After 2 chaotic weeks of emotional highs and lows, we are relieved to report that the Byul-gyo dog meat farm is now history! First and foremost, we wish to recognize and applaud the citizens in the surrounding community for their persistent appeal to the local government to close this farm. After months of requests, demands and pleas, the government issued an order to the owner to close the farm and have all of the approximately 100 dogs removed within a week. The farmer immediately started selling off his dogs to slaughterhouses. The citizens were horrified and turned to the large animal welfare organizations, asking for their help in saving these innocent lives. Their pleas were unanswered.
When DoVE Project learned of this situation, we knew we had to get involved. We needed to act immediately to save the lives of the approximately 80 remaining dogs. Although we had no available sanctuary space in Korea, we secured possession of the dogs. DoVE Project then sent personal correspondence to the Presidents of the 3 largest welfare organizations in Korea – CARE (Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth), KAWA (Korean Animal Welfare Association) and KARA (Korean Animal Rights Advocates) – with an urgent plea for their assistance. CARE immediately responded and prepared to remove at least 10 dogs to safety. An initial offer of assistance by KAWA and KARA was revoked 2 days later and time was now running out. CARE deployed rescue staff to the farm and removed 18 dogs, those that were in most desperate need of veterinary treatment. They then negotiated with the local government to extend the closure deadline and installed one of their staff members to stay at the farm to secure the dogs’ safety in the interim.
DoVE Project sent an urgent plea through social media asking all activists and independent rescuers for any assistance they could provide. We were delighted when Beagle Network Rescue stepped forward and committed to saving the remaining dogs and we endorsed the ownership of the dogs to Jay Beagle. We were further encouraged that KARA and KAWA and two other small rescue groups then joined forces with Beagle Network Rescue and on 3/5/19 the remaining 56 dogs were removed to safety! However, our celebration of the successful closure of the farm was short lived.
The day following the removal of these dogs, the farmer was back at it again. A fresh kill was observed with 2 additional dogs now on the property. Unbeknownst to us, Beagle Network Rescue, KARA and KAWA had failed to dismantle the dog farm upon removal of the dogs. All the cages were left in tact as well as the slaughter facility. Under Korean law, the farmer could now legally keep up to 5 dogs at a time on his property and continue the slaughter. And that is exactly what he was up to. As we well know, a dog meat farm has to be obliterated in its entirety to help safeguard against any future torture and slaughter of dogs. This rescue work needed to be finished!
DoVE Project then joined forces with Jinwoo Jung, a Korean activist and financed the complete demolition of the farm. On 3/15/19, with an audience around the globe, we watched Jinwoo Jung via Facebook Live as he oversaw a bulldozer uproot, flatten and destroy the entire facility – a place where thousands of dogs over time have suffered physically and mentally awaiting a torturous death. We dedicated this day to all the voiceless victims of the dog meat trade that have lived and died in this barbaric and cruel industry.
DoVE Project will continue to do all within our power to stand up for dogs in peril. We are grateful for the compassionate actions of so many that brought these dogs to freedom! They will now experience freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from pain, injury and disease, freedom from fear and distress and freedom to express normal behavior. DoVE Project has also pledged to facilitate adoptions of these dogs in the US.
With gratitude we thank the community and surrounding area of Byul Gyo in the South Jeolla Province, CARE, KAWA, KARA, Beagle Network Rescue, the two individual rescue groups, Jinwoo Jung and the bulldozer operator. We will always stand with individuals and organizations that walk the walk to rescue, advocate and campaign to end the horrors of the dog meat industry.