With fewer South Koreans eating dog meat than ever before, and with more people seeing dogs as companions rather than food, the demand for dog meat has been dropping in Korea. Photo by Jean Chung/For HSI
This week, Humane Society International staff is on the ground in South Korea, closing down the 16th dog meat farm in our campaign there and rescuing 70 dogs destined for a grim future on the butcher’s block.
Among the dogs we found on site are poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, tosas, jindos and Boston terriers. When our staff responders came across them, the animals were languishing in rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage. But the minute they saw their rescuers, they erupted into a barking chorus, reports Nara Kim, HSI’s consultant in South Korea.
“Some of the dogs were desperately jumping for me to notice them and offer some affection, while others hid at the back of their cages in fear,” Nara said. Among the dogs was one we named Pogo, a Boston terrier tied to a chain who was so desperate for attention that he leapt forward constantly although the chain he was tied to whipped him back each time. When a staff member approached him, he was overcome with joy—he particularly loved the tug toy we fashioned for him using a leash.
Pogo’s condition was heartbreaking: his eyes didn’t focus well and they bulged noticeably, perhaps from all of the stress and his desperate attempts to escape the very short chain. It is especially gratifying for our staff to get him off the farm and send him on to his new life.
The owner of this dog meat farm told us he has been breeding the dogs for nearly 40 years, but believes there is now no future in it. He jumped at the chance offered by HSI to leave dog farming behind and begin a new life growing cabbages and other vegetables instead.
With fewer South Koreans eating dog meat than ever before, and with more people seeing dogs as companions rather than food, the demand for dog meat has been dropping in Korea. In recent years, there has also been a series of new regulations and court rulings cracking down on the industry.
The farmer told our staff that although he entered the business believing he’d make good money, “it hasn’t really worked out that way. I earn nothing from this dog farm, and pressure from the government is increasing and it’s not a good business at all.”
This time, with the rescue happening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we have faced some delays, but our staff on the ground in Korea is working hard to make sure the dogs don’t have to suffer for another day. The dogs will be moved to a boarding facility, where they will receive full veterinary check-ups and be given everything they need to be comfortable for the first time in their lives. The dogs will be cared for in South Korea until the pandemic calms globally and they can be flown to our temporary shelter in Canada and shelter partners in the United States to seek adoptive homes.
South Korea, where an estimated two million dogs are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms each year, has been a big focus of HSI’s ongoing work to end the dog meat trade around the globe, and we have made significant progress in the nation. During the five years of our campaign in South Korea, we have rescued more than 2,000 dogs from such farms and transported them overseas for rehoming.
In November 2018, HSI assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse there. Two of the nation’s largest dog meat markets have also closed in recent years and in October 2019, the mayor of Seoul declared his city “dog slaughter free.”
In other nations where the trade exists, we have also seen remarkable progress in recent years. The Chinese government recently declared dogs are considered companions and not livestock and at least two cities in China have included bans on dog and cat meat in wider bans on the wildlife trade in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dog meat consumption has also been banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. In 2018 both Indonesia and Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi pledged an end to dog and cat meat consumption.
Given the scale of the global dog meat trade and the number of animals caught up in it, it will take some time before we succeed in wiping it off the face of the earth. We are working on it, and we will never give up, but for today, we celebrate the fact that for 70 dogs the future looks bright and filled with hope.
Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 22:21:29 +0000
Wildlife killing contests are gruesome events, in which participants compete to kill some of the most persecuted animals on the North American continent, including swift foxes (pictured above), for cash and prizes. Photo by Robert Harding/Alamy Stock Photo
Colorado has closed a loophole in its law to end all wildlife killing contests of furbearing animals, including coyotes, bobcats, swift foxes and prairie dogs.
Although the state had already banned most such contests in 1997, a regulatory loophole permitted some events that limited the numbers of animals killed to continue. This meant that contests like the “High Desert Coyote Classic,” the “Song Dog Coyote Hunt,” a youth-centered “Prairie Dog Shoot” and the “Four Corners Predator Callers Predator Hunt,” which allowed the killing of five animals per person, could go on.
The Humane Society of the United States has made it our mission to end all wildlife killing contests and last November we joined a coalition of animal welfare and environmental groups to file a petition asking the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to ban these contests altogether. Soon after, Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff advanced its own proposed ban, and last Thursday, members of the state Parks and Wildlife Commission voted 8-3 to approve it.
Wildlife killing contests are gruesome events, in which participants compete to kill some of the most persecuted animals on the North American continent for cash and prizes. Besides being inhumane, these contests undermine modern, science‐based wildlife management principles. Wild carnivores like coyotes and foxes regulate their own numbers according to available habitat and prey, and the random and mass killing of these animals does not prevent conflicts with livestock, people or pets. Prairie dogs, often a target of killing contests in the state, are an important keystone species in Colorado’s ecosystem.
Hundreds of such contests are held each year across the country but increasingly states are beginning to crack down on them. Colorado joins five other states that have passed similar laws in the last six years, most of them western states. In 2014, California led the way with a regulatory ban on killing contests for cash and prizes. New Mexico and Arizona both abolished wildlife killing contests in 2019.
In the Northeast, Massachusetts and Vermont have also banned such contests.
In Oregon, bills were introduced in 2019 and 2020 to ban coyote killing contests and they had strong support from legislators, the public, scientists, wildlife management professionals and hunters. Unfortunately, both bills (along with many others) were scuttled but we are already planning to return in 2021 to end coyote killing contests once and for all in Oregon.
We also expect the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to soon propose its own a regulatory ban. In Montana and Nevada, too, we have seen growing interest in recent years for banning wildlife killing contests.
The momentum for ending these contests has built up over the years as we have exposed how horrible they are through undercover investigations in four states—Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. In March, we released our latest undercover investigation of a coyote killing contest in New York State that showed participants dumping the bodies of dozens of coyotes like garbage. The ban in Colorado is an important one, and we’re grateful to wildlife officials there and the growing numbers of their colleagues across the United States for recognizing the damage these gruesome competitions inflict on wildlife and their habitats.
The work that we are doing to fight wildlife killing contests is an example of how our efforts to continue all of our lifesaving work for animals has continued during the coronavirus crisis. Today is a day when the world is coming together to support nonprofits through the global #GivingTuesdayNow. We would be so grateful if you could show your support for the Humane Society of the United States, whether it’s our work to keep pets and people together during these difficult times, to protect wildlife, or our other efforts to fight the biggest battles that animals face today, with a special Giving Tuesday gift.
Published at Tue, 05 May 2020 16:17:47 +0000