Skier's Post About Dog Meat Farms Causes Uproar

Critics accuse Gus Kenworthy of imposing Western ideals on Eastern countries
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2018 2:44 PM CST
Olympic Skier's Adopted Dog Causes Stir
In this Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, photo, American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy plays with a dog at a dog meat farm in Siheung, South Korea.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and his partner adopted a dog from a dog meat farm during their time in South Korea for the Pyeongchang Games—and the apparently sweet move has stirred quite a bit of controversy, the BBC reports. The US skier posted about the adoption on his Instagram page last week, describing his visit to one of South Korea's 17,000 dog meat farms "heart-wrenching" and calling for an end to what he says are inhumane practices at the farms, which raise an estimated 2.5 million dogs for food. Others on social media were quick to call Kenworthy out for imposing Western ideals on Eastern society; some pointed out that many Koreans are actually against the practice of eating dogs while others noted that the US slaughters many more chickens, cows, pigs, and other animals than the number of dogs killed for food in Asian countries.

"I’m not here to make a statement about the morality of eating animals, and the subsequent social constructs," tweeted US-based journalist Joon Lee, one of Kenworthy's main critics. "But the imposition of western standards puts a strong spotlight on a dying stereotype among Korean people that I think is unfair and misrepresentative of culture." Kenworthy, who also rescued stray dogs in Sochi during his time at the 2014 Olympic Games there, responded on Twitter, "That's why I wanna help! Most young Koreans ARE against it & bc farming dogs is a much smaller industry than other livestock there's an opportunity to make real change! I'm sorry if it seemed like I was judging Korean ppl. I'm not. I just wanna help end the dog abuse!" The farm he visited is being shut down and homes are being found for the dogs in the US and Canada. (Kenworthy also made headlines this Olympics for a message to VP Mike Pence.)

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