The Humane Society International/Canada has opened its doors to 50 dogs and puppies from South Korea that were going to be killed on a dog meat farm.

Some of the dogs landed at Pearson Airport in Toronto this week and were transported to a temporary shelter in Montreal.

The dogs were traumatized by their living conditions, according to Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of HSI/Canada, and she said her group often finds animals living in harsh conditions when they are being raised as food.

 “We find multiple dogs crammed into tiny, filthy, wire and metal enclosures,” she said. “The cages have wire floors, they’re forced to live on this horrible surface and it damages their paws. They’re malnourished. The only food they get is the stomach-turning slop of ground-up restaurant waste. They never get water. They never get veterinary care.”

Aldworth said that farmers often contact the organization and ask for help leaving the dog meat industry.

“Dog meat farmers are approaching us and asking for our help to transition out of the business,” she said. “What HSI does is we work with the dog meat farm owners to transition them to a humane business.”

One of the Humane Society’s conditions for helping farmers is that they must sign a contract vowing never to work in the trade again.

“We obviously rescue the dogs on the farms, and destroy the equipment so that it can never be used again in this industry.”

She said that Humane Society International has now closed 12 dog meat farms in South Korea.

Several Asian countries have dog meat bans, including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand.

While South Korea hasn’t passed such legislation yet, the Humane Society is hopeful that will change.

“Hearts and minds in South Korea are changing as the pet culture grows there,” Aldworth said.