Twenty-three dogs that were destined for dinner plates in South Korea got a second chance at life this week. Rescued from a dog meat farm outside Seoul late last year, 11 of the canines arrived at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria in Virginia on Monday, a first step on their journey to adoption. The remaining 12 dogs are also scheduled to arrive this week.
The group Humane Society International arranged the rescue by working with a South Korean farmer to stop his participation in the dog meat trade. The man agreed to grow crops as a more humane way of making a living, according to the group.
"It's estimated that 1.2 to 2 million dogs are consumed annually in Korea," said Kelly O'Meara, director for Humane Society International's companion animal-related international projects. The Humane Society focuses on eliminating cruel practices in the dog meat trade, she said. Animals on these farms typically live in overcrowded cages that are exposed to the elements and receive very little care or food, O'Meara added.
The newly arrived dogs will spend about a week being monitored for signs of illness or distress and given necessary care, said Megan Webb, executive director of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.
"We will need to limit their stimulation and get them accustomed to being in this new environment," she said.
Once staff members feel that the dogs are ready for adoption, five animal shelters in the region—in addition to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria—will help place the animals in good homes.