The Yulin dog meat festival has just passed, and now Korea is gearing up for Sambok/Boknal which means "three dog meat eating days." This slaughter is another "tradition" that concocts an excuse to eat dog and cat meat. This 'festival' is touted as a means to 'fight the heat during the summer.' Why are dogs eaten then? Because according to the website Life In Korea, this time period is known throughout the region as the "dog days of summer." Hence, it appears as if many people in South Korea believe that boiling, butchering, torturing and eating dog and cat meat will lower the temperature of their country. The only thing that is guaranteed to 'heat up' are the voices in protest against this abhorrent 'tradition.' The dates for this country's slaughter are based on the lunar calendar and they are on July 13, 23, and August 1 this year.
South Korea has the world's 14th largest economy and is home to global brands such as Samsung, Hyundai, Kia, LG, SK, and Daewoo. Yet this is also a country where an estimated 2.5 million dogs and thousands of cats are slaughtered and eaten each year. It is said that a million dogs are slaughtered during Sambok/Boknal.
The activist group, Save Korean Dogs, is a team, run by Nami Kim, that have been running yearly campaigns to bring awareness and lower the dog meat consumption. 300,000 copies of flyers, T shirts have been printed to be distributed at two locations in Seoul; at the Moran dog meat markets and near city hall. Volunteers are needed to distribute the flyers, reaching out to the crowds, targeting men over the age of 50. This target group is the major consumer of dog meat. The group has found that this is the best way to meet and speak to the dog eaters directly. The dog meat traders and butchers say they make 20-30 bowls of dog meat soup out of one dog. This dog soup is also known as Boshintang. If you can convince 20 men to not partake in the tradition, you are saving a life of a dog.
This tradition has changed ever so slightly. Some regions of the country frown upon eating dog soup, and consider it bad luck. Instead, they believe the best way to "control" the heat is by eating samgyetang, or ginseng chicken soup. However, if one million dogs are still being slaughtered during the 'dog days of summer,' there is still something seriously wrong with their belief system.
If you page through the photos, you can see trucks filled with dogs. Nami Kim, who is in Seoul right now, says that "she sees more and more dog trucks going around stealing and buying the dogs in villages. At night hears people yelling 'Alert,' to warn them to keep their dogs inside so they will not be stolen. Kim has been involved in trying to end this butchery for years. One of the major suppliers to the largest dog meat market in Seoul is Ganghwa Universe Dog Farm.
This farm breeds 500 dogs for the market. Kim says that the amount of bribery involved in this event is worse this year than in the past 50 years. She hears the dog butchers talking in the streets and hear them state that their dogs are "ripe," meaning they are primed and ready to become soup. There is an Animal Protection Act in the country, but it is unenforced.
Kim has also been instrumental in gaining many dogs their freedom, whether by purchasing them outright, or releasing them from their cages. She works with three organizations and rescue groups in the U.S. Guardians of Rescue in New York, whose international lifesaving work is described in the articles below, Marley's Mutts, based in California and Koreandogs.org.
This year, there is a face to go with the campaign to end the slaughter of Korean dogs for food. Her name is Doris. She is a survivor of this horrible "industry," and a movie production team has completed the story of her journey. She is now safe in the U.S. She is one of so many that did not make it out alive. Below is Doris's story, as told to me by Patti Kim.
Doris is a special girl rescued on Christmas day 2014 by an animal activist/advocate, Nami Kim in Busan, Korea. At three-months-old, Doris, her mom and her sibling, were taken to the slaughterhouse. Doris was the only one of her family found when the latch of her cage was opened. She was taken to a poor local animal shelter where she was nurtured and boarded for a month in a small cage. Playing with her only toy, a plastic plate, her breed, Dosa/Tosa Inu, has a slim-to-none chance of adoption. Why? Because at just one-year-old, Tosa Inu meat is so tender, that they are the number one choice for human consumption. Unfortunately, it is believed that her mom and her sibling still remain at the slaughterhouse, expected not to survive the summer.
Via Facebook sharing, Patti learned of Nami Kim and her dedication to educate, rescue, and expose this horrible reality of the dog meat business. Nami asked me if there was a way Doris could get to America. In hindsight, that question would be the miracle that would save her life.
Without having a clue as to the process of international transport, Patti told Nami to get Doris ready for her life-changing trip to America.
"When I hung up the phone, I set up a YouCaring fundraiser for the expenses required and was lucky enough to secure a foster home. On January 23, at 2:30 A.M., her fundraiser was set up. Twenty-four hours later, we raised the funds in full."
By Monday, Patti wired the funds to Korea. Nami was getting Doris ready for her journey. She had to be vetted and receive the necessary paperwork for importation into the U.S. Nami and Patti worked on both ends of Doris' trip, a rescue based on trust and for the love of animals on both parties. On January 30, she was on her way to America!
Patti picked Doris up at noon on January 30, in Los Angeles, California. She was held in customs for three hours; in total, the little girl had been confined to her crate for more than 15 hours. Understandably, the baby had soiled herself in the crate. Patti wiped her down with baby wipes and crawled into her crate to clean that as well, in preparation for the next leg of her journey.
