Home / Nature / 'I am still haunted' Downton Abbey star Peter Egan tells of dog meat farm horror

'I am still haunted' Downton Abbey star Peter Egan tells of dog meat farm horror

The popular actor and animal campaigner relived the nightmare of visiting the stinking South Korean farm with its suffering dogs on the eve of the notorious Bok Nal carnage.

A million dogs are expected to die in coming weeks as South Koreans dine on their flesh in the belief it improves stamina and virility. 

Last year, the Downton actor joined a Humane Society International rescue team in South Korea and has now re-lived the shocking experience.

He told a reception at the Palace of Westminster: “The dog meat farm I visited with HSI was like something out of a horror story, a dreadful place where 200 beautiful dogs were kept in deplorable conditions until they’re sold or slaughtered.

“I am still haunted by the gut-churning stench of that place. Learning about the hundreds more dogs rescued by HSI from facilities just like the one I experienced, fills me with hope that we might one day be able to end this barbaric business once and for all.”  

MPs and animal welfare campaigners heard from the actor at the VIP event held to spotlight the cruelty of what has become known as the Bok Nal days and which sees huge numbers of dogs electrocuted and hanged to be made into a peppery soup called bosintang. 

More than 2.5 million dogs spend their entire lives living in barren metal cages, awaiting their fate. It can take five minutes for a dog to die, with many killed in full view of other terrified animals.

Yet there are hopes the tide is turning to save the animals.

Guests heard how 850 dogs have been rescued by HSI from South Korean meat farm “death rows” – the only known country where the animals are intensively farmed for the table. There are as many as 17,000 farms operating.

Besides rescuing dogs, HSI has also managed to shut down eight dog meat establishments, persuading the farmers to grow crops such as blueberries instead.

There are also hopes that the Korean authorities will hasten the end of the dog meat markets, with youngsters turning their back on the tradition and the country’s animal welfare campaigners growing in number.

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in recently adopted a dog meat farm rescue called Tory while the British Ambassador in Seoul has taken on a dog called Caspian from a farm closed by HSI earlier this year.

Henry Smith, Conservative MP for Crawley and Co-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare, sponsored the HSI reception. 

He said: “Asia’s dog and cat meat trade is a source of enormous concern for many millions of British people, and HSI’s stories of farms closed and dogs rescued give cause for optimism that the suffering will stop.

“I know I speak for many MPs who support our Government using diplomatic channels to encourage positive change for dogs in South Korea.”

HSI UK’s executive director Claire Bass added: “Attitudes and behaviours are changing in South Korea and we’re hopeful that the country’s new president will take action to hasten an end to the dying dog meat trade, helping millions of dogs and thousands of dog meat farmers.”

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