Olympic figure skater Meagan Duhamel of Canada adopted a South Korean dog and she’s imploring her fellow athletes to do the same at the Pyeongchang Winter Games. The young girl is a strong advocate for animal rights.
Duhamel, a two-time world champion, rescued a mini-dachshund named Moo-tae who was supposed to be raised on a Korean dog meat farm. She saved him from being turned into a delicacy, when she visited South Korea last February.
EK Park, the founder of an organization called Free Korean Dogs, facilitates dog adoptions between South Korea and the US and Canada. He helped rescue Moo-tae from a dog farm as a puppy and drove him over eight hours to meet Duhamel while she was competing in Pyeongchang last year in a test run for the Olympics.
The Olympian and her husband, coach Bruno Marcotte flew Moo-tae and another dog named Sara, to Montreal, where the second pup was adopted by another family.
Two million dogs a year are raised on Korean dog meat farms, where they are often locked in cages, beaten or left without food or water.
The games are being held in the Gangwon province where 196 registered dog farms are registered.
Koreans have been eating dog soups for thousands of years, but the practice has been waning. Pet ownership is increasing, dog meat markets are shuttering and President Moon Jae-in adopting a four-year-old mixed breed named Tory after his election.
The restaurants in Pyeongchang were offered government cash if they stopped selling dog dishes during the games, but some declined for fear they’d lose loyal customers.
“I have been selling dog meat for decades. It is really difficult for me to change my menu just because of the Olympics,” Park Young-ae, 60, whose Young Hoon Restaurant is nearly in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium.
Duhamel, a proud vegan, is glad her pup was saved from the slaughter and said he’s adjusting to his new life.
“Most of the time, he just wants to sit in everybody’s arms,” she said. “He doesn’t even care to play, he just walks up to everybody and wants to be held.”
Moo-tae’s front legs are a bit misshapen because of abuse he suffered as a puppy, but the Sochi winner described him as “strong and calm.”
After the Olympics are over, Duhamel has volunteered to fly back to Montreal with another dog and hopes that fellow athletes will follow suit.
The dog is already set to be adopted by another family and won’t be coming home with her, because, “I don’t have the luxury of keeping another dog in my small condo. As much as I would love to.”
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