Simon Cowell has donated £25,000 to an animal protection charity to help close a dog meat farm in South Korea.
The X Factor boss’s contribution to Humane Society International (HSI) means more than 200 dogs and puppies bred for human consumption will now be saved, the charity said on Twitter.
“Amazing news!” it said. “Simon Cowell has generously donated £25,000 to our rescue appeal to help us close our 13th #dogmeat farm in #SouthKorea & save 200+ dogs! We are so grateful to Simon and Syco it means the world to us!”
Cowell, who has three Yorkshire terriers, has long been a supporter of the charity, backing its #EndDogMeat campaign and telling Good Morning Britain last year that eating dog was “like eating your friend”.
In 2016, he supported a campaign to ban a dog meat festival in Yulin, China, describing it as “sickeningly cruel”.
HSI is one of 83 animal charities, including Change for Animals Foundation, the Jane Goodall Institute, Four Paws and Animals Asia, calling for stronger action to tackle “the threat of rabies posed by the brutal and often illegal dog and cat meat trade”.
While consumption of dog meat in South Korea is in decline, HSI says there are still thousands of factory farms breeding about 2.5 million animals a year.
The dogs are locked in small, metal cages, with the methods used to kill them – said to include electrocution and hanging – heavily criticised by welfare campaigners.
During the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea banned dog meat by invoking a law prohibiting the sale of “foods deemed unsightly”, but this was not strictly enforced.
HSI works with dog meat farmers who want to leave the industry and helps them switch to alternative livelihoods.
The charity has, to date, permanently shut down 12 dog meat farms, saving nearly 1,400 dogs.
An animal rescue team will be flying out to rescue the latest group next week, the charity said. The dogs will then be sent to the US, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands to be rehomed.
Claire Bass, HSI UK’s executive director, said: “These poor dogs have had the worst lives so far, so we’re desperate to get them out of those dreadful cages and show them love, soft beds and loving arms for the first time in their lives.”