For centuries, dogs have been man’s best friend and most loyal companion. However, in some parts of the world, dogs have been viewed as a source of food. Today, there are still millions of innocent dogs that are neglected, abused, and slaughtered as part of the dog-meat trade.
In order to save those dogs, animal rights activists and volunteers work around the clock. With limited funds, however, it’s impossible to save every innocent dog. Recently, however, a reality TV judge went above and beyond to help save as many dogs as possible.
For thousands of years, dog meat has been a staple in traditional dishes in South Korea and other countries across Asia. In recent years, however, attitudes over dogs and killing them for their meat have slowly changed. As a result, fewer people regularly eat dog meat.
While dog meat isn’t as popular as it was in the past, there is still a demand for those traditional dishes. That demand typically spikes around annual dog eating festivals like the Yulin festival in China and the BokNal festival in South Korea. Both of which are held in the summer months.
Each year, more than 2.5 million dogs are raised on meat farms across South Korea so that they can one day be slaughtered and eaten. Today, South Korea is the only country known to farm dogs for food. However, other countries across Asia have also continued what many consider a barbaric practice.
Street Dogs and Pets
In China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Cambodia, and some other Asian countries, about 30 million dogs are killed an eaten each year. In those countries, however, the dogs aren’t raised and killed in farms. The dogs killed for their meat are typically street dogs or stolen pets.
A Literal Hell
While it may seem worse to hunt and steal dogs with the intention of killing and eating them, many animal rights activists explain that these dogs often live better lives compared to those who are raised in any of South Korea’s 17,000 dog meat farms. For those dogs, life is a literal hell from the minute they are born.
Life Behind Bars
Dogs raised on dog meat farms spend their entire lives in tiny metal cages. They have never felt anything but the iron bars of their cages under their feet and barely have any food. They can barely move around in their tight confines and have absolutely nothing to look forward to each day.
Neglect and Abuse
As if that wasn’t bad enough, many dogs are forced to endure painful injuries and infections for their entire lives since farmers never get them the treatment they need. After enduring a lifetime of pain, neglect, and abuse, the innocent animals are often brutally killed.
A Brutal Ending
According to animal rights activists, death by electrocution is the most common method used to kill the dogs. With that method, it takes minutes for the dogs to die. For some dogs, however, it can take up to almost a half hour.
All For Some Soup
After electrocution, hanging the dogs is also another common method farmers use. As if that wasn’t horrific enough, the killings happen in front of the other dogs who have no other option but to watch until it’s their turn. The dog meat is then cooked and used in a dish called Bosintang, a dog meat soup.
Fighting Back Against Western Views
While animal rights activists and people from western cultures find everything about the dog meat industry repulsive, farmers and dog meat eaters claim it’s just part of their culture. “Activists should mind their own business,” Kim Yon Bok, a dog meet farmer, told News.com.au.
“Why do they want to change the culture we’ve had for thousands of years? They shouldn’t tell us what is right or wrong,” Kim Yon Bok added. However, many in South Korea and other Asian countries have renounced eating dog meat in the wake of international criticism and pressure to halt dog meat farming.
Out of The Dark Ages
“As a nation, we have moved on, and we are not in the dark ages anymore,” Congressman Dr. Lee Sang Don, who is fighting to declassify dogs as livestock in South Korea, told News.com.au. “This is the first step to banning the eating of dog meat in Korea.”
A Massive Obstacle
However, banning the eating of dog meat in South Korea is still a long way off. One of the biggest problems in banning dog meat farming is that so many people work in the industry. If eating dog meat is outlawed, all those people will be without jobs.
Lives Still at Stake
“There are a million people working in this industry. How will you create a million new jobs and protect them? This is a large-scale industry,” Kim Yon Bok told News.com.au. However, the main concern for animal rights activists is saving dogs and they’re not waiting for the government to put an end to the industry.
Volunteers and activists from Humane Society International (HSI) have been working tirelessly to save as many of the dogs trapped in dog meat farms as possible. So far, they have managed to close down 12 dog meat farms and saved about 14,000 dogs.
Phasing Out The Industry
In addition to closing the farms, the team from HSI is working to combat the industry by phasing it out completely. They do this by helping the farmers find more profitable and humane careers as chili or mushroom farmers. “With every dog farm we close and every farmer we help switch to a more profitable, humane business, we’re showing the South Korean government that it’s possible to end this cruel trade,” HSI UK Executive Director Claire Bass said in a statement.
A Famous Supporter
However, there are still thousands of farms still operating today and millions of dogs whose lives are in danger. Recently, however, music mogul, reality TV producer, and America’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell has put his money where his mouth is to help HSI close down another dog meat farm.
In the past, Cowell has spoken out about the horrors of the dog meat industry. “It’s like eating your friend. It’s the fact you’re eating such a kind, helpless, sweet animal,” Cowell told Good Morning Britain. So to help the cause, Cowell donated more than $30,000 to the organization.
200 Lives Saved
With that donation, HSI was able to close down another dog meat farm and saved 200 innocent dogs awaiting slaughter. The more than 200 dogs and puppies are set to be rescued and sent to an HSI shelter in Canada. Some of the dogs will also be sent to the UK, the Netherlands, and the United States. Once they’re treated for their various illnesses and injuries, the dogs will then be put up for adoption.
A Life-Changing Donation
“Simon’s generous donation means the world to us, and provides a huge boost to our appeal to close this horrendous dog meat farm,” Bass said in a statement. “More than 200 dogs are languishing in the most appalling conditions, but we have a real chance to save them. These poor dogs have had the worst lives so far, so we’re desperate to get them out of those dreadful cages and show them love, soft beds and loving arms for the first time in their lives.”