Gus Kenworthy said after the 2014 Sochi Games that he wasn't done rescuing dogs. The Team USA freestyle skier, who won silver four years ago and represented the U.S. in slopestyle this month in Pyeongchang, South Korea, delivered on that promise this week.
The 26-year-old athlete, who made headlines for saving five stray dogs in Russia during the last Winter Olympics, toured a local dog meat farm on Friday, as CBS News reported, and he left the facility with a puppy of his own.
Careful not to criticize Korea for its culture's long practice of consuming cat and dog meat, Kenworthy shared on Instagram that he is most bothered by the farms that lack upkeep. And that, according to his post on Friday, is what prompted him to adopt a dog from the site he visited -- one that apparently drew the ire of Humane Society International for leaving its animals "malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens and exposed to the freezing winter elements."
This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visited 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 ❤️🐶
Controversy over the dog meat trade in South Korea is nothing new.