HSI closes 16th dog meat farm in Korea; rescues 70 dogs bound for slaughter

 May 06, 2020

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.

The post HSI closes 16th dog meat farm in Korea; rescues 70 dogs bound for slaughter appeared first on A Humane World.

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South Korea seeks coronavirus murder charges, over 3,000 dead worldwide

SEOUL/BEIJING (Reuters) – South Korea sought murder charges against leaders of a secretive church at the heart of its ballooning coronavirus outbreak on Monday as the global death toll rose above 3,000 and the Chinese province at the epicentre reported a fall in new cases.

World stock markets regained some calm as hopes for global interest rate cuts to soften the economic blow of the virus steadied nerves after last week’s worst plunge since the 2008 financial crisis.

The global death toll was up to 3,044, according to a Reuters tally.

In the largest outbreak outside China, South Korea has had 26 deaths and reported another 599 infections on Monday, taking its tally to 4,335 following Saturday’s biggest daily jump.

Of the new cases in South Korea, 377 were from the city of Daegu, home to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, to which most of South Korea’s cases have been traced after some members visited China’s Wuhan city where the disease emerged.

The Seoul government asked prosecutors to launch a murder investigation into leaders of the church, a movement that reveres founder Lee Man-hee. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said that if Lee and other heads of the church had cooperated, preventive measures could have stopped fatalities.

“The situation is this serious and urgent, but where are the leaders of the Shincheonji, including Lee Man-hee, the chief director of this crisis?” Park said on Facebook late on Sunday.

Seoul’s city government said it had filed a criminal complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, asking for an investigation of Lee and 12 others on charges of murder and disease control act violations.

Lee knelt and apologised to the country on Monday that one church member had infected many others, calling the epidemic a “great calamity”. “We did our best but were not able to stop the spread of the virus,” Lee told reporters.

It was not immediately known how many of South Korea’s dead were directly connected to the church.

Graphic: Reuters graphics on the new coronavirus, here

‘OUTBREAKS ARE CURBED’

Wuhan, at the centre of the epidemic in Hubei province, closed the first of 16 specially built hospitals, hurriedly put up to treat people with the virus, after it discharged its last recovered patients, state broadcaster CCTV said on Monday.

Lee Man-hee, founder of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, makes a deep bow during a news conference at its facility in Gapyeong, South Korea, March 2, 2020. Yonhap via REUTERS

News of the closure coincided with a steep fall in new cases in Hubei, but China remained on alert for people returning home with the virus from other countries.

“The rapid rising trend of virus cases in Wuhan has been controlled,” Mi Feng, a spokesman for China’s National Health Commission, told a briefing.

“Outbreaks in Hubei outside of Wuhan are curbed and provinces outside of Hubei are showing a positive trend.”

The virus broke out in Wuhan late last year and has since infected more than 86,500 people, most in China.

Tracking the coronavirus here

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Outside China, it has in recent days spread rapidly, now to 53 countries, with more than 6,500 cases and more than 100 deaths. Italy has 1,694 cases, the vast majority in the wealthy northern regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna.

All members of the Lombardy local government were to undergo tests after a councillor tested positive.

Another of the worst-hit nations, Iran, reported infections rising to 1,501 on Monday, with 66 deaths.

In Britain, which has 36 confirmed cases, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to be prepared for further spread.

Slideshow (16 Images)

ECONOMIC DAMAGE

Global factories took a beating in February from the outbreak, with activity in China shrinking at a record pace, surveys showed, raising the prospect of a coordinated policy response by central banks.

The global spread has forced the postponement of festivals, exhibitions, trade fairs and sports events. It has crippled tourism, retail sales and global supply chains, especially in China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Middle East airlines have lost an estimated $100 million so far due to the outbreak and governments should help the carriers through this “difficult period”, an official of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

Global airlines stand to lose $1.5 billion this year due to the virus, he added.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that the outbreak was pitching the world economy into its worst downturn since the global financial crisis, urging governments and central banks to fight back.

Officials in U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Sunday tried to calm market panic that the coronavirus could cause a global recession, saying the U.S. public had over-reacted and stocks would rebound due to the American economy’s underlying strength.

The S&P 500 index tumbled 11.5% last week. Roughly $4 trillion has been wiped off the value of U.S. stocks.

Speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the administration’s response to the virus, said the market “will come back”.

