2022-These Dogs Were Once Trapped in the Dog Meat Trade. Today, They’re Loved. 


ABBY SophieGamand
“ABBY was a mother with puppies, and a big scar throughout her shoulder. When Abby first arrived in her adoptive house, she feared rugs and stairs, and was fairly timid. Over time, she’s change into extra assured, and can now let her household know when she’d wish to go on walks and if it’s time for her deal with. Abby enjoys climbing, wading in water, and working round off-leash.”
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“WILF was a younger pup on Farm 15, sharing a cage together with his sibling and mom. His first steps as a household canine weren’t straightforward. Wilf was involved with all the things, from individuals to stairs to the collar and leash. It took just a few days earlier than he even let his new people contact him, however sensible Wilf has since tailored like a champ, studying numerous methods alongside the best way. Now he’s one glad canine!”
“WINNIE is blind and is usually a little nervous. She doesn’t like being held for too lengthy, or loud noises, or to be woken up in her sleep. Her mother and father have observed that Winnie loves meditation music — she has a favourite artist, Deva Premal — who soothes her. She loves sleeping by the hearth, and freeze-dried candy potatoes are her favourite snack.”

When Sophie Gamand entered Farm 15, a since-destroyed canine meat farm in Gyeonggi-do province, South Korea, she was overwhelmed by the sounds of barking. “I’ll all the time bear in mind standing in the midst of the cages, making an attempt to take all the things in,” she tells me. “Some canines tempo within the cages, some cover from me, some stretch their paws out for me to the touch them, to offer them with the discharge they so desperately need.”

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Sam at Farm 15

Within the midst of all of it, she discovered Sam. “I don’t know what his story was; the farmer didn’t care about him,” the photographer remembers. “However as quickly as I approached the cage, he wiggled, begging for pets. I put my fingers towards the cage, and he kissed them. Then he rubbed his physique towards my hand, begging for extra. 

“I put my hand contained in the cage as a lot as I may, getting scraped by rust and feces and sticky fur. He flopped on his again and whined, wiggling, kissing–simply so glad. The farmer threw some slop in his bowl, however Sam refused to eat. All he wished was to hang around and be touched.”

She was there with Humane Society Worldwide, the nonprofit rescuing all of the canines, understanding that she’d additionally {photograph} these canine meat commerce survivors as soon as they had been off the farm and adopted into loving properties in the US. Not like most canines within the commerce globally– together with these bred in South Korea for meat, raised on manufacturing facility farms, after which slaughtered–Sam would finally get one other likelihood at life.

In South Korea, HSI is engaged on the bottom with canine meat farmers who wish to get out of the commerce; HSI’s Fashions for Change program helps them transition to animal-free companies, and in flip, the farmers signal a legally binding settlement by no means to reenter the animal enterprise. “The farmers often know one another, so that they’ll transition and inform their buddies, and it’s a word-of-mouth situation,” Gamand says.

farmers attain out to HSI, and every farmer performs an energetic function within the closure of the farm. “Some go on to change into ambassadors for this system,” Gamand says. HSI gives veterinary care, and the canines journey to Canada, the US, or the UK. Once they’re prepared, they’re made out there for adoption. In the meantime, the farms are destroyed, and the farmers transition to sustainable companies, resembling blueberry or water parsley farming.

“The explanation I agreed to participate on this venture is as a result of HSI treats the farmers with dignity,” Gamand says. “I consider that animal welfare begins with human welfare. We can not make a everlasting change for the animals until we assist their people. Serving to these farmers transition to different companies, in dignity, is so highly effective and so essential.” 

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Puppies, together with Soju, at Farm 15

In 2019, Gamand spent two days with the canines at Farm 15, speaking to them by way of the cages. This farm had 90 canines and puppies, fewer than most of those giant manufacturing facility farms. “One factor was essential to me: to go to a farm in particular person,” the artist tells me. “I simply couldn’t think about doing this kind of work with out having set foot on the farm. I wanted to be there, to really feel with all my senses, what it actually meant to be a canine raised on a meat farm. 

