Life is certainly not a competition, and that’s pretty lucky for us when there’s people like Gus Kenworthy around. Gus is not only a seven-time world champion freestyle skier, silver medallist and Winter Olympic alumni, he’s also a passionate animal rights advocate and even took time off in the last Winter Olympics to rescue dogs!
Nominated by Aliya Jasmine in the animal welfare category of six-two’s 35 under 35, Gus is lending his voice to the cry for countries to ban the dog fur and meat trade. During the most recent Winter Olympics in South Korea, Gus and his partner Matt were shocked at what they found when visiting one of the many dog farms in the country that use the animals for food and the fur for clothing. Writing a passionate plea on Instagram, along with a shot of their new puppy, Gus revealed he had been so horrified he adopted a dog on the spot.
“This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while I don’t personally agree with it, I do agree that it’s not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty. I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in “good conditions” by comparison to other farms.”
“The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution, sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes.” - Gus Kenworthy
His post continues, “Despite the beliefs of some, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade. Luckily, this particular farm (thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who’s seen the error of his ways) is being permanently shut down and all 90 of the dogs here will be brought to the US and Canada where they’ll find their fur-ever homes. I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she’ll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she’s through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible! There are still millions of dogs here in need of help though (like the Great Pyrenees in the 2nd pic who was truly the sweetest dog ever). I’m hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes! Go to @hsiglobal’s page to see how you can help. #dogsarefriendsnotfood #adoptdontshop ❤️?”
This isn’t the first time Gus has ducked out while representing his country on the slopes to rescue animals. In 2014 at the Winter Olympics in Russia, Gus rescued two puppies off the street’s of Sochi and brought them home to America. Jake and Mishka, AKA the Sochi Pups, live with Gus’s ex-boyfriend in Canada now but everyone can stay updated with their doggy doings via their Instagram page. Gus’s new pup Beemo is also well on her way to becoming an insta star.
Helping raise awareness through social media about the plight of many animals in other countries and encouraging everyone to adopt rather than shop for a new pet is all in a day’s work for Gus. Along with practising his skiing of course!
To learn more about the six-two 35 under 35 initiative, and to see the individuals who made the list, head here.