Humane Society International has saved the lives of 171 dogs in South Korea, saving them from being the featured entrees during the country’s annual Bok Nal “days of summer” celebration.
During the warmer months, residents of South Korea consume large quantities of dog meat, sourced from farms throughout the country. The 171 dogs that Humane Society International (HSI) most recently rescued were all taken from a farm in Wonju, a city about 90 miles east of Seoul, the nation’s capital. This brings the total of dogs rescued from the Wonju meat farm to 250, and it’s the fifth such farm the organization has shut down.
These 171 dogs have already been flown to the United States and Canada. Most of them — 120 — were delivered to a temporary emergency shelter at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. The remaining animals have been taken in by 18 other shelters and rescue organizations in 10 states as well as foster families in Canada.
HSI officials said the rescued dogs include “mastiffs, Jindo mixes, Golden Retrievers, Beagles and Chihuahuas.” (According to a Facebook post from HSI, at least one — if not more — of the dogs is believed to be a former pet who was stolen for the meat trade).
“It’s a huge relief to rescue these dogs and get them to safety, knowing that in just a few weeks’ time during Bok Nal, they would likely have ended up being killed and eaten,” Andrew Plumbly, a campaign manager for Humane Society International, said in a press release.
According to HSI, between 2.5 and 3 million dogs are raised in cramped, crowded wire cages in South Korea’s dog meat farms. The dogs are typically killed in the weeks preceding Bok Nal — which is literally translated to mean the dog days of summer — a two-month period during which between 60 to 80 percent of the year’s dog meat is consumed.
“Ultimately we need the South Korean government to get involved in phasing out dog farming and banning dog eating, and with the Winter Olympics coming up in Pyeongchang in 2018, we are urging politicians to work with us to consign the eating of dogs to the history books,” Plumbly said.
That day can’t come soon enough.