Olympian Gus Kenworthy managed to convince a South Korean dog farmer to shut down his farm, rescuing the farm’s dogs from a grisly fate.
Mr Kenworthy, a freestyle skier who’s competing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, has used the games to spotlight the inhumane treatment of dogs in South Korea.
Gus worked with the Humane Society International, to convince the farmer to shut down his farm, freeing 90 dogs and taking them to the US and Canada.
Well, almost all the dogs. Gus kept one for himself, a puppy he named Beemo.
In an Instagram post he wrote:
It’s not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty.
Kenworthy has something of a reputation for rescuing dogs while competing at the Olympics. In 2014, while competing at the Sochi games in Russia he saved five strays who were roaming the city.
Eating dog meat, known locally as Gaegogi, has a long tradition in Korea where it’s used in recipes designed to restore virility. The practice, however, remains controversial due to sanitary and animal rights concerns.
While South Korea adopted its first Animal Protection Law in May, 1991, it never prohibited the slaughter of dogs for their meat, simply banning the killing of animals in brutal ways.
Despite this, unlike beef, pork or chicken, dog meat is excluded from the list of livestock under the Livestock Processing Act of 1962.
This means that there are no regulations when it comes to slaughtering dogs for meat and this leads to them being killed in numerous cruel ways, including electrocution, strangulation and some are even allegedly beaten to death.
Proponents of Gaegogi believe that the meat should be regulated like any other to ensure that the meat is prepared in humane and sanitary ways.
Others, however, believe the practice should be banned entirely.
Thankfully the practice seems to be dying out in South Korea. A 2007 survey by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture revealed that 59 percent of Koreans under 30 would not eat dog.