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Olympian Gus Kenworthy rescues 90 dogs from Korean meat farm

PYEONGCHANG — Olympian Gus Kenworthy isn’t bringing home a medal for the red, white, and blue, but he is leaving PyeongChang with a pretty great consolation prize. He’s bringing home a new furry friend.

Kenworthy competed for the U.S. in slopestyle skiing, finishing 12th, but he’s earning plenty of admiration for his actions off the slopes.

After his competition was finished, Kenworthy visited a Korean dog meat farm with his boyfriend Matt Wilkas, an experienced he described as “heart-wrenching.” Kenworthy documented the experience on Instagram.

This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don't personally agree with it, I do agree that 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. I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in "good conditions" by comparison to other farms. The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes. Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade. Luckily, this particular farm (thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who's seen the error of his ways) is being permanently shut down and all 90 of the dogs here will be brought to the US and Canada where they'll find their fur-ever homes. I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible! There are still millions of dogs here in need of help though (like the Great Pyrenees in the 2nd pic who was truly the sweetest dog ever). I'm hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes! Go to @hsiglobal's page to see how you can help. #dogsarefriendsnotfood #adoptdontshop ❤️🐶

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Kenworthy said with the help of Humane Society International, they are working with the farmer to get the operation shut down, and then moving on to finding homes for all the 90 dogs rescued.

“This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable,” Kenworthy wrote on Instagram. “Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don’t personally agree with it, I do agree that 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.”

But there is one that has already found a forever home; Kenworthy will be keeping one for himself, which he named Beemo.

New Olympics. Same me.

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This isn’t the first time Kenworthy has gone out of his way to help dogs at the Games. He brought back two stray pups he found near the Olympic Village in Sochi four years ago.

Read more about Humane Society International’s work to stop the dog meat trade in Korea here.