Asia

'Condemned' South Korean dogs find sanctuary in the US

A crate holding two puppies rescued from a South Korean dog meat farm arrives in New York (26 March 2017) Image copyright AP
Image caption Among the recent batch of dogs to be rescued were several puppies

Dozens of dogs that were due to be slaughtered for human consumption have been rescued from South Korea and taken to New York where they will be adopted as pets, animal rights activists say.

The 46 underfed dogs were found in a farm north of Seoul where they awaited death in dirty and dark cages, the Humane Society International said.

The dogs will be placed in emergency shelters before being adopted.

Eating dog meat is commonplace in parts of east Asia.

In South Korea it is a culinary tradition, particularly at the height of summer when three days are designated as special festivals and dishes of dog are served, usually in a highly spiced stew.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Eating dogs remains common in South Korea despite figures suggesting the tradition is declining in popularity
Image copyright AP
Image caption Activists say the dogs were kept in cruel and unhygienic conditions before their rescue

Western campaigners who consider the animals to be household pets have in recent years tried to disrupt the trade by staging mass rescues.

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'No ventilation'

Activists say the farm from where the latest batch of animals was rescued was in the city of Goyang and was "like a dungeon".

"There was very little light and little to no ventilation so the stench of ammonia would bring tears to your eyes when you walked through,'' Humane Society International (HSI) spokeswoman Kelly O'Meara said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The rescued animals will be kennelled before being put up for adoption in the US

HSI on its website says that it reached an agreement with the husband-and-wife dog farmers to permanently close the farm and fly all of the animals to the US on a chartered flight.

The charity says it's necessary to take the animals abroad because there is little to no demand for them in South Korea as pets.

The signs are that dog consumption in South Korea is beginning to drop.

Seoul once had 1,500 restaurants serving dog, but that figure fell to about 700 by 2015.

But there are still an estimated 17,000 dog farms in South Korea, where it is thought about two million dogs are eaten every year.

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