“The fundamentals of this economy are strong,” he said.

KEPCO HUNTERS CULL MILLIONS OF MAGPIES

이미지뷰
Magpie hunter Kim Jin-hwa takes aim at magpies perched on a utility pole with his air rifle Wednesday in Gongju, South Chungcheong. Since 2000, Korea’s largest utility company has been rewarding people for catching magpies, which are thought to be responsible for 20 to 30 power outages every year. [KIM SUNG-TAE]

GONGJU, South Chungcheong – On a quiet Wednesday morning in the city of Gongju, South Chungcheong, Kim Jin-hwa drove his SUV to a field near his house.

Taking an air rifle out of his car, Kim walked up to a utility pole where three magpies were roosting. After carefully taking aim, Kim pulled the trigger and one of the birds dropped to the ground.

By 11 a.m., Kim had over 50 dead magpies in his car.

Kim shot over 2,400 magpies in just two months this winter, culling the birds as they began building their nests.

He’s not hunting for sport, however. After every hunt, Kim takes the black-and-white birds to the Gongju office of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), where he receives 6,000 won ($5.30) for each magpie shot.

“I’ve made 10 million won every winter for about 15 years by hunting magpie,” said Kim. For the rest of the year, Kim is a small business owner.

Kepco, Korea’s main utility company, began rewarding magpie hunters in 2000 in an attempt to tackle bird-related power outages. Kepco asks hunting associations to recommend expert huntsman, who are then granted appropriate gun licenses and access to firearms stored at police stations to shoot and kill the birds.

Although they have traditionally been a symbol of good luck in Korea, Kepco and domestic bird experts singled out magpies as the species of bird most responsible for electrical outages.

Magpies like to build their nests on treetops to avoid snakes and other predators, but overpopulation has pushed growing numbers to make their home on top of utility poles.

The problem is that their nesting materials, which can include things like fragments of metal wire, can short electric circuits and cause power failures.

“If there’s a short circuit it’ll activate a protective device and cause a power failure,” said an official from Kepco’s Gongju office. “Electrical accidents can result in huge damages even in a short time period.”

Magpies can be very hard to catch, however, as they are one of the most intelligent bird species.

“Magpies have the intelligence of a four or five-year old child,” said Cho Sam-rae, a bird expert and honorary professor of biology at Kongju National University. “They remember the outfits of people who have tried to harm them and try to avoid them later on.”

Kim agreed that catching magpie is a tricky business.

“It’s not easy to catch the birds because they can identify the people that carry guns from their behavior,” Kim explained.

Hunting accidents do occur as well. In October 2017, a hunter in Incheon, Gyeonggi misfired and shot the window of a bus. No one was injured.

Despite Kepco’s best efforts to control the magpie population, some experts are skeptical of the effectiveness of the solution.

While the number of magpie hunters has grown in the past few years, bird-related power outages have not declined at a corresponding speed.

There were 510 magpie hunters in 2017, significantly more than the 338 in 2014, but the number of bird-related outages since 2013 has remained unchanged at around 20 to 30 accidents every year.

Last July, Liberty Korea Party Rep. Kim Jung-hoon revealed Kepco had spent 8.795 billion won rewarding hunters for catching 2.151 million birds between 2008 and 2017 based on data he acquired from the company. Kim called for alternative solutions to the outage issue, suggesting stronger power lines and drone monitoring.

Animal rights activists have also argued killing birds does not solve the fundamental problem and that utility officials should find ways for people and wildlife to coexist.

For now, Kepco believes the hunt must go on.

“If we stop hunting magpies for just a year, they’ll overpopulate and electrical accidents will increase as well,” explained an official from the company. “We have no option but to have people hunt.”

BY KIM BANG-HYUN, KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]

Dolphin liberation in Korea

Science News
from research organizations

Date:
May 27, 2018
Source:
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology(UNIST)
Summary:
Biologists have carried out a scientific investigation on dolphin liberation in South Korea.

“Dolphin liberation in South Korea has raised awareness towards the welfare of marine animals and has resulted in the strengthening of animal protection policies and the level of welfare.”

An engineering student, affiliated with UNIST has recently carried out a scientific investigation on dolphin liberation in South Korea. The paper presents the overall analysis of the social impact of the first case of dolphin rehabilitation in Asia, which occurred in 2013.

