Eerie images captured by animal rescuers show a dog farm in South Korea where canines were killed by electrocution and butchered for meat.
Among the images is a moving photo featuring a large pile of collars in the killing area of the farm, each of which represents one of the countless dogs that were slaughtered at the site on Jindo Island.
Other photos show some of the 65 surviving dogs, including several puppies, that have now been saved by animal rescuers from Humane Society International (HSI)/Korea and LIFE.
The farm owner had been breeding and slaughtering Korean Jindo dogs, which are native to the island, for more than 20 years, despite the fact that they are the country’s national dog breed. The South Korean government considers them to the a “Natural Monument,” which ostensibly affords them certain protections under the country’s laws.
Animal rescuers found the dogs languishing in small, wire battery cages. Some local residents had even reported hearing dogs crying in terror on the farm.
Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s campaign manager, said in a statement: “All the dogs on this meat farm are Jindos, which is supposed to be Korea’s national dog breed. But instead, these poor dogs have been locked away in filthy wire cages, fed on restaurant waste, denied even the most basic care and any level of human kindness.
“As a proud Korean I always find it upsetting to see the cruelty of dog meat farms, but it felt especially shocking to see our country’s national dog breed being exploited like this on Jindo Island.”
Local South Korean authorities found that the farmer had breached the country’s Animal Protection Act by killing dogs in front of each other. South Korean law does not explicitly prohibit the slaughter of dogs for human consumption, but it does prohibit killing the animals in a brutal way, or slaughtering them in front of other animals of the same species.
“I shed tears when I saw the killing area where I know dogs were killed in front of each other. There was a big pile of collars where they were electrocuted,” Kim said. “Thankfully, together with our friends at LIFE, we have been able to get these dogs out of that horrible place and ensure that no animals will ever suffer again in those cages.”
“The authorities will also pursue cruelty charges against the farmer. As the Animal Protection Act currently offers little protection for dogs on dog meat farms, it’s encouraging to see law enforcement officials making use of those few regulations at their disposal. But in order to fully crack down on this brutal industry, we will continue to campaign for a ban on the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs for meat.”
Authorities have now closed the dog farm on Jindo. The farmer, who also owned a local restaurant where dog meat was on the menu, has agreed to give up dog farming and stop selling dog products at his eatery.
The rescued dogs will now receive care at a shelter in South Korea before being flown to North America where they will be re-homed.
According to HSI, there are an estimated 1 to 2 million dogs being kept on thousands of farms across South Korea.
Wendy Higgins, from Humane Society International’s U.K. office, said in a statement: “Many people mistakenly think that opposition to the dog meat industry is only seen in the West, but the truth is that most people in South Korea have no interest in eating dog meat and there are many animal welfare groups, local authorities and politicians dedicated to seeing an end to the suffering.
“Those living near to dog farms often make official complaints about the foul stench or the noise from crying and barking dogs. We’ve had neighbours come out to thank us when we helped close down a dog slaughterhouse before, because hearing the dogs scream in pain was unbearable. This industry is losing popularity and sympathy in South Korea, and the next logical step for policy makers must be to ban it.”