As South Korea Contemplates A Ban On The Dog Meat Trade, 18th Dog Meat Farm Shuts Down In The Country

Seventy-three year old Mr. Yang in South Korea’s Chungcheong province has become the latest dog meat farmer in the country to join Humane Society International (HSI) Korea’s Models for Change program as part of the charity’s efforts to end the dog meat industry.

Through working with HSI/Korea, Mr. Yang is leaving dog meat farming behind him and transitioning to growing cabbage and other crops instead. The nearly 200 dogs and puppies on his farm, who were destined for slaughter, will instead be transported to the United States and Canada where the search will begin for loving adoptive families.

The closure comes at a time of increasing public and political support for ending the dog meat industry. Last year, First Lady Kim Keon-hee openly called for a ban, and latest opinion surveys show that 87.5% of South Koreans don’t eat dog meat and 56% support a ban.

In December 2021, the South Korean government formed a task force to bring forward recommendations on the dog meat issue, but after repeated delays, HSI/Korea is urging the government to begin a phase out program mirroring HSI’s Models for Change.

Mr. Yang has farmed dogs for human consumption for almost 30 years in the city of Asan-si, but now agrees that the best solution for the dog meat industry in South Korea is a phase out. His farm, unlike many in the country, is legally registered, but he believes it has no future. Mr. Yang wants to leave dog meat farming behind him.

“In the early years of the dog meat industry, no-one reported dog meat farms for violations or criticized the industry. But as time has passed, animal groups like HSI/Korea have appeared and the world is changing, so are Korean people,” said Mr. Yang. “I’m a member of the dog farmers association and I know how the Dog Meat Task Force is going. The compensation and phase-out period are the issues now. But regardless of the Task Force’s recommendation, I was planning to leave the industry in a few years anyway so when I talked with HSI/Korea, I knew it was a good opportunity to leave now.

“I plan to do cabbage farming after this and share my crops with local people. HSI will rescue the animals, and I will help the people with my cabbages,” continued Mr. Yang.

Models for Change launched in 2015 and works cooperatively with farmers like Mr. Yang who want to exit the dog meat industry. The campaign helps farmers transition to humane, alternative livelihoods.

“Many of the dogs on this farm are clearly traumatized from their experience in the dog meat industry, and they will need all the love and patience we can give them to start to heal,” said Sangkyung Lee, HSI/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager. “But farmers like Mr. Yang are symbols of change in South Korea, because a new generation of animal lovers like me don’t wish to see this suffering continue. I hope that the government listens, and our Models for Change program is showing that there is a desire for change and a way to a new future where dogs are only friends, not food.”

This is the 18th dog meat farm permanently closed by HSI/Korea, resulting in the rescue of more than 2,700 dogs since the program began. The rescued dogs have found adoptive families in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and a small number in South Korea.

Mr. Yang is glad that the dogs on his farm will now have a chance of a happy future. He said, “While working with HSI/Korea, I was surprised and enlightened by the way the team interacts with the dogs. Even with their clothes covered in dog poop, they kept smiling and talking kindly to the dogs without any displeasure. I was somewhat shocked. I got to know that HSI really values animals much more than me who has handled dogs for nearly 30 years. I feel happy that these dogs will go to a good place and I don’t feel good to see any of them dying. I feel sorry for them.”

You can help HSI continue their incredible work saving more dogs from the dog meat trade by donating HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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