Behind the fireworks, flags and events, there has been an ugly issue hanging over the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. It’s not doping, nor is it a controversial score given out by a judge. The issue I’m writing about is the peddling of dog meat in local restaurants in Korea. It’s true that the government of South Korea asked restaurants in the Pyeongchang area to halt the sale of dog meat during the Winter Olympics, but reports are proving that those restaurants have not heeded the government’s request.
This has become a heated topic for international visitors who have traveled to Pyeongchang for the games. The sight of helpless dogs ending up on the dinner table is too much for attendees to stomach and has helped to bring the issue out into the open.
Before we go any further into the overall issue, we must understand the numbers behind this awful practise. First of all, there are NO legal consequences for selling dog meat in South Korea, though we must also state that it’s frowned upon by most citizens, especially by the younger generation. As a younger generation reaches adulthood, their views on dogs are much different than their parents’ generation. The younger generation tend to view dogs more as pets than a food source and that in turn is changing the dynamics of the dog meat industry in the country. But it’s just not enough! South Koreans kill an estimated two million dogs each year for food, consuming 100,000 metric tons of dog meat, according to the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C. And it’s estimated that over 30 million dogs are killed worldwide for food each year.
So what can be done?
Follow the actions of a gold medalist! Meagan Duhamel, won a gold medal for Canada in team figure skating at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, But it was what she did off the rink that won the hearts of dog lovers around the globe. Duhamel who is a vegan, saved the lives of two dogs that would have ended up on the dinner table. During the Olympic test run last year in Pyeongchang, Duhamel connected with EK Park, who runs Free Korean Dogs, which facilitates dog adoptions between South Korea and the US and Canada. With Park’s help she was able to adopt a beautiful mini-dachshund named Moo-tae, literally saving it’s life.
Now if that’s not worth a gold medal, what is? And now she is planning on flying back from the Olympics with not only a gold medal, but also with a rescue pup for a family in Canada.
Duhamel is also pushing other athletes to join in the fight! She has reach out to numerous fellow athletes to encourage them to bring home a pup as well as their medals and memories. But you can win a gold medal for dog adoption too! There are a few great organizations operating to save Korean dogs from the dinner table. Two that are widely recommended are Free Korean Dogs, a U.S. and Canada-based rescue organization, and Korean K9 Rescue. Check out the website for more details and see how you can be an Olympic hero.