Gus Kenworthy can not only call himself an Olympic skier, but he also can call himself a ‘saver of animals’. Gus successfully managed to convince a South Korean dog farmer to shut down his farm and rescued over 90 dogs from a grisly fate.
Gus Kenworthy is a freestyle skier for the USA, who competed in this year’s 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. While he may not have left the games with a medal, he left having achieved something even more important; he saved the lives of nearly 100 innocent dogs.
Working with the Humane Society International, Kenworthy used the games to spotlight the inhumane treatment of dogs in South Korea and managed to convince a farmer to close his farm.
The free dogs will be taken to the US and Canada where they can live happy lives, hopefully becoming adopted by loving families. Well, except for one dog which Gus kept for himself; little Beemo.
Taking to Instagram to spread awareness of his mission, Kenworthy wrote:
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.
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 some, 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 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 ❤️?
This isn’t the first time that Kenworthy has rescued dogs while competing at the Olympics. Back in 2014, while competing at the Sochi games in Russia, he saved five stray dogs off the street who were roaming the city.
In Korea, dog meat (known as ‘Gaegogi) is a traditional food. Allegedly, it is used in recipes to ‘restore virility’. But the practice is controversial due to sanitary and animal rights concerns.
Hopefully, Kenworthy’s efforts will make a significant impact in the fight against inhumane killing of dogs for meat. He has certainly made a significant difference in the lives of the 90 dogs he saved this winter.
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