“One factor struck me and can stick with me perpetually: the mountain of feces below every cage. It’s that visible. They seemed like grotesque hourglasses, tallying the months, the years of distress, canine after canine in these cages. These mountains are the symbols of a life stolen. The world is all the time out of attain for these canines.”

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Farm 15

On Farm 15, as on comparable farms, the cages had been barren, and the canines’ ft had been rubbed uncooked from standing on naked wire. One had a damaged leg. “Lots of them had been discovered dehydrated, malnourished, and exhibiting untreated accidents and pores and skin situations,” HSI shared on the time. The person farmer at Farm 15 had set out bottles of frozen water to maintain the puppies cooler on sizzling days. However it’s value noting that many canines on different canine meat farms don’t have any such shelter or aid from the weather throughout brutally chilly winters and sizzling summers, little or no food, and no water, as per HSI.   

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Farm 15

In line with HSI, “most canines slaughtered for meat in South Korea are killed by electrocution, though some are additionally hanged.” However the canines of Farm 15 had been fortunate. Many not solely survived however went on to flourish. One of many survivors, Bambi, traveled house with Gamand; throughout these early days, the artist discovered the long-haired chihuahua offered emotional assist following the trauma they’d each witnessed. 

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“BAMBI is a tiny long-haired Chihuahua who traveled again from South Korea with me. I wish to joke that she was my emotional assist canine as I processed what I had skilled on the canine meat farm. It was enjoyable to be reunited for this photoshoot, now that she resides an exquisite life along with her mother, Lindsey. Bambi likes to wave her paw to request stomach rubs. She will get the zoomies after her tub and is simply the sweetest little lady.”

As soon as rescued, the canines had been cared for and rehabilitated in anticipation of discovering properties. “Plenty of these canines have zero expertise exterior their cage,” Gamand explains. “They’ve by no means seen the rest, by no means skilled being touched gently, or walked on a leash.”

After the canines had settled into their new properties, the photographer traveled to go to them, setting up sessions in local studios. She handcrafted elaborate collars for the canines to put on throughout their photoshoots, with the collar symbolizing the promise we make to canines after we carry them into our properties: the vow to take care of, feed, defend, and nourish them. To maintain them secure. 

“DAISY was only a pet when she was adopted years in the past, and she or he’s grown into an attractive, light canine. She completely loves veggies and can shamelessly stroll as much as a stranger’s glass at a bar and begin lapping out of it. Daisy sleeps like a young person, her dad says; she’ll snore and grumble, and allow you to know that, no, she isn’t able to get up but.”

The entire canines featured in Gamand’s Dog Meat Survivors, a venture made in collaboration with HSI, had been adopted. “After I later gathered testimonials from their adopters, it was fascinating to see what number of households talked about the canine being afraid of issues like stairs,” the artist remembers. “Simply not even understanding the idea. Additionally, rather a lot reported their canines having vivid desires–you recognize, once they bark/whine and shake their legs of their sleep.” Little by little, although, they realized to belief. 

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“SOJU BEAR was only a tiny chubby pet once I photographed him on Farm 15 in South Korea. He was dwelling in a wire cage together with his siblings and mother. He grew as much as change into a stunning doggie, filled with character. Soju loves snow, lengthy walks, napping and his household. Regardless that he was solely a child on the farm, it has left an imprint on him. He has vivid desires, hates being confined in a crate, is afraid of huge vehicles and cardboard containers. Soju may not be tremendous cuddly, however within the morning he’ll meet his household with numerous wiggles and kisses, they usually realize it’s from the guts. Soju has his personal Instagram (@Soju_Bear).”

Though in different components of Asia, resembling China and Indonesia, pet canines are routinely stolen for the meat commerce, and in South Korea, pet canines are typically deserted at these farms and bought for meat, most canines in South Korea are bred and factory-farmed for the commerce, with an estimated a million canines raised for human consumption a 12 months. That is despite the truth that the vast majority of individuals in South Korea don’t and wouldn’t eat canines, and 60% assist a legislative ban on the canine meat commerce, based on analysis from HSI. As Gamand notes, the First Girl recently spoke out, urging an finish to canine meat consumption. 

