Simon Cowell had an emotional first meeting with a dog his generous donation to animal charity Humane Society International helped to rescue along with more than 200 other dogs on a squalid dog meat farm in South Korea.

The meeting between Simon and Robin the maltese-cross took place during an interview with Robin’s adopter, Good Morning Britain’s Philippa Tomson, who herself has travelled out to South Korea twice with HSI charity to see our dog meat campaign in action.

Speaking of HSI’s end dog meat campaign and Ms Tomson’s support, Simon said: “This is difficult for me … but it is important because without people like you, he’d basically be in someone’s stomach. Now you think about that, right? And dogs will give up their lives for you. They really would…and they’ll look after your kids, they put their lives in front of your kids. I’ve seen it with my dogs, and my dogs are tiny. So what you do is so important, bless you.”

Humane Society International has so far permanently closed down 16 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,000 dogs, 30 of whom now live in happy homes in the UK. HSI works with dog meat farmers who want to leave the dying industry, and helps them switch to more humane alternative livelihoods such as mushroom or chili growing. The charity hopes its successful model will encourage the Korean government to adopt the phase-out plan and expand it nationwide to end the industry for good.

HSI’s Wendy Higgins, who was at the dog farm closure to rescue Robin, says: “Simon’s generous donation helped us save Robin and all the dogs languishing on the meat farm. We found them in the most appalling conditions, stuck in barren, rusty wire cages, and many of them were really suffering. With every dog farm we close and every farmer we help switch to a more profitable, humane business, we’re demonstrating to the South Korean government that it’s possible to end this cruel trade. Most people in South Korea don’t eat dogs, and there are increasingly vocal calls in the country for an end to this brutal industry.”

Some of the 30 dogs now living in happy homes in the UK include Pumpkin the jindo in Surrey, Winston the boston terrier in Hampshire, Molly the jindo mix in Camberley, and Penny the spaniel mix in Farnborough, who were all fated to have been amongst the more than one million dogs who would have been electrocuted, butchered and eaten during this Bok Nal season. They were rescued by HSI from a dog meat farm in November 2019. Other dogs now living happy lives in the UK include Nara the jindo in Devon, Millie the spaniel in Staffordshire, Sandie the Labrador in Nottinghamshire, Henry the golden retriever in Brighton, and Roxy the jindo in south west London.

Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia, including in South Korea where around 2 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them will be sold to butchers for Bok Nal season which began this week, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup. Although most people in South Korea don’t regularly eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the blood during the hot summer still holds with many, particularly the older generation.

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