Olympian Gus Kenworthy adopts puppy from Korean dog meat farm during rescue mission

Written by on February 24, 2018 in Celebrity Critters, Critter Crimes - No comments

Gus Kenworthy surely wins the gold medal in kindness.

While competing at the Olympics, the U.S. skier, and his boyfriend Matthew Wilkas, made good on their promise and visited a dog meat farm where they adopted a puppy.

They were there with Humane Society International, which has long been working to shut down the dog meat trade, and is now using the Pyeongchang Winter Games to help shine a global spotlight on the issue.

“This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visited to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea,” the freeskier wrote on social media. “Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable.”

Kenworthy said the rescued dogs from that farm will likely end up in loving homes in the United States and Canada.

But one, named Beemo, will go home with him in just a few weeks after a vet check and vaccinations.

“I cannot wait to give her the best life possible!” he wrote.

Kenworthy and his boyfriend Matthew Wilkas named their new fur-baby Beemo. Gus Kenworthy/Twitter

The Humane Society estimates some 17,000 dog meat farms around Korea and this one was the 11th one it has helped close.

“On February 8th, our team identified a South Korean dog meat farm just miles down the road from the Winter Games,” HSI said after Friday’s visit. “We’re happy to announce that we’ve reached an agreement with the farmer and he has signed a contract to relinquish his 80+ dogs and close the facility down.”

 

HSI said rescue preparations begin next week.

It also asked the public for donations to help transport and care for the animals.

The organization has been trying to shut down the trade Asia, but also improving laws throughout China, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Kenworthy, of course, also rescued animals while competing in Sochi, where he won a silver medal.

In South Korea, he said he saw “inhumane” despite being told this was a farm where the dogs actually lived in “good conditions” before being slaughtered for food.

“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,” he wrote.

His photos are telling.

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 the Korean public at large, 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 here in Korea 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 ❤🐶

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His kindness is not meant as a pot-shot at Korean culture.

“Culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty,” he explained.

“Dogs are friends. Not food,” writes Gus Kenworthy after visiting a dog meat farm in Korea. Facebook

He also took his critics head-on who accused him of “neo-colonialism.”

And called for a way forward.

Photos Gus Kenworthy/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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