animal welfare concerns.
What happens to the dog meat farmer/farm; are they just going to open another farm?
When we reach an agreement with the farmer, the farm is shut down permanently and the cages are destroyed. We sign a legally-binding contract with the farmer to ensure they will never return to farming dogs or any other animals. We develop a business plan with them to help them transition to a humane livelihood. HSI has shut down 12 dog meat farms in South Korea, so far.
How can I adopt one of the dogs?
The dogs we rescue from South Korea are transported to Emergency Placement Partner (EPP) shelters in the U.S., UK, and Canada—who then facilitate the adoptions. Once this closure has been confirmed, updates will be available here.
Why do you transport the dogs overseas instead of adopting them out locally in South Korea?
Unfortunately, animal adoption isn’t common in South Korea. There are very few shelters, most of which are already overcrowded. In addition, there is a misconception among Koreans that “meat dogs” found on farms are somehow different from “pet dogs”. HSI is slowly changing this perspective by showcasing the countless adoptions of former meat dogs into loving families in the UK, US, and Canada.
Other than farm closures, what else is HSI doing to end the dog meat trade?
We have a full and active campaign to end the dog meat trade across Asia that sees us work primarily in South Korea, China, Indonesia, and India. We work closely with local governments, animal welfare organizations, media and celebrities to increase public awareness about key issues such as animal cruelty and threats to human health from the trade.
With our partners in the Asia Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA), we have helped implement a 5-year ban on the cross border trade of dogs for meat between Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia. Within Indonesia, we partnered with other groups to form the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition through which we have exposed the horrific cruelty of the trade including at live animal markets in North Sulawesi.
In China, HSI is guiding and supporting numerous local animal welfare organizations in addressing the dog meat trade within their own country. Since August 2014, our partner groups have assisted the rescue of more than 7,000 dogs across China from large transport vehicles carrying hundreds of captured dogs in crowded cages to their deaths at slaughterhouses.
In South Korea, our work is helping bring animal welfare groups and politicians together for the first time to discuss a viable solution to ending dog meat consumption-a topic so taboo that a meeting like this would have been impossible only a few short years ago. In addition to saving the animals, the dog meat farm closures expose the truth behind the trade, and dispel a strong misconception in South Korea that there is a difference between a "pet dog" and a "meat dog". All breeds are found on the farms and every one of them suffer the same and have the same capacity to be a loving, family companion when given the opportunity. Our farm closure models directly display a program that can be adopted by the Korean government to put an end to the trade for good. We're optimistic that we can shut down this industry in South Korea and beyond within the next 10 years.
Why can't the person taking the pictures rescue the dogs / why does it take so long?
The farmers allow our team to take photos of the dogs on the farm as part our efforts to raise enough funds to shut down the farm, and they also allow us access at the same time to provide vaccinations required for the dogs' travel. Shutting down the farm and bringing the dogs to safety in compliance with local and international law is a huge undertaking that requires heavy funding, planning, and coordination. Once identified, we assist the farmer with making improvements to the dogs’ living conditions. We perform random inspections to make sure the dogs are safe, fed, and injuries and illnesses are being treated until we’ve established a concrete plan to transport the dogs to our Emergency Placement Partner shelters. Details from our farm closure which took place in March are available here.
Can I volunteer on the farm / other than making a donation, how can I help?
Although we always appreciate the offer, we have a well trained and experienced animal rescue team that specializes in the handling methods for dogs from these farms and similar situations, and for this reason we’re unable to accept the generous offers of volunteers to help with the South Korea rescues.
However, if you live in Montreal, Canada we do have a need for volunteers at the temporary shelter facility. Please visit hsicanada.ca/savedogs (English) or hsicanada.ca/chiens (French) to learn more.
If you are unable to donate at this time, please know how important and appreciated your advocacy is to our organization. Please like our page, continue to sign our petitions, and share our posts on social media to participate in our collective effort to achieve change for animals.
As far as general ways to help, that anybody, in any location can do, please see our web page: 25 Actions to Help Animals and HSI