Everyone needs to give a giant round of applause to Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy. While competing in Pyeong Chang, South Korea during the 2018 Winter Olympics he was able to convince a South Korean dog farmer to close down the operation, rescuing 90 dogs.
Kenworthy is a freestyle skier and used his position as an Olympian in Pyeong Chang to bring awareness and attention to the inhumane treatment of dogs in the country. Thankfully, Kenworthy was able to team up with the Humane Society International to convince the farmer to stop his ‘farming.’
Ninety of the dogs that were rescued ended up being transported to the United States and Canada for medical treatment and shelter placement. All of them will soon have forever homes, there’s no doubt about that.
One dog named Beemo, though, was lucky enough to find a home right off the bat – with Kenworthy. However, this really comes as no surprise given the Olympian’s history as an animal advocate. In 2014, during the Sochi games, he helped rescue five strays that he met while in the city.
Eating Gaegogi, or dog meat, has been a tradition for a very long time in both North and South Korea, along with other regions. However, due to sanitation issues and cruelty concerns, the practice is extremely controversial. According to Unilad, “South Korea adopted its first Animal Protection Law in Ma 1991, it never prohibited the slaughter of dogs for their meat, simply banning the killing of animals in brutal ways.”
Unlike pork or chicken, dogs do not fall under the Livestock Processing Act of 1962, which means, “there are no regulations when it comes to slaughtering dogs for meat and this leads to them being killed in numerous cruel ways, including electrocution, strangulation and some are even allegedly beaten to death.”
People who want to still prepare and consume Gaegogi argue that it should be regulated just like every other meat. They claim that as long as the meat is prepared in a humane and sanitary way, there shouldn’t be an issue. Of course, many people want the practice to stop completely.
The practice, however, does seem to be dying out amongst younger generations in South Korea. According to a 2007 survey by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, 59 percent of Koreans under 30 would not eat dog.
On February 23rd, Gus Kenworthy posted the following picture on Instagram with the caption that contains this excerpt: “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.”
We couldn’t be more thankful, grateful, and proud of Gus Kenworthy for all that he has done. Not only is he an incredible Olympian, but he’s an amazing animal lover with a heart of gold. We definitely need more people like him in the world.
Tell us what you think of Kenworthy’s actions while competing in Pyeong