Winter Olympians Raise Awareness Against Korean Dog Meat Industry

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
All eyes are on South Korea as the Winter Olympics nears, but one Olympian is hoping to bring attention to the country’s prevalent dog meat trade.

Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel is looking for gold in South Korea, as the winter Olympics gear up and she and partner Eric Radford compete.

But she’s also looking to save the life of a dog, particularly one who was destined to die as part of the dog meat industry. In Korea, it is not only legal, but pretty common to eat dog, though more and more its an older generation who does so, believing folklore that says doing so enriches their health and vitality.

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Duhamel said that there are literally hundreds of dog meat farms hidden away, but no one says anything because they are focused on the Olympics. She hopes to change that, as nearly 2.5 million Korean dogs are killed for their meat each year.

Duhamel says that she hopes the spotlight from the Olympics will bring awareness to the issue. The Korean government recognizes this sensitive subject and, according to Marc Ching, founder of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, one they are paying restaurants to hide from the world.

Interestingly, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is a well-known dog lover who recently saved and adopted a dog from a meat farm. Because of this, activists hope that the focus on the Olympics will shed light on this topic as well, and perhaps prompt change.

The dog meat industry is a prevalent one in many parts of Asia, and the meat-eating is only part of the problem. The way the dogs are slaughtered is not fit for print, and advocates say that it is because the mentality is that they are just livestock.

The terror of the dog meat industry is one often not widely talked about, even among Olympians who are trying to be respectful of ‘culture.’ But with the Olympics being right there, the issue is at the forefront, though it’s been publicized no dog meat dishes will be associated with the Olympic games.

Related: US Olympians Go For the Gold While Clearing the Shelters

And for Duhamel, it’s at the forefront of her trip there as well. She of course ultimately is looking to bring the gold home, but hopes that her outspoken attitude and sharing of the subject will inspire people to take part and make a difference in changing the industry. She wants Olympic visitors to know they can volunteer to take dogs back to North America like she is doing, through Free Korean Dogs, based out of Toronto.

Which means that whether she brings home a medal or not–there’s something priceless coming back with her on the return trip.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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