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Dozens of dogs rescued from South Korean dog meat farm arrive in Canada: group

Last Updated Dec 13, 2017 at 11:00 am EST

Chris Schindler, Director of Animal Cruelty and Fighting at Humane Society International (HSI), rescues and moves the mother Tosa dog to a boarding at a dog meat farm in Namyangju, South Korea, on Thursday, October 26, 2017. An animal welfare group says dozens of dogs rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea have arrived in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Humane Society International-Jean Chung

An animal welfare group that recently rescued more than 170 dogs from a dog meat farm in South Korea says next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang represent an opportunity to pressure the country’s government to end the controversial industry.

Humane Society International’s Canadian branch said 50 of the dogs rescued from the facility in Namyangju have arrived in Canada in the last five days and are bound for shelters and rescue groups in Ontario and Quebec.

Another 120 or so dogs are headed to the United States and the United Kingdom, the organization said.

Rebecca Aldworth, the group’s executive director, said they helped the meat farm’s owner transition to another line of work and saved the animals with the owner’s consent.

She’s hoping international pressure will push the South Korean government to adopt a similar approach.

“The Olympics will be held in South Korea and this creates a huge opportunity for the international community to apply pressure to the government of South Korea and to urge them to… transition dog meat farmers to a more humane activity and shut down the dog meat trade for good,” she said.

“We see a growing culture in South Korea that’s creating more and more opposition to the dog meat trade domestically and there’s increasing sympathy within government for transition farmers out of the industry and ending the dog meat trade for good.”

The Namyangju dog meat farm, which has now shut down, was one of roughly 17,000 such facilities in South Korea, where an estimated 2.5 million dogs are killed for meat each year, she said.

“This horrific dog meat farm is one of the worst HSI has ever seen and I am thrilled we are shutting it down for good,” Aldworth said.

“More than 170 dogs and puppies were intensively confined in cramped, filthy, barren wire cages positioned over months of accumulated waste. The dogs had no protection from the freezing temperatures,” she said.

“These dogs have been spared a lifetime of misery and a brutal death at the hands of the dog meat trade.”

Aldworth said she hoped many of the dogs would find permanent new homes before the holidays.

“A lot of these dogs are very traumatized and very frightened but even in the four days we’ve been interacting with them in Canada, we’ve already seen them come out of their shells,” she said.

“They’re wagging their tails when we approach, putting their paws up on their cages so it’s clear that these dogs are going to make amazing companion animals.”