Los Angeles-based organization Lady Freethinker went undercover at the Nakwon Auction House in Namyangju, South Korea during the summer and captured photos and videos of the captive dogs. The facility is reportedly advertised as a “dog breeding facility.”
In the video, the dogs are seen squealing in terror as the auctioneer prodded them with a metal hook, Lady Freethinker reported. Smaller dogs were reportedly bought for consumption, while larger breeds were purchased for breeding. The group called it an “auction house of horrors,” saying that more than 200 dogs were sold in just hours.
The operation took place earlier this year, during Korea’s “dog meat days,” or what is believed to be the three hottest days of the year between July and August.
Eating dog meat is no longer common in South Korea and has been declining in popularity. A 2018 survey by Gallup Korea found that 70 percent of respondents do not intend to eat dog meat in the future. Still, some believe that eating dog meat helps them survive the heat during summer days. Koreans from older generations also believe that eating dog meat can enhance one’s sexual stamina.
According to the group Korean Animal Rights Activists (KARA), an estimated 780,000 to 1 million dogs are consumed annually in South Korea.
Eating dog meat is still not explicitly prohibited in the country, so many activists continue to call for a ban on the dog meat trade today. At the moment, authorities are using hygiene regulations and animal protection laws to crack down on dog meat farms.
In June 2018, Rep. Pyo Chang-won of the ruling democratic party proposed an amendment to the Animal Protection Act that would prevent the slaughter of animals not specified as livestock, namely dogs and cats. However, the bill was not passed, The Korea Times reported.
Animal rights groups also conduct their own operations to rescue these dogs. The Humane Society International (HIS) rescues animals from dog meat farms across the country and shuts down such facilities. The group has reportedly freed more than 2,000 dogs and closed 16 dog farms since 2015.