Nearly 200 Dogs Rescued from South Korea's Dog Meat Trade Arrive in U.S. in Need of New Homes

Claudia Harmata
·3 min read

Jean Chung for HSI

Some 196 dogs have been rescued from the South Korean dog meat trade in a rescue mission executed by Humane Society International.

On Friday, those dogs — which includes golden retrievers, a poodle, Korean Jindos and Mastiffs, Pomeranians, terriers, and a Labrador — landed in the United States and are now in search of loving homes to take them in.

While they wait for their forever families, a majority of the pups will be cared for at a temporary shelter in Maryland run by Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States. The remaining dogs will be taken to a temporary shelter run by the Humane Society of Canada in Montreal.

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At both of these locations, the dogs will be evaluated and receive any veterinary treatment needed, before they are gradually moved to shelter partners across the U.S. over the coming weeks.

Jean Chung for HSI

Jean Chung for HSI

Organizations partnering with HSI for this pooch project include SPCA Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio); Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (Reinholds, Pennsylvania); Humane Society of Calvert County (Sunderland, Maryland); Homeward Trails Animal Rescue (Fairfax Station, Virginia); and Petey and Furends (Rockville, Maryland).

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Of the 196 dogs, 170 were rescued from a single dog meat farm that HSI closed down in partnership with the farmer. This marks the 17th dog meat farm that HSI has permanently closed down.

Jean Chung for HSI

The other 26 dogs were rescued by HSI during previous rescue operations but had not been able to leave their temporary shelter in South Korea until now due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

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The timely rescue comes as a new opinion poll, conducted by Nielsen and commissioned by HSI, shows increased support in South Korea for a ban on dog meat consumption. The study showed that 84 percent of participants say they don’t or won’t eat dog, and 59 percent support a legislative ban on the trade.

Meredith Lee/HSUS

"Although most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog meat, and support for a ban is growing, there remain thousands of farms of all sizes across the country where dogs of all breeds endure a harsh existence," Kelly O’Meara, HSI’s vice president of companion animal campaigns said in a statement.

"With fewer people wanting to eat dog, farmers can see the writing is on the wall for this dying industry and so they work with HSI to find a solution that gives both them and their remaining dogs a chance of a new life," she added. "With such interest from dog farmers, and public support, we hope the Korean government will adopt this type of approach to phase out the dog meat industry for good."