Many farmers within the trade, just like the proprietor of Farm 15, wish to get out of it. He’d heard about HSI’s program by way of a buddy, and having misplaced extra money than he’d made, he didn’t see a future within the animal enterprise. “Fairly than promoting [the dogs] off to merchants, I believed it might be so significantly better if they will dwell their life and never die for meat or dwell the lifetime of a preventing canine,” he said at the time. “That why I’m working with HSI.” Gamand remembers him asking for an image with one of many canines; he mentioned he was excited that she’d have a brand new life within the US.  

It’s a fantasy that solely particular varieties of canines are farmed for meat; whereas tosas and jindo mixes are bred on these farms, so are all varieties of canines. “On the farm I visited, there was a husky, a golden retriever, two Boston terriers, a chow chow, and so forth,” Gamand says. Except for the canines who’re born into the commerce, some are given to those farms by their former house owners.

“CHEWY lived on Farm 15, the farm I visited with HSI. He was a excessive vitality, typical Golden on the farm. His dwelling situations had been unhappy, however he not less than had his personal enclosure the place he may romp round, in contrast to the mutts who lived in small, painful, soiled cages. The farmer definitively had his favorites.

“Chewy scored a house with HSI’s president. He had a bumpy trip at first, struggling to regulate to life as a homed pet. He’s afraid of different canines, would leap throughout individuals and seize their garments, would keep up all evening stress-barking, eat his personal feces… Chewy was a venture for certain.

“However with the assistance of knowledgeable canine behaviorist, numerous love and endurance, Chewy’s household was in a position to flip issues round and now Chewy is a lovable, adjusted companion. His greatest buddy is his cat brother. He did fabulous throughout our photoshoot! As of late, Chewy likes to carry a toy on his walks, or lay his head on them throughout his naps. He has a menagerie of about 15 stuffies to select from, and punctiliously picks one daily.”

One problem is that some individuals consider “pet canines” and “meat canines” as falling into completely different classes. Tosas and jindo mixes, like pit bulls in the US and Canada, are misunderstood. The commerce paints them as “soulless,” so a part of Gamand’s motivation was proving that they’re, in truth, soulful, light, curious, playful, and affectionate–similar to some other canine. 

It’s essential to notice that cruelty to animals isn’t restricted to 1 a part of the world; in the US, roughly a million canines are euthanized yearly as a result of they don’t discover properties. That’s the place Gamand sees parallels between this work and her ongoing advocacy for pit bull-type canines. “Pit bull-type canines are seen (around the globe, not simply right here) as disposable, soulless, ‘vicious,’” she explains. 

“They’re so extremely misunderstood. Equally, tosas are utilized in preventing in SK, and likewise used for his or her meat. Regardless of being South Korea’s Nationwide Canine, Jindo mixes on meat farms are seen as these disposable mutts no one ought to care about. All these canines are seen as less-than, and individuals are instructed by the commerce that they can not make good companions. However that’s not true. All of them have large potential and are so resilient. They’re eager for love and security. Aren’t all of us?”

Gamand can also be cautious to not level fingers at international locations the place the canine meat commerce nonetheless exists; as an alternative, she’s targeted on serving to them finish it for good. In South Korea, she stresses, native animal advocates are pounding the pavement, preventing to finish the commerce. She stands with them.

The journey to Farm 15 was not the primary time Gamand has encountered sick and dying canines. On the animal management middle the place she discovered her personal canine, in Puerto Rico, she witnessed severe cruelty and neglect. However regardless of what number of occasions she sees animals struggling, it doesn’t get any simpler.

“If I let myself really feel an excessive amount of, it will get overwhelming,” the artist says. “Nonetheless, I do wish to really feel as a result of for those who cease feeling, you most likely want to search out one other job. Feeling is essential. If I’ve to cry, I do. Typically I get offended. Most significantly, I channel that disappointment–and the anger that comes with–into my work.”

