Gus Kenworthy is an Olympic freestyle skier who has a reputation for rescuing dogs. During the 2014 Games in Sochi, he saved five strays that he found wandering around the city. His most recent act of heroism just took place in Pyeongchang, South Korea where he’s competing in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Working alongside the Humane Society International, Kenworthy was able to talk a dog farmer into shutting down his farm and allowing them to take his 90 dogs to the US and Canada. Actually, they’ll be finding homes for only 89 dogs, because Kenworthy couldn’t resist adopting one himself and naming him Beemo.
Sadly, the practice of eating dog meat, known locally as Gaegogi, has yet to be banned. Koreans believe that it restores virility, and while they did adopt a law in 1991 that prohibits the brutal killing of dogs, their meat is still allowed to be consumed.
While some people condone Gaegogi but wish to see it regulated so the meat is prepared safely and humanely, there are many who want the practice abolished completely. In 2007, the Korean Ministry of Agriculture conducted a survey which revealed that 59 percent of Koreans under 30 would not eat dog. Hopefully the practice will eventually die out completely!
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 ❤️🐶