PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Gus Kenworthy, a British-born, U.S. Winter Olympic skier wrote a detailed post on Instagram about his recent trip to a South Korean dog farm Friday.
The farm is being shut down due to efforts on behalf of Humane Society International.
Eating dog meat is a common practice in Asia — specifically in China, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia and northern India.
In South Korea, an estimated 2.5 million dogs are slaughtered for the meat trade annually, according to Humane Society International.
“While I don't personally agree with it, I do agree that 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 wrote.
He goes on to explain that some of the dogs at the farm were once pets, whether stolen or found on the street and sold into the dog meat trade.
The good news is the farm he visited is being shut down "thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who's seen the error of his ways.”
View this post on Instagram
This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don't personally agree with it, I do agree that 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. I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in "good conditions" by comparison to other farms. The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes. Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade. Luckily, this particular farm (thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who's seen the error of his ways) is being permanently shut down and all 90 of the dogs here will be brought to the US and Canada where they'll find their fur-ever homes. I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible! There are still millions of dogs here in need of help though (like the Great Pyrenees in the 2nd pic who was truly the sweetest dog ever). I'm hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes! Go to @hsiglobal's page to see how you can help. #dogsarefriendsnotfood #adoptdontshop ❤️🐶
Kenworthy and his boyfriend, actor Matt Wilkas, adopted an aww-worthy puppy they’re naming Beemo.
All 90 of the dogs at that particular dog farm will be flown to the U.S. and Canada to find permanent homes, the post said.
There has also been backlash and debate spurred by the Olympian's post.
See the tweets below:
This is neo-colonialism at its finest. Just because you like dogs doesn't make eating pigs/cows/chicken etc any more moral. Especially when they are treated in equally barbaric ways.— Kuznetsova's Rotten Corpse Career (@GOATnetsova) February 23, 2018
A few notes:— Joon Lee (@joonlee) February 24, 2018
1) Most Koreans do not eat dogs, and are against the practice, especially amongst young people.
2) While Kenworthy acknowledges the potential imposition of western standards, reality is 9 billion chickens are killed every year vs. 30 million dogs in Asian countries. https://t.co/1xOn84GidB
That's why I wanna help! Most young Koreans ARE against it & bc farming dogs is a much smaller industry than other livestock there's an opportunity to make real change! I'm sorry if it seemed like I was judging Korean ppl. I'm not. I just wanna help end the dog abuse! @iamjoonlee https://t.co/xnpG67ntsE— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 24, 2018