Toronto protest 2018

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World: Toronto Protest

Guest articles by Jennifer Kew

Gathering On Saturday, June 28th, over 100 people and 20 Korean rescue dogs came together at the edge of Christie Pitts park for Free Korean Dogs’ third annual protest.

Each summer, EK Park leads protesters as they march against Korea’s dog and cat meat trade during one of Korea’s Boknals, a time during which thousands of companion animals are senselessly and cruelly slaughtered to fuel Korea’s dog meat soup tradition.

The goal of this year’s protest was threefold – to build awareness, support rescue, and advocacy efforts, and promote adoption.

Over the course of the afternoon, volunteers and adopters engaged with park patrons to educate them on the reality faced by too many dogs and cats in Korea. Many had dogs by their side, and their affection for their pets was on full display.

Over 20 Free Korean rescues attended the event. They greeted passersby and playfully engaged with each other, many of them reunited for the first time since making the trip to Canada. Happy and healthy, these canine ambassadors were the strongest display of the fruits of Free Korean Dogs’ efforts.

After a number of impactful discussions, protest attendees were treated to a musical performance by the Chan’s, a recent adoptive family, in honor of the dogs and cats in Korea. Owen and Airsten led a beautiful violin rendition of “You Raise Me Up”, supported by their mom Tiffany on the ukulele. Their dad, Thomas, and the newest family member, Marie, watched from nearby.

Following a powerful performance, two protest attendees spoke passionately about their adoption experience.

Sarah, a recent adopter described how much her dog Kai (formerly, Sungchil) had changed since joining her family earlier this year after he was rescued from a dog tonic shop in Daegu, Korea. She boasted about how much joy he brought her and her boyfriend.

Another adopter Hando attended the event with his two dogs, Allen and Dante. Allen was rescued from a Korean dog meat farm in Illsan, Korea, and has since settled into his new life in Canada with Hando and his family.

The event concluded with a powerful march across the park, where participants spoke in unison on behalf of the animals suffering in Korea – they are our friends, our family – not food.

Photos by Michael Zender

About the author: Jennifer is a Marketing and Communications Professional. She loves animals (especially dogs), design, and travel. Jennifer lives in Toronto with her husband Rob and her sweet Korean rescue Kea.

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