While a Canadian figure skater is chasing after a gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, she’s also helping save dogs from the Korean meat market.
Meagan Duhamel rescued her puppy Moo-tae while competing in Pyeongchang last year, according to The Associated Press.
Moo-tae is a dachshund mix who was unfortunately born into the Korean dog meat trade.
Duhamel is a figure skater, vegan and dog lover, and rescued the 2-year-old puppy through the adoption group called Free Korean Dogs.
Ever since she brought him back home with her to Montreal, the skater and her dog have spent time doing yoga and playing at the dog park.
“He’s like a saint,” Duhamel said.
Around 2 million dogs each year are raised in extremely poor conditions on Korean dog meat farms.
If Moo-tae was not saved, he probably would have been sold and killed to be served in soup, which is considered a delicacy among the older generations.
Free Korean Dogs was founded by EK Park who was born in South Korea but currently lives in Toronto. Specifically, Park oversees the adoptions that bring dogs to Canada and the U.S.
Moo-tae was rescued from the meat farm by Buddhists in the southern part of South Korea and Park discovered him at the monastery.
“He loved to sit with the Buddhas during meditation and yoga,” Duhamel said. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, maybe this dog has some special spiritual energy.’ That was really why I chose him.”
The adoptions, however, are not possible without people volunteering to fly to Canada or the U.S. with the dogs.
“We have to really rely on flight volunteers flying from Korea to Canada,” Park said, according to the AP. “That’s like 90 percent of what we do.”
Park and Duhamel hope other Olympic athletes might consider being flight volunteers after the Winter Olympic Games this year.
Duhamel, American skier Gus Kenworthy and American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis have all appeared in a public service announcement about the dog meat trade in South Korea.
The Canadian skater hopes to help shut down a Korean dog meat farm after she competes as well. She’s already arranged with Park to fly home another rescue dog when she returns to Canada, though she will be delivering it to an eager family instead of keeping the dog herself.
“I don’t have the luxury of keeping another dog in my small condo,” Duhamel said. “As much as I would love to.”
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