The image of a tough guy with a golden heart is ingrained in celluloid lore but there are strong people who win battles whom we know nothing about. The onscreen persona of American Idol host Simon Cowell is that of a tough guy but he displayed a big dose of generosity for the man’s best friend.
He donated a generous amount of $32000 to the Humane Society International, a charity devoted to the issues of animal rights all over the world. The substantial amount had helped shut down a Korean dog meat farm and saved around 200 dogs. It has also drawn international attention to this despicable practice. The animal welfare organization had helped shut down a dozen more similar farms previously and had saved over 1400 dogs. Dogs of all breeds including poodles, collies and Labradors had been kept in deplorable conditions and they were afflicted with diseases when they were rescued.
Dogs have a natural bond with human beings and crave for human affection. Being betrayed by the same humans leaves them depressed and despondent. Simon Cowell’s generosity has inspired fans to chip in with a similar amount. The dogs found homes in countries all over Europe and in the USA and Canada.
The effort did not end with rescuing the dogs. The people behind the trade had to be provided with an alternate means of livelihood and the HSI along with around 83 similar organizations have been involved in weaning workers in such farms to switch to alternative means of livelihood like chili, mushroom and medicinal herb farming.
The closure of every farm in South Korea has shown the government that it is possible and also feasible to look for alternative and more humane means of sustenance. Simon Cowell had put it succinctly when he said that eating a dog is like eating your best friend. His effort is not a one-time thing as he has been actively involved in the noble cause. His effort has also inspired other celebrities to contribute towards ending this trade.
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The effort of these charities is not sufficient. The government of South Korea has to contribute if the initiative is to make any meaningful headway. Recently the dog meat market in Busan, one of the largest in South Korea, was shut down and converted to a public park. The administration has made a small but significant headway by passing laws that make vendors conform to higher standards of hygiene and better conditions for the poor animals. The mayor of Seoul Park Won-Soon has pledged to shut down all slaughterhouses in the capital city. In a significant development, Taiwan became the first country to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat. A concerted effort is also needed by the government to educate the population that there are no medicinal benefits from consuming dog meat as traditionally believed in some Asian countries. A court in Seoul has also recently declared that it is illegal to kill dogs for meat.
The effort of celebrities like Simon Cowell can go a long way in raising awareness worldwide by inspiring fans as well. The charities which are at the forefront can benefit immensely from this support and put an end to this entire industry.
Well, there is hope!