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Dogs from 'meat farm' in South Korea arrive in San Diego for adoption

Twenty-nine dogs that were once part of a "meat farm" in South Korea arrived Thursday in San Diego for possible adoption, part of a Humane Society program that hopes to end the Korean tradition of eating dog meat.

"The dog meat trade is one of the most horrific forms of cruelty," said Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society.

The Humane Society International has taken possession of more than 100 dogs from a South Korean farmer in recent months, paying the farmer to transition to other crops, according to news coverage in Korea.

The dogs have been sent to Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chapters in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento.

The 29 dogs -- mostly mastiffs, Jindo-mixes and Chihuahuas -- arrived Wednesday night on a 14-hour flight from South Korea to San Francisco International Airport.

A "special response team" from the San Diego Humane Society drove the dogs to San Diego, where they will be evaluated by veterinarians before being placed for adoption.

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Dog meat is legal for human consumption in South Korea although increasingly controversial.

The Korean Assn. for Policy Studies estimated that 2 million dogs are slaughtered each year for food in the nation of 50 million people.

Amid a growing backlash, the number of restaurants in Seoul that serve dog meat has dropped to about 700 from a peak of 1,500, according to the BBC. Some of the dog-meat farms have just 100 animals, "others have 10 times as many," according to the BBC.

In San Diego, the 29 dogs are to make their debut at a news conference Tuesday, along with Humane Society officials.

The Humane Society hopes to provide "a second chance for ... animals destined for the worst type of abuse and slaughter," Weitzman said.

Twitter: @LATSanDiego

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