Including a pup for himself he named Beemo.
This post was originally published on February 27, 2018, but the story has been edited to reflect Kenworthy's decision to compete for Great Britain in 2022.
Gus Kenworthy is a powerful freestyle skier. He will ride for Great Britain in 2022 and is a two-time Olympian, bringing home the silver medal in 2014 for the United States from Sochi, Russia. He brought something different home from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics however, but some may argue these were better than medals.
Gus posted the news on Instagram that he and his boyfriend helped shut down one of South Korea's many dog farms. The 90 emaciated and abused dogs will now be going back to the United States and Canada to try to find "fur-ever homes."
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This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don't personally agree with it, I do agree that it's not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty. I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in "good conditions" by comparison to other farms. The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes. Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade. Luckily, this particular farm (thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who's seen the error of his ways) is being permanently shut down and all 90 of the dogs here will be brought to the US and Canada where they'll find their fur-ever homes. I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible! There are still millions of dogs here in need of help though (like the Great Pyrenees in the 2nd pic who was truly the sweetest dog ever). I'm hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes! Go to @hsiglobal's page to see how you can help. #dogsarefriendsnotfood #adoptdontshop ❤️🐶
Gus and his boyfriend Matt Wilkas (Gus was also one of the first Olympians to identify as gay) toured a dog meat farm and were understandably disturbed. The dogs were stuffed in cages and when it was time to be disposed of, they were electrocuted in front of all the other dogs. The scene was similar to what USA TODAY journalists witnessed during their heart-wrenching visit to a dog farm just miles from the Olympic Village in PyeongChang.
Gus wrote in the Instagram post:
"The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes."
This particular farm is being shut down with the help of Humane Society International and it seems the owner seems repentant and has "seen error in his ways."
Dog is eaten on the menu in countless restaurants in South Korea. There are an estimated 17,000 dog meat farms supplying these restaurants and while some dogs are bred for meat at the farms or found as stray dogs, others are stolen pets and sold into the trade. The disturbing conditions the dogs are kept in is also not right from an animal welfare standpoint.
While it is considered a tradition to eat dog meat in certain Asian countries, Korean culture claims it has "mythical properties that boost restorative powers and increase virility," dog meat is largely consumed by the older population.
Many in South Korea believe that the tradition will fade with time with more and more Koreans keeping dogs as pets including President Moon Jae-In. Countries like Taiwan have already banned the sale of dog meat.
Gus adopted two dogs after the Winter Games in Sochi, and has officially kept one new furry friend from PyeongChang. Gus and Matt named her Beemo and they can't wait to give her the best life.
Gus hopes to bring awareness to the mistreatment of dogs all around the world with his Olympic status, including right at home in the U.S.
"I'm hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes!"
He urges fellow dog lovers to visit the Humane Society' International's website to see where they can help.
What do you think of skier Gus Kenworthy saving all these dogs? Tell us in the comments below.
All images via Gus Kenworthy/Instagram