Belfast Telegraph

Dame Judi Dench adds her support to South Korea dog meat ban effort

The Oscar winner is horrified by Humane Society International study into dog food farms.

Dame Judi Dench is among the celebrities who have signed a letter urging the U.K.'s new Foreign Secretary to take "decisive action" over South Korea's dog meat farms.

Ahead of a parliamentary debate on the country's factory farming of dogs for human consumption on Monday afternoon (12Sep16), activists urged politicians to "use diplomatic influence" to help close the estimated 17,000 farms, where up to three million dogs are bred in filthy, deprived conditions until they are killed by electrocution, hanging or beating, according to the Humane Society International.

Dench joined the likes of actor Peter Egan, Jenny Seagrove, and author Jilly Cooper in signing the letter addressed to Boris Johnson, the U.K.'s new Foreign Secretary.

The correspondence reads: "This debate is a vital chance for MPs to discuss measures to stop the uniquely cruel intensive farming of up to 3 million dogs each year in South Korea, who are raised and killed largely to be made into a supposed ‘health’ soup - boshintang...

"In recent months, draft amendments have been submitted to South Korea's Animal Protection Act that offer a real opportunity to move towards an end to the dog meat trade. We urge the U.K. government to vigorously encourage such legislative reforms, as well as to offer insights into the successful government-orchestrated phase-out of fur farms in the UK that offers a template for reform that South Korea could follow."

Humane Society International officials have already shut down five dog farms, rescuing more than 500 dogs and finding them homes in the U.S. and Canada. The charity is currently raising funds to shut down a sixth farm near the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Claire Bass, the executive director of Humane Society International/U.K. says, "Our dog farm closures reveal the horrifying truth about these places - dogs confined in tiny, barren cages, exposed to the bitter cold winters or the intensely hot summers, many exhibiting classic stereotypical behaviour of animals struggling to cope.

"Their lives are monotonous and deprived, their deaths often protracted and brutal, with all this suffering simply for a meat delicacy that is eaten rarely by most South Koreans.

"Britain prides itself on being world leaders in animal welfare, so we're asking the Government to make that reputation genuinely mean something for these dogs. With more and more politicians and citizens in South Korea speaking out against the dog meat trade, now is the time for Britain to add its support."

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