Op/Ed

HSI campaign to shut down dog meat farms a boon for South Korea

Since January 2015, Humane Society International (HSI) has helped to shut down three dog meat operations in South Korea as part of our global work to end the dog meat trade throughout Asia. We regularly conduct visits to each of these former dog meat farms as part of an agreement with the farmers, who have decided to transition to other pursuits, with our help and support. A recent Korea Observer article got this wrong, for HSI can confirm and independently verify that all three farmers we’ve worked with have completely shifted away from the dog meat trade.

Our campaign in South Korea is costly and, to date, HSI has contributed far more to the campaign than it has received in donations. But the results have been beyond measure in terms of impact. Not only have we supported three farmers in their transition away from dog meat, showing others that it can be done, we’ve also successfully rescued 186 dogs from the dog meat trade. These animals now have wonderful lives with adoptive families, or await adoption into loving homes while in the care of some of the best animal shelters in the US.

At the same time, the campaign has emboldened those Koreans who do not approve of the dog meat trade to speak up against it, and brought much needed scrutiny to the trade both within and outside of South Korea. We have taken a constructive approach that seeks to hasten the demise of an already waning trade, one that is deeply informed by changing sensibility within South Korea itself. Our work with dog meat farmers to transition their farms into other pursuits is complemented by other efforts. For example, we’re also urging the Korean government to support dog meat farmers in making this transition on a wider scale, especially in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, when the international spotlight will be shining upon South Korea.

The Ilsan farmer Jeong  Moonseok is now expanding his greenhouse to grow more blueberries, as part of his agreement with HSI. His actions, like those of the several farmers who took similar steps, mark the steady march of progress toward a South Korea that is not blighted with an unseemly industry that disturbs many of its citizens and brings unnecessary and unflattering attention from abroad. It should be a source of celebration for all South Koreans who care about animals and their treatment, just as it is for those millions of citizens around the world who look with great anticipation toward the extinction of the dog meat trade.

The Op-Ed is in response to the Oct. 8th article: “HSI fails to permanently transition dog farmer out of keeping dogs”.

About the author

Kelly O’Meara

Kelly O’Meara

Kelly O’Meara is Director of Companion Animals and Engagement for Humane Society International. She can be reached at komeara@hsi.org and is based in Washington, DC.

  • Stop The Taboo

    I think one of many difficulties when tackling the problem is the habit of eating these animals’ meat is considered as a part of cultural values and has been practiced for generations in these areas. Hence, older men are normally main consumer, especially in rural areas. It is a real struggle to change their attitude because of their conservative mind as well as they are not tech-savvy enough to be engaged effectively by social media.
    J.P.

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