Dogs are found starving to death and resorting to cannibalism on South Korean meat farm ‘that was like hell’ where animals were so skinny ‘rescuers thought their bones would snap’

  • Dogs were found next to the bodies of their dead cage mates on a farm in Gimpo
  • The dogs bred for the meat trade were kept in shocking conditions by a farmer 
  • His farm has been shut down and the dogs have been taken to a vet and shelter 

Starving dogs who had to resort to cannibalism have been rescued from an illegal dog farm in South Korea. 

The dogs were caged in deplorable conditions on a junk yard farm in Gimpo where they were bred and sold for the dog meat trade.

Many of the dogs were suffering from severe malnutrition with fragile bones as well as painful skin diseases due to living in their own excrement.

They were found huddled next to the lifeless bodies of their dead cage mates who had apparently starved to death, while others resorted to cannibalism to survive.

Starving dogs who had to resort to cannibalism have been rescued from an illegal dog farm in Gimpo, South Korea

The dogs were found in terrible conditions, with some huddled next to the lifeless bodies of their dead cage mates who had apparently starved to death

Many of the dogs were suffering from severe malnutrition with fragile bones as well as painful skin diseases due to living in their own excrement

More dead dogs were found stored in a disused freezer at the farm described as ‘like hell’ by Humane Society International/Korea, who assisted Korean charity LIFE in the rescue.

HSI/Korea’s campaign manager Nara Kim said: ‘When I first visited the dog farm, it was too shocking to take in what I was seeing. 

‘I have rescued thousands of dogs from many dog meat farms in South Korea, but this place was like hell. 

‘Many of the dogs were just skin and bones, and it was hard to find any “normal” looking dogs because their bodies were so ravaged by starvation and skin disease. 

One of the dogs lies lifeless in a food bowl at the farm. Some of the dogs had resorted to cannibalism to survive

Dead dogs were found stored in a disused freezer at the farm described as ‘like hell’ by Humane Society International/Korea, who assisted Korean charity LIFE in the rescue

A puppy stands up against the cage as members of LIFE and HSI/KOREA rescue them

‘I was so afraid their fragile bones might break when I lifted them out of their cages, so I was just really slow and gentle. 

‘Hardly any of them had the energy to struggle anyway. We got there just in time for some, I don’t think they could have survived another day. 

‘I’m so happy that LIFE asked us to be a part of this rescue, it was such a relief to get these dogs out of that horrible place.’

The farmer had been illegally squatting on government land for more than 10 years, and even applied for compensation when the Gimpo city government announced the land was being seized for redevelopment. 

HS

Once the dogs in HSI/Korea’s care are well enough to travel, they will be flown to North America for adoption

In the hope of getting more compensation, the farmer bred more dogs even though he couldn’t afford to feed them. 

Gyeonggi province officials are now investigating the farmer with a view to bringing animal cruelty and other charges. 

LIFE negotiated with him to shut down the farm and the land will be redeveloped by the authorities. 

HSI/Korea helped on the rescue day and is providing shelter and emergency veterinary care for 40 of the dogs.

A small dog suffering from a skin disease due to the appalling conditions at the meat farm

HSI/Korea’s campaign manager Nara Kim said many of the dogs ‘were just skin and bones’

Once the dogs in HSI/Korea’s care are well enough to travel, they will be flown to North America for adoption.  

In-Seob Sim, president of LIFE, says: ‘This is a really shocking example of a common problem here in South Korea, where dogs are bred in the worst conditions to maximize profits. 

‘It’s time for South Korean society to impose controls on the breeding of dogs for sale. If we don’t find a solution, this kind of animal suffering will continue. 

Two dogs approach HSI/Korea and LIFE rescuers

‘Koreans who are upset to see the terrible suffering of these dogs, need to realise that it is society’s demand for pet shop puppies and dog meat that drives this kind of cruelty. 

‘If we can change our behaviour, we can change the fate of these dogs.’

South Korea remains the only country in the world with large-scale, commercial dog meat farms.

Dog meat consumption is rare in South Korea, and has been falling in recent years. 

A poll by the Korean Animal Welfare Association found in 2019 that 12 per cent of respondents said they regularly ate the meat.

Meanwhile 41 per cent said they used to eat dog meat but were no longer doing so.

However, many indulge in the habit during Bok Nal, three days spread over the course of summer which typically coincide with some of the hottest weather.

Eating spiced dog meat soup or consuming a tonic made from dog products is thought to bestow a range of health benefits, from cooling people down to reducing lethargy and generally improving health.

Because dog slaughter is outlawed in South Korea, estimates of how many dogs are killed annually vary wildly.

The farmer had been illegally squatting on government land for more than 10 years, and even applied for compensation when the Gimpo city government announced the land was being seized for redevelopment

While the Korean Animal Rights Advocates association believes that up to 1million dogs are killed per year for meat, other estimates are much lower.

The national Statistical Information Service for 2015 found that 520,000 dogs were being held in facilities across the country, but this also included animals destined for the pet trade. 

Lady Freethinker has been campaigning for an end to the dog meat trade in South Korea for more than 3 years. 

In partnership with Save Korean Dogs, Lady Freethinker is currently sponsoring 20 taxi ads in the city of Paju saying ‘Dogs are not food but family’.

The organisation also hosts a petition calling on the country’s leaders to end the dog and cat meat trade, which has so far garnered more than 88,000 signatures.

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