57 Canines Rescued From Dog Meat Farm Are Brought To US To Be 'Treasured' In Forever Homes

03/25/2015 01:22 pm ET | Updated Mar 25, 2015

Dozens of dogs who were destined for a sad fate are now getting a new beginning.

Animal rights group Humane Society International (HSI), along with Change for Animals Foundation, rescued 57 dogs from a meat farm in South Korea, earlier this month, a representative from HSI told The Huffington Post. By last Thursday, all the dogs had been brought to California, and are currently in the care of the San Francisco SPCA, as well as a few other local animal shelters, where they will recover until they are ready for adoption.

A few of the dogs, after having been rescued.

Some of these dogs were in a terrible state both physically and mentally," Lola Webber, HSI Asia campaign manager, said in a press release. "As soon as we opened their cage doors and they realized we weren’t going to harm them, they wagged their tails and licked our faces."

Tae Hyung Lee, the farmer that bred the dogs, had been involved in the dog meat industry for about 20 years. Feeling pressure from family members who had expressed discontent with his practice, Lee was ready and willing to work with the animal organizations to leave the meat trade, the press release stated. Lee agreed to stop farming dogs and start growing produce instead.

A dog that was rescued.

It's a change the farmer was eager to make, and it's also one, Lee says, that others involved in the industry may be willing to undergo as well.

“I think a lot of people want to get out of the dog meat trade ... people don’t like dog meat like [they did] in the past,” the farmer explained.

Kelly O'Meara, HSI director of companion animals, told HuffPost in an email that the shelters will make the dogs available for adoption based on their own protocols and the dogs' individual needs.

For the dogs, their second chances are just beginning.

“These lucky dogs will live the rest of their lives as valued and treasured members of a forever family in the United States," said Adam Parascandola, HSI’s director of animal protection and crisis response. "These amazing animals are full of character, and will make loving and loyal companions."

HSI has rescued canines from meat farms in the past. In January, the organization brought 23 dogs from a South Korean meat farm to Washington, D.C., to start new lives. The group convinced the farmer to leave the dog meat trade and start a blueberry farm.

While the dog meat trade is still alive in South Korea, people in the industry say that the meat's consumption has been on the decline in recent years, as the food is unpopular among the younger generations, the Associated Press reported.

To learn more, visit Humane Society International's website here.


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