These lucky pups just escaped a sad fate. Twenty-three canines from a dog meat farm outside of Seoul, South Korea, who spent most of their lives in cages, bred to be consumed, were rescued by the Humane Society International (HSI) earlier this month, and are now destined for new lives in the U.S.
The pups arrived at D.C.-area shelters this week, Buzzfeed reported, to begin a recovery process that will eventually lead to forever homes for them.
"Animal welfare issues exist throughout the world and in our own region and we are always eager to assist whenever can," Tawny Hammond, director of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, which is taking in 10 of the dogs, told The Huffington Post. "We were thrilled to be asked to step in and help give these dogs a second chance at a happily ever after. Just like all pets, they deserve loving homes with families who will care for them throughout their lives."
The rescue was part of an ongoing initiative from HSI to reduce the dog meat trade in East Asia, according the the organization's website. HSI convinced the owner of the farm, Moon Suk Jung, to relinquish the pups and give up the dog meat trade entirely, in exchange for $2,500 to start a blueberry farm.
It's a success that the organization hopes to replicate.
"Our objective is to have this be a permanent change in a cruel trade," Kelly O’Meara, HSI director of companion animals, told the Washington Post. "[This farmer] is the first, and we’re hoping [he is] a model example for others to follow. Offering him some assistance -- that was something we were happy to do."
The animal shelters will eventually place the dogs in the homes they deserve.
"We will work tirelessly to provide them with the very best new, permanent homes in our local community," Neil Trent, CEO of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which is taking in four of the dogs, told HuffPost. "We are receiving calls from people interested in adopting."
While the dog meat trade still persists in some areas in Asia, the Associated Press reported that it has been on the decline in recent years.
This story was originally published on Huffington Post.