American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy is coming back from PyeongChang with something better than a medal.
Kenworthy posted on social media Friday about his decision to adopt a puppy from a South Korean dog meat farm and the disturbing things he’d witnessed when he visited the farm.
“There is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while I don’t personally agree with it, I do agree that it’s not my place to impose western ideals on the people here,” Kenworthy wrote in a statement posted on Twitter and Instagram. “The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty.”
Kenworthy, who also adopted several stray dogs at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, four years ago, said the dogs at the farm were malnourished and living in horrifically cramped pens. They had no shelter from the cold winters and hot summers in South Korea. Roughly 2 million dogs are killed for consumption each year in South Korea, according to the Animal Welfare Institute.
Happily, all the dogs at the farm Kenworthy and his boyfriend, Matt Wilkas, visited are getting new homes in the US and Canada because of the Humane Society International, which succeeded in getting the farm shut down. Kenworthy and Wilkas are bringing home a fluffy, gray and white puppy they’re naming Beemo.
Kenworthy placed 12th in the slopestyle final, competing through a broken thumb and hip injury. Now, he’ll have a new best friend as his recovery buddy.Nora Princiotti can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @NoraPrinciotti.