Over 50 dogs have been rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea, where the animals were kept in conditions akin to a “dungeon”, a charity has said.
The Humane Society International rescued 55 dogs from the South Korean farm, flying them to America where they have been sent to emergency shelters, 46 of which have been sent to New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
The charity, which is funded through private donations, said the dogs had been kept in near darkness at the farm in Goyang, outside Seoul, and were given barely enough food to live on.
Kelly O’Meara, who oversees the organisation’s companion animal-related international projects, said the farm “was more like a dungeon, where there’s very little light, little to no ventilation, so the stench of ammonia would bring tears to your eyes when you walk though.
“You’d see eyes peering at you, but it was hard to actually see the dogs themselves in the dark,” she added.
The charity’s director of animal protection and crisis response, Adam Parascandola, expressed shock at the state of the dog farm despite his years of working on the campaign.
“Most [of the dogs] appear to have had little human contact and many of them are understandably very frightened of people, cowering as we approach and trying to hide in corners,” he said. “But we know from experience that once we take them to a safe place and they feel secure and loved, they’ll learn to trust.”
The dogs will now have their behaviour assessed and their medical needs met as they are evaluated for adoption.
The organisation has shut down seven farms since 2015, rescuing more than 800 dogs in the process. Its work sees the charity engage with dog farm owners to help them to financially transition into other work as they close down the dog meat farms.
It is estimated there are still an estimated 17,000 such farms operating across South Korea alone, rearing more than 2.5 million dogs for human consumption.
Additional reporting by AP