PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (CBS Local) — An Olympic figure skater went to South Korea last year to rescue dogs from the country’s controversial meat trade, and now she’s back and taking home a gold medal.
Canadian pairs skater Meagan Duhamel — a two-time world champion — rescued her mini-dachshund Moo-tae from a South Korean meat farm last February. Working with the non-profit Free Korean Dogs, Duhamel adopted the two-year-old while she was in the country for Olympic trial runs. The skater and her husband also brought another meat farm rescue back to Canada to be adopted by another family.
“We have a lady that walks our dogs every day while we’re training, and she says Moo-tae is the most popular dog in the dog park,” Duhamel said, via CBS News.
One year later, the 32-year-old and her skating partner Eric Radford helped Team Canada take home the gold medal in the figure skating team event.
The Olympian’s story has brought attention to South Korean’s controversial dog meat industry, which reportedly sees nearly two million canines raised on meat farms before being sold and slaughtered.
“I have been selling dog meat for decades. It is really difficult for me to change my menu just because of the Olympics,” local restaurant owner Park Young-ae said.
Animal rights groups like Humane Society International have lobbied for South Korea to ban the slaughter and eating of dogs. There are 196 registered dog farms in the province hosting the 2018 Olympic games alone.