Alarming footage has revealed how dogs being farmed in South Korea are forced to eat garbage and meat infested with flies before they are slaughtered.
An Australian film crew has captured graphic footage of a farm at Gimpo, west of Seoul, where 390 dogs were crammed into crowded cages next to dead pooches.
SBS’s Dateline program revealed the horror of South Korea’s controversial dog meat industry, as the government considers banning it altogether.
A struggling farmer, who asked for his identity to be concealed, said he was so poor he resorted to feeding his dogs garbage.
‘The dogs need feeding but I don’t have enough money to put petrol in my car,’ he told SBS.
His farm in the Gimpo suburb of Songma-ri was so crowded dogs were kept in cells 10 cages deep and fed rancid, rotting meat.
Some of his dogs also appeared to be stolen pets wearing their original collars.
SBS filmed the farms during the height of summer when spicy dog meat soup is traditionally served during the final week of the BokNal festival.
They also visited the farm with animal rights activist Jinu Jeong as he negotiated to buy the dogs from the farmer so he could re-home them.
Farms like the one SBS visited face being closed as the South Korean government imposes stricter animal welfare rules.
Animal rights activists have waged a campaign against the cruel treatment of dogs in the farms, by ambushing the slaughterhouses and taking video footage of the awful conditions.
In one scene, a dog farm manager used a stick to fight off the activists as they recorded scenes showing dogs that had just been slaughtered.
In June, a Korean court fined a dog farmer at Bucheon, west of Seoul, three million won, or $A3,735, after animal rights group Care accused him of ‘killing animals without proper reasons’ and violating building and hygiene regulations.
He was convicted by the Bucheon City court, which ruled that meat consumption was not a legal reason to kill dogs.
This ruling is a step towards possible new laws banning dog meat harvesting altogether.
Dog meat consumption has declined in South Korea with the practice now something of a taboo among younger generations.
Authorities invoked hygiene regulations or animal protection laws that ban cruel slaughter methods to crack down on dog farms and restaurants ahead of international events such as the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics earlier this year.