This study has been carried out by Sejoon Kim in the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering in collaboration wit Professor Bradley Tatar in the Division of General Studies at UNIST. Their findings have been published in the April issue of the journal, Coastal Management and will be published online, this month.

“After the release of captive dolphins from South Korean marine parks, there has been a growing environmental movement towards the conservation and management of marine and coastal ecosystems,” says Sejoon. “Although such movement relies on a single-species conservation focus and does not encompass an entire ecosystem, it has enormous symbolic significance for the welfare of marine animals.”

The research team hopes to expand their research to areas beyond the study of dolphin liberation and carry out in-depth case studies on various topics, including the whale-eating culture in Ulsan, the public perspective of dolphin shows, as well as the establishment of new types of dolphin life experience facilities.

Olympic Figure Skater Spends Free Time Saving Korean Dogs

https://www.thedodo.com/close-to-home/figure-skater-meagan-duhamel-rescues-dogs

She just won gold in the Winter Olympics — but she’s doing something even more special with her downtime ❤️️

PUBLISHED ON 02/14/2018
Figure skater Meagan Duhamel with dog Moo-tae
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbwtrWyF_59/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=8&wp=631#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2906.5000000000005%7D
Meagan Duhamel with adopted Korean dog
Rescued dachshund Moo-tae
Meagan Duhamel with rescued dogs Moo-tae and Dae-gong
The dog meat farm in Yesan, South Korea
Jindo dogs at dog meat farm in South Korea
Dogs from the meat trade
Moo-tae and dog brother Theo

Inside the grim scene of a Korean dog meat farm, just miles from the Winter Olympics


MARTIN ROGERS  |  USA TODAY SPORTS

WONJU, South Korea – A short drive from the burning Olympic torch and the excited throng of Winter Games spectators, there was no cheering outside the place where hundreds of dogs are packed in cages until they are killed for their meat.

In the rural region of Wonju, down a winding country lane, sits a farm that provides dog meat to some of the thousands of South Korean restaurants where patrons order things such as dog salad, dog ribs, dog stew and dog hot pot.

The grim surroundings of the farm pains the senses. The first thing to be noticed is the sound, pitiful whines and yelps of about 300 animals being kept in filthy cages until their execution.

Step closer and the stench fills the nostrils, a sickening waft that spreads over two long rows of cramped cages.

Some of the dogs do not survive long enough to be slaughtered. Lying discarded on the mud floor by the plastic awning, the carcass of a dead Tosa – a rare breed that originated in Japan. Also in the cages were Jindos, St. Bernards and golden Labradors.

Most were emaciated. Many had gaps in their fur where huge sores grew on their bodies. The cages are elevated, set up so dog feces drops through gaps in the wire bottom, collecting in huge piles beneath.

More: Olympics shine spotlight on dog meat trade in South Korea

USA TODAY video journalist Sandy Hooper and myself filmed the gruesome scene for 15 minutes on Saturday morning, using GoPros and iPhones. When we approached the front of the property in an attempt to speak to the owners, a man screamed in Korean: “Turn it off, otherwise I’m going to throw it down!”

The Winter Olympics is supposed to be one giant commercial for South Korea and its winter tourism industry, but no public relations effort can cast a favorable light on the Korean dog meat industry. Pyeongchang organizing officials were aware enough of the likely international reaction to Korean dog meat eating practices that they paid nearby restaurants to take down signs advertising the product’s availability and pleaded with them to take it off the menu – at least during the Olympics.

It didn’t work. Two miles from Jinbu station, the main hub serving the primary mountain cluster of the Games, a trio of restaurants openly served dog products. They had amended their frontage signs to remove the word “bosintang” (dog meat stew) and promote goat meat instead, but that was only outside.

Walk inside and glance up at the giant white board and the first four menu items, in English and Korean, are derived from man’s best friend. An elderly Korean man removed his shoes, entered the room, ordered the stew and sat down at a row of tables on the floor. Soon, he was served the thick brown concoction and began slurping down the soup until it was all gone.

In Korean culture, dog meat is said to have mythical properties that boost restorative powers and increase virility. Fearing a backlash from traditionalists, the Korean government won’t amend the law, despite president Moon Jae-In having adopted a dog saved from the meat industry.

Pyeongchang organizers wish government officials would take action.