“LUNA was such a deal with throughout our particular photoshoot! So elegant and soulful! Luna was initially rescued from a canine meat farm in South Korea, the place she was awaiting a merciless destiny. However she now lives the nice life and her and her dad David are fierce ambassadors for rescues of the canine meat commerce (they’ve an Instagram @luna.hermione.leila.from.korea).

“As of late, Luna prefers working free and climbing by way of woods, than strolling on a leash within the metropolis. Similar to many of the rescues from the canine meat commerce, Luna had rather a lot to study. At first, she had threshold points, and on the shelter, she would make herself as invisible as potential. She was afraid of individuals, particularly these scary fishermen whipping their fishing poles by way of the air. Loud noises would make her bolt out the canine door. Even only a sneeze.

“It took loads of love and endurance for David to achieve her belief. Nonetheless, while you pet Luna, it’s arduous to inform whether or not she enjoys it or not. She is so guarded. However as quickly as you cease, she’ll increase her entrance leg and place her paw on you. And you recognize that she is aware of that you recognize.”

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“MOON’s dad discovered himself with loads of free time after the pandemic hit his canine strolling enterprise. He began volunteering at @homewardtrailsrescue to fill the hours, and shortly obtained an e mail a couple of particular transport coming in from South Korea, canines who had been rescued by HSI from the meat commerce.

“As Chris helped carry doggies in crates from the airport to the van then to the shelter, Moon caught his eye. He snapped some pictures and spent the night afterward excited about what it might really feel wish to undertake Moon.
It took three meet-and-greets for Moon let Chris even pet her. She wanted time to belief. However Chris wasn’t prepared to surrender.

“Since then, they’ve change into, in fact, inseparable. Like so many different canine meat survivors, Moon needed to study rather a lot, together with basic items like stairs. At first, she would guard issues – together with her dad, however has mellowed out rather a lot since realizing he isn’t going anyplace! Moon has such an ideal temperament; she helps assess new purchasers for her dad’s canine strolling enterprise (The Fido Group) and she or he completely loves hanging out with different canines. Moon perks up when watching TV, particularly animal exhibits. She’ll sit up and bob her head in curiosity for hours.”

With that concept in thoughts, the photographer handmade every of the collars herself, excited about what supplies would catch the sunshine, transfer with the canine, and create compelling shapes. A few of the adopters drove for hours for the prospect to take part within the venture, and workers from HSI had been current through the classes to assist with dealing with. “They had been so light and reassuring,” the artist says. 

“These canines have been dwelling in properties for some time now – some have for years, however nonetheless, they could be a little shy. So for every canine, we now have to attempt issues. Make them really feel snug round us. I like to consider my shoots as alternatives for these doggies to expertise one thing else in a secure, supportive atmosphere.” 

Gamand doesn’t suppose the canines remembered her from her temporary time on the farm, however she’s okay with that. She remembers all of them, and that’s sufficient for her. Now a part of a household, Sam, the wiggly canine, likes to snuggle up together with his mother and father for naps. He enjoys chasing squirrels, and he frequently embarks on tenting and climbing adventures. “Strolling away from Sam that day in 2019, understanding his journey on the farm was not fairly over but, was actually arduous,” Gamand tells me. “However I knew his launch was coming.”

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“SAMWISE THE BRAVE was an attractive, joyful pup who was significantly excited to make buddies with the individuals who visited Farm 15. Every time I’d strategy his cage, his paw would stretch out to me, and he would flop on his again for stomach rubs. He actually stayed with me after I left the farm. Sam has his personal Instagram (@Samwise_the_brave_dog). His household describe him as light and respectful, but vocal when he needs one thing. He will get very excited to go on adventures together with his adoptive household, and his mother and father take him climbing or tenting frequently.”

Make a donation to HSI and support their life-saving work. Gamand can be opening an exhibition in Los Angeles this fall; observe alongside on Instagram at @sophiegamand for updates. All pictures © Sophie Gamand.

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