From his visit to South Korea for 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, American skier Gus Kenworthy brought home something furrier than a medal.
According to his Instagram post uploaded on February 24, the Olympian has paid a visit to a dog meat farm located in a suburban area of the 2018 Winter Games’ host country.
“This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea,” writes Kenworthy, along with pictures of dogs cooped in small cages. “Across the country, there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable.”
The Olympic athlete goes further to raise awareness of the inhumanity of the dog meat trade still happening in the country. “The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions.”
In the posting, he also announces that he is adopting a dog rescued from the dog farm. Previously, Kenworthy brought home two abandoned dogs he discovered near the Olympic Village in Sochi, Russia.
While many of the comments praise Kenworthy’s effort to raise the awareness, some express concerns that his posting may lead people to over-generalize the dog meat trade culture in the country.
This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don’t personally agree with it, I do agree that it’s not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty. I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in “good conditions” by comparison to other farms. The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes. Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade. Luckily, this particular farm (thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who’s seen the error of his ways) is being permanently shut down and all 90 of the dogs here will be brought to the US and Canada where they’ll find their fur-ever homes. I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she’ll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she’s through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible! There are still millions of dogs here in need of help though (like the Great Pyrenees in the 2nd pic who was truly the sweetest dog ever). I’m hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes! Go to @hsiglobal’s page to see how you can help. #dogsarefriendsnotfood #adoptdontshop ❤🐶
By Heewon Kim