Watch: South Korea Shuts Down One of the Biggest Dog Meat Markets, More Than 80 Dogs Saved

Posted by Christy Caplan
Jean Chung/For HSI
Jean Chung/For HSI

Imagine you are walking down the street and what do you see? Dogs in cages on display at the Gupo dog meat market. The images and videos in this post have disturbing content and I want to warn you before you dive in.

Humane Society International (HSI) announced that South Korea shut down the Gupo dog meat market in the latest crackdown on the unpopular dog meat trade and more than 80 dogs were saved from slaughter. They reported that this marks the end of a gruesome era.

The Gupo Market is one of the largest dog meat markets in South Korea.

The statement on their site reports that South Korean authorities have shut down Gupo dog meat market in Busan, notorious for being one of the country's largest markets selling chilled dog meat as well as live dogs killed to order.

"More than 80 live but terrified dogs were rescued as part of a negotiated closure with the dog meat vendors who will be offered compensation to set up alternative businesses as part of a remodeling project to regenerate the area."

The dogs are now in the care of animal charities Humane Society International/Korea, Korean Animal Welfare Association, Korea Animal Rights Advocates and Busan Korean Alliance for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who worked with the authorities to close Gupo market.

Everyone should post 'over the top' messages on their Facebook pages congratulating them for their hard work and persistence with authorities to close this meat market. These dogs were at a dog meat market and now they have a chance at finding a forever home. Grab Kleenex and watch this video.

Nara Kim, dog meat campaigner for Humane Society International/Korea who attended the closure and rescue, says: 

"I cannot express enough my joy at helping to close down the dog meat shops and slaughterhouse at Gupo market. For decades they have stood as a very public symbol of the immense cruelty of the dog meat trade, with live dogs displayed in cages on the street for shoppers to select for slaughter by electrocution. The closure of Gupo's dog meat market means the end of a gruesome era in South Korea's dog meat history, and a sign of the times that law enforcement and local authorities are cracking down on this increasingly unpopular industry that most Koreans want nothing to do with. I know we have a long way to go to end the dog meat trade here, but even two years ago I would never have believed we would see such progress. It has been a pleasure to work with the Busan authorities, and especially in being able to save the last remaining dogs we found alive."

 

South Korea Dog Meat Market Rescue
Jean Chung/For HSI

Here are some additional statistics that HSI provides in the press release that are mind-numbing.

  • At the height of business at Gupo in the 1970s and 1980s, the market housed around 60 dog meat shops but after the Seoul Olympic in 1988, it started to decrease.
  • Just 17 dog meat vendors and two dog tonic (gaesoju) shops remained before today's closure.
  • Busan city veterinarians will give all the rescued dogs a health check, and further care and vaccinations will be performed by HSI and partnering local groups. Every dog will be tested for the presence of the H3N2 virus (dog flu), and vaccinated against rabies, DHPP, coronavirus vaccines, distemper, and parvo. The dogs will then be quarantined in Korea under the groups' care before traveling to Canada and the United States.
  • The decision by the Busan authorities to close the dog market at Gupo is the result of lots of factors, not least years of protests by local residents and Korean animal groups including CARE, and Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation.

HSI/Korea's rescue team was on site to assist the closure and rescue with partners KARA, KAWA and Busan KAPCA. They found more than 80 mainly jindo mix dogs cowering in their cages, just a handful of the estimated 2 million dogs bred on thousands of dog meat farms across the country. 

Dog meat farms? The world is a scary place when you read stories like this one.

We should all be celebrating this wonderful news. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

WATCH NOW: Pets Lead to Good Health

 

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Watch: South Korea Shuts Down One of the Biggest Dog Meat Markets, More Than 80 Dogs Saved