A rescue operation launched by the Humane Society International (HSI) began at the squalid farm in Hongseong county today. Heartbreaking pictures show terrified dogs and puppies housed in cramped cages with little shelter from the freezing temperatures outside. Many of the animals were suffering from untreated injuries or deformities after living in the cramped conditions, HSI said.
The charity said the farm doubled as a ‘puppy mill’ meaning those not designated as ‘meat dogs’ were sold off as pets.
Any pups which were not bought were shipped off to the slaughterhouse then sold on to local restaurants.
But after striking a deal with the farmer, HSI is now working to rescue some 200 dogs from the complex, 90 miles south of the capital Seoul.
The rescued animals will be re-homed with loving families in the United States and Canada.
Nara Kim from HSI South Korea said: “The lines between puppy mills and dog meat farms are routinely blurred throughout South Korea, and with our latest dog farm closure we are exposing the shocking reality of that.
“These dogs are suffering at the hands of two abusive industries, their ultimate fate depending on whether they will sell for more money as a pet or for meat.
“They all start life in this depressing, squalid place, with the lucky few ending up being a loved companion whilst their cage mates are served at a restaurant, or enter a chain of auctions where they are sold on to the next farmer to produce litter after litter of puppies.”
Today’s rescue operation is part of a wider campaign by HSI to combat the cruel dog meat trade in South Korea.
The farm in Hongseong is the 14th such business shut down by the animal welfare charity in the country since 2015.
In exchange for shutting down their farms and agreeing to not return to the brutal trade, HSI supporters farmers in setting up an alternative business.
The group’s intervention comes as demand for dog meat continues to decline in South Korea amid a shift in public perception.
In November, authorities shut down the country’s biggest dog meat slaughterhouse in Taepyeong after HSI reported “horrifying” conditions inside the complex.