After letting her stretch her legs a bit, Patti, Doris and Patti's friend took a 10 minute ride to a local dog park. They didn't want her to be in the crate again for the 40-minute ride home. Since she had already been fully vetted, with all her vaccinations, there was no possibility for disease transmission to other dogs in the park.
The dog park turned out to be a brilliant idea to decompress from her trip. Expecting her to be fearful, doubtful, reserved, and confused, they didn't know what to expect. However, as soon as Doris was unleashed at the park, she ran for the first time in her life straight to a boy pit bull giving him a full face kiss! She continued to socialize with the other dogs as if she'd known them all her life. She never realized her legs were made to run, as they flopped around like rabbit ears.
After an hour of playing, she slept all the way to Patti's home in her crate padded with soft clean blankets. Patti says, 'I've had many dogs in my life but Doris was beyond special ~ her demeanor and spirit was magical, her ability to adjust was unbelievable, and showed no signs of mental or emotional issues. She was funny, goofy, loving and grateful. Many people were networking on her behalf hoping for a smooth adoption without having to be moved to a different home."
Many new families who wanted to give Doris her forever home were screened and considered. Everyone was holding their breath for Enrique Gamboa. He is a co-owner of Ruff Cutz DTLA, downtown Los Angeles. Enrique is a groomer, dog walker and trainer. Though his heart wasn't ready for a new dog, he agreed to foster her for a week with the consideration of possibly adopting Doris. He later admitted that when he met her, he was already 90% in love with her! Her presence captivated everyone she met.
On February 6, Enrique sent Patti an official letter saying he'd be adopting Doris as his "daughter" to give her the love and the life that she deserves. Patti's fingers were sore from emailing everyone who had been holding their breath. Now they could exhale with gratitude. Through Enrique's beautiful pictures of Doris, everyone witnessed their bond and the start of her new life.
Patti states, if she had not had this chance, "there's no doubt she would have been eaten this summer," during Sambok/Boknal. Doris escaped a torturous death - she is a living proof that a "meat dog" can be a loving pet. And now she is the star of a movie! The trailer for the movie is included in this Examiner article. There are other videos for you to watch from Team Doris here, on YouTube.
There are many ways you can get involved in stopping the dog meat trade. This Examiner has written a number of articles about this horrific practice. The links to these stories are included below. If you doubt that any of this is true, here is a story about 600 stray cats that were boiled alive just this past May. He was a man in his 50's who boiled them alive and then sold them to "Health Food Centers".
One of the main protest websites, which has links to petitions, explains in disgusting detail, "In broad daylight, often in front of other live dogs, they are electrocuted, hanged, beaten, have their throats slashed, or are boiled or burnt to death. This is a profit-driven, tax free, unregulated industry that aggressively promotes the myth that eating a dog's penis enhances male virility and stamina. Koreans claim that the more a dog suffers, the better its meat is. So many dogs are sadistically made to experience extreme fear and suffering prior to death."
You can take part in a protest this month. The International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats will be holding a rally on Thursday, July 23. It is lead by The Animals' Battalion, in solidarity with KoreanDogs.org, as well as countless other animal rights activists worldwide. You can voice your disgust at the South Korean government's indifference in allowing this senseless barbaric trade to continue and help raise awareness about the horrendous suffering inflicted upon our best and most loyal friends - the dogs and cats with whom we share our homes and our lives.
There are also petitions to be signed and sent to the Ambassador of South Korea, should you not be able to attend this rally. Please click below to see what you can do to help on any day of the year.
However, since this slaughter is about to take place, Nami Kim, the driving force behind ending this atrocity, has this to say:
"I don't have a fundraiser, nor a petition site, nothing can help at this time when first Boknal is in 12 days. I have my feet on the ground in the center of Seoul keeping my eyes wide open for twenty hours a day, no one, not a single organization is doing anything, no presence here in Korea but talking about Boknal. The only solution to this, we must get two men, a word from either one of them will make the difference, nothing else can help now."
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon
Facebook Ban Ki Moon
Facebook US ambassador to S.Korea Mark Lippert
If you would like to assist any of the people involved in ending this trade, here is their contact information.
Nami Kim: Advocate/Campaign Organizer firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Gwak: Advocate/Leader email@example.com
Melisa Baek: Advocate/Coordinator
Volunteers are required to fill out the application form, anyone interested, please contact Melisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Patti Kim: Advocate/Coordinator, based in California, all enquiries from US, pls write to email@example.com
Giny Woo: Advocate/Campaigner based in San Jose, California Currently, Seoul, South Korea, is reporting today that there is a new case of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus, bringing to 183 the total number of people diagnosed with MERS in that area. Seoul's Samsung Medical Center has been shut down indefinitely, since the most recent case involved a nurse from that hospital. Of the 183 cases, 33 people have died, the others have either been cured and released, 12 are now listed in critical condition.
As the number of foreign visitors plummets, the country is considering cutting the costs of VISA's to enter South Korea. Perhaps convincing the South Korean politicians to end this brutal massacre will encourage visitors to explore their country in years to come.