Team USA’s Gus Kenworthy is leaving the Winter Olympics with a new puppy who he rescued from a Korean meat farm.
Even though the freestyle skier didn’t win any medals at this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, he did win the heart of a puppy named Beemo.
In a Instagram post Kenworthy announced he and his boyfriend, actor Matthew Wilkas, welcomed their new family member.While announcing Beemo’s adoption, Kenworthy highlighted the plight of dogs at meat farms in South Korea and expressed his wish that others would help raise awareness for the animal welfare efforts underway.
Kenworthy wrote 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!”
It’s not the first time the Olympic athlete has highlighted the plight of homeless dogs.
In 2014, he adopted two puppies he found near Olympic Village in Sochi, Russia, and went through the long process of arranging to bring them back home to America. Those two Sochi pups Jake and Mishka are happy and healthy and now live with Kenworthy’s ex-boyfriend in Canada and have become social media darlings.
Kentworthy is not the first Olympian to adopt a puppy in South Korea. Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel has rescued a dog from the South Korea dog meat trade a year prior to participating in the Winter Games and said she plans on saving more before she leaves Pyeongchang.