“We are aware of the international concern around the consumption of dog meat in Korea,” an organizing committee statement read. “This is a matter which the government should address. We hope that this issue will not impact on the delivery or reputation of the Games and the province and we will support the work of the province and government on this topic as needed. Also, dog meat will not be served at any Games venue.”

Eating dog meat is a custom here and it is hard to dispute that. In the United States millions of animals of countless varieties are slaughtered each year for meat. To some, the plight of Korean dogs is scarcely any different to that of American chicken, cows or pigs. To others, there is something vastly different about a dog, given its relationship to humans.

Activists in Korea don’t like the use of dogs for meat but mainly focus their protest efforts on the methods of killing the animals and their conditions in captivity.

“If the Korean people stop eating dog meat there will not be the market for it,” Kim Jun-Won, president of the Dasom animal rights organization said, fighting back tears when shown photographs of our footage as we returned to our vehicle. “But this is wrong and it breaks my heart. The people who keep animals this way and kill them? They are the devil.”

Demand is decreasing, with dog meat meals not particularly popular with younger members of Korean society. As well as the one described above, USA TODAY Sports visited two other farms in the area that showed signs of being operational recently. Both were closed, with the dried feces and even bones of deceased dogs still visible.

“The problem is that while smaller facilities close due to lack of business, larger, better organized ones are popping up,” Kiana Kang, director of programs and special projects of American non-profit rescue organization Animal Hope and Wellness said. “This is the two Koreas. There is the beauty and the culture, and then there is this.”

Korean dog farmers claim their sole intention is to try to make a living and insist the animals are the same as livestock.

A group of Winter Olympic athletes, including Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis took part in a recent public service announcement in a bid to raise awareness about the Korean dog meat trade. Duhamel already owns a rescue Korean dog.

The United States and Canada are leaders in trying to rescue Korean dogs and provide them with a new life. In a recent USA TODAY Sports interview, Californian couple Lana Chung Peck and her husband Kevin Peck described how many of the animals they foster and rehabilitate through the Save Korean Dogs organization have significant issues.

Chung Peck said her dogs cannot initially walk properly on grass or firm ground, because most of their lives had previously been spent in the cages, scrambling to get firm footing on the hard thin metal.

Meanwhile, at the Games, the first medals were being doled out. The plight of Korea’s dogs isn’t going to be the major narrative of the Games, the events themselves and the lingering political turmoil dominate the headlines.

But it is here, happening not far from the Olympics, and it’s tough to stomach.

Dog Meat Still on the Menu at South Korea Olympics

A handful of South Korean restaurants near the venues of the Winter Olympics are defying a government push to take dog meat off menus for the duration of the games, Channel News Asia reported.

The opening ceremony takes place on Friday in Pyeongchang county, with athletes from over 90 countries and tens of thousands of tourists from  South Korea and abroad expected to flock to the region. In a bid to avoid controversy over the culinary customs of eating dog meat, local authorities have tried to curb the serving of canine delicacies by offering nearby restaurants subsidies to temporarily alter their menus.

Related: U.S. war with North Korea would be a catastrophe, says Russia

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But only a small minority appear to have taken up the government on the offer, Pyeongchang County government official Lee Yong-bae told AFP.

“We’ve faced a lot of complaints from restaurant operators that we are threatening their livelihood,” he said. Of the 12 dog meat restaurants in the county, only two have complied, Lee said on Thursday. According to him, a handful entertained agreeing to scrap dog meat from the menu but have already seen a drop in sales.

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Puppies are seen in a cage at a dog meat market in Yulin, in China’s southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017. China’s most notorious dog meat festival opened in Yulin on June 21, 2017, with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh following rumours that authorities would impose a ban this year. STR/AFP/Getty Images

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“Some of them initially shifted to selling pork or things instead of dog meat only to find their sales plunging sharply,” he said. “They then switched back to dog meat.”

Signage advertizing dog meat dishes has nonetheless become less prominent, as the restaurants are seeking to avoid giving “a bad impression to foreigners” during the Games, he added.

The custom of treating dogs as livestock and using them for sustenance is increasingly becoming a taboo in South Korea, with the country’s government branding them a “detestable” kind of meat. There are, however, no explicit legal punishments for the cooking of dog meat and a minority of South Koreans still do so.

Last year, authorities closed Moran market in Seongnam, the largest dog meat venue, which sold over  80,000 dogs a year. It accounted for about a third of South Korea’s dog meat consumption, according to local media estimates.

This article was first written by Newsweek