Op/Ed Uncategorized

UPDATE on documentary funding – From puppy to dinner plate: Man bites dog in first world Korea

Photo by HSI
James Hyams
Written by James Hyams

The Korea Observer’s exposé on the dog meat industry in South Korea is going ahead. We have raised just over $10,000 and still have 7 days to secure more vitally needed funds. We also need volunteers.

I am publishing this update at the request of an animal activist who previously disapproved of the purchase of equipment for this documentary out of donations. This is a legitimate concern, which is why I purchased the required equipment for Camera B out of my own pocket. The other expenses are explained below.

The working title I’ve chosen so far is, From puppy to dinner plate: Man bites dog in first world Korea. I am open to ideas about the naming of the documentary. Please comment below.


This will be a mixed, gonzo style documentary that exposes the dog meat industry for what it is to audiences not familiar with this industry in Korea. It will campaign and argue throughout that the consumption of dog meat in its current form in Korea is an outdated practice that does not belong in a developed nation.


Ideally, through a collective partnership with animal welfare advocates, we would like our collective investigative work to prompt a series of actions that lead to the end of dog meat farming and dog meat consumption in Korea. We will aim for this utopian goal but it may not be feasible in the short term.

Realistically, we can expect this documentary to add to the case given to government to pressure them to regulate the dog meat industry with the long-term goal of ending the practice.

Donations received:

I’d like to thank all of the donors so far. This documentary is only possible because of you. Regardless, we are still short of the ideal funding target with 7 days to go. Please share the campaign and this article as we need donations, volunteers, and support to get the job done.

Due to budget constraints, I’ve purchased out of my own pocket everything required (lapel mic, Zoom Hn5 +, rig mount +, DSLR and L and S series lenses, et cetera) for Camera B and will try to source Camera A gear from contacts in Korea at a reduced rental/donation basis. The gear I have purchased out of my account will remain my own.

The drone will not be purchased due to limited funds. We will try to source the use of one while in Korea in exchange for screen credit and/or advertising on our news site.

2. LABOR COSTS – billed against donations
We will set hourly rates for each worker, then keep a time card for the hours spent on the documentary. Remunerated money will be apportioned as a percentage at the conclusion of the documentary as we all know most of us will donate significant amounts of time. At present, this will be our largest expense.

3. OTHER EXPENSES – billed against donations
Other expenses billed to donors will be mostly travel costs, travel related costs, hotels (if required – we will try to stay at contacts places if we can), professional consulting fees, and meals while out of town. We will keep receipts and a log of costs.

Over the coming weeks we will determine the best way to maintain contact with donors and the support networks.

As promised, we will create a group email list for donors so we can send exclusive updates about the progress of the documentary.

It is time to take a stand on this important issue. If you want to volunteer please message us on The Korea Observer facebook page or email editor@koreaobserver.com

Don’t forget to share the crowdfunding campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/an-expose-on-the-dog-meat-industry-in-south-korea/x/10397600

About the author

James Hyams

James Hyams

James Hyams juggles several careers including being a journalist and a social worker. James has an avid interest in 'telling it as it is', exposing matters of public interest, and reviving investigative journalism in the new digital era. Testimony to this is his thesis titled: “U.S. Government secrecy and the withering watchdog: Is WikiLeaks the answer?”

  • Diogenes22

    Thank you

  • ano nymous

    I’m not sure if this will be sufficient to outlaw the dog meat industry in Korea.

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