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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dogs rescued from Korean dog meat farm arrive in Alexandria

Snowball is one of the lucky dogs rescued from a dog farm and is now safe at the Alexandria Animal Shelter.
Sixteen dogs held captive on a dog meat farm in South Korea and headed for the dinner plate were rescued by the Humane Society International (HSI) and arrived at the Alexandria Animal Shelter last night. Another eight dogs will arrive tomorrow night.

The dogs looked healthy and alert, but a little scared, when they arrived at the shelter in a van from the airport after a long flight. Several of the dogs are of the Shiba Inu breed, including a white fluffy puppy the rescuers named Snowball and a mom with four puppies. There was also a Welsh corgi mix, Alaskan husky, and German shepherd mix.

Adam Parascandola of Human Society International removes a dog from a cage at the dog farm with help from the farm's owner and HSI consultant Lola Weber. [Photo by Manchul Kim]

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria will evaluate the dogs’ health over the next three days, then distribute them to its five partner shelters in the D.C. region, including the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, where they will be available for adoption.

This was the first operation by the HSI to bring dogs saved from the Asian dog meat industry to the United States.

The owner of the dog farm, in Ilsan, South Korea, signed an agreement with HSI to shut down the operation. He plans to switch to blueberry farming, said Kaitlin Sanderson of HSI. The organization is offering to compensate dog farmers by buying their dog production facilities and helping them move into other types of agriculture.

Lola Weber, a consultant with HSI, shares a moment with some of the puppies at the dog farm. [Photo by Manchul Kim]
While dog meat is eaten throughout Asia, Korea is the only country where dogs are raised on farms for food, Sanderson said. It’s not known how many dog farms there are, but she puts the number in the hundreds. People in Korea do have dogs as pets, but they’re usually the smaller, purebred dogs.

Dog meat isn’t illegal in Korea. You can buy dog meat – and live dogs – in markets, but you’re not likely to find it in grocery stores, Sanderson said. “Eating dog is a long-time cultural habit, especially among the older generations. Younger people are starting to see it as more unacceptable.”

That’s an attitude the HSI would like to cultivate, especially since more global attention will be focused on the country in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The dogs are packed up and ready for their flight to the U.S. [Photo by Manchul Kim]


  1. That is disgusting, they should give one of the dogs a South Korean to eat and see how they like it.

  2. Makes one wonder who exactly are the animals here! Another reason I cannot eat in a Korean restaurant. It is barbaric,disgusting, and a dozen other similar adjectives. We do not eat dogs in America. Stay in Korea if that's your thing.

    1. Why? because they're cute? because they're intelligent? because we keep them as pets here? Hey, I'm a big meatasaurus rex but I don't know how you can draw the line here. Pigs are intelligent, kept as pets, and cute (I hear, I dunno), yet we eat bacon like there's no tomorrow. Seems unfair to judge another culture based on what animal they choose to farm. Either you're against breeding animals for consumption or you're OK with it, drawing an arbitrary line somewhere based on your own cultural sensitivity is kind of asinine.

  3. Looks like we won't even let them eat dogs in Korea. Seems like there's bigger problems in the world.

    1. I say feed them the North Koreans.

  4. Plot twist, dogs get adopted and are served in Annandale Korean restaurants.