- CARE President So-youn Park has been declared not guilty of all charges of embezzlement, fraud, and abuse of donations
- With regards to the rescue of animals from Taepyeong slaughterhouse, the case is awaiting trial without Ms. Park being held in custody
It’s been a year since the euthanasia by CARE was on the news, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office has reached a decision. While we are waiting for a formal written statement, we seek to set the record straight based on the statement issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The case against CARE was passed on to the Prosecutor’s Office from the police in May last year. There had been a seven month investigation, and to the case was added the rescue of the dogs from Taepyeong slaughterhouse on Boknal, one of the three hottest days in Korea on which dog meat has been traditionally consumed.
In the rescue, our activists entered the slaughterhouse and removed the bodies of 6 dogs killed by influenza, and brought out 8 dogs, including 2 that were dying.
No Charges for Embezzlement, Fraud and Misuse of Donations
After the investigation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office was satisfied that all of CARE’s donations had been spent on the animals in our care, and that there were no grounds for charges of embezzlement, fraud, and misuse of donations.
Regarding the embezzlement allegation of 33,000,000 KRW (~$28,500), the Prosecutor’s Office decided that the sum had been reasonably spent on legal fees to
- hire advisory professionals for setting goals in revision of animal protection laws, and
- sue persons for calumny and obstruction of activities.
It has also been confirmed that the insurance bought for the purpose of laying aside staff pensions has indeed been used for that purpose.
After the accounting data of CARE had been thoroughly examined, the Public Prosecutor’s Office did not find anything suspicious.
Euthanasia, a Breach of Animal Protection Laws? Awaiting Trial Undetained
With regards to the euthanasia case, we are yet to see a formal indictment but a trial is to be held. A good part of the facts had been misrepresented in the media, and we have every reason to expect a good result, as we had proved the necessity of the euthanasia during the investigation.
In the United States, where euthanasia has been debated from early on, most animal rights groups (SPCA, Humane Society, PETA, etc.) carry out euthanasia. In the UK, the groups that reject euthanasia pass animals onto groups that carry out euthanasia. Euthanasia is carried out in countries with a much larger scale of donations, more space for animals, and far superior laws and systems for animal welfare.
In Korea, there are guidelines for euthanasia in animal shelters. In 2018 alone, 24,509 animals (20.2% of the total) were euthanized. Painful natural deaths are actually the more serious problem, of which there were 28,890 (23.9% of the total.) They are often the result of owners wishing to save on medical bills and burial; sometimes these dying dogs are adopted unwittingly, which leads to worse results for the animals.
CARE, while not a shelter commissioned by a regional authority, actually followed much stricter guidelines when deciding which animals to euthanize, meaning CARE tried to save as many animals as possible.
CARE aims to rescue animals at the highest risk of cruelty and physical injury. Therefore our animals are not likely to be healthy and good-looking; meaning they are unlikely to be adopted. Because we save groups of dogs from dog meat farms and slaughterhouses, the animals we save are more likely to be euthanized, compared to those rescued by other groups. Many of the animals we rescue from dog meat farms have severely compromised health, are ill, or violent due to the trauma suffered in those places.
Despite this, CARE is looking after approximately 600 animals, beginning with Laura who was saved in 2002. Consequently, our finances are always stretched, with medical costs often of millions KRW (~$860+) to tens of millions KRW (~$8,600+) for each animal. We spend the majority of the donations we receive rescuing and treating animals; we cannot even think about saving.
Euthanasia, a Robbery? Awaiting Trial Undetained
CARE has been charged with robbery regarding its rescue of 8 dogs and removal of 6 dead bodies from a dog slaughterhouse. The charges are robbery, obstruction of business, and breaking and entering.
CARE removed the dead bodies and 2 dogs that were dying from influenza to show the world the conditions of these slaughterhouses and demand government intervention.
CARE has never shied away from doing what is necessary in order to save animals.
Unable to Buy Farmland as a Corporate Body: Farms Allowed but Not Shelters?
We have also been indicted for breaching real estate and farmland laws. This is because there is no clear legal boundary for a private animal shelter. The law that exists is irrational, allowing dog farms on farmland but not animal shelters. This means that commercial business built on the torture and death of animals is allowed, but non-profit work protecting animals is not allowed on farmland.
This is an issue not only for CARE, but for all private animal shelters.
The result of the investigation has shown that CARE exists solely for the welfare of animals. We rescue individual and groups of animals from slaughter. Unfortunately, after we rescue them, some of those animals that have suffered too much to have any quality of life are euthanized. This is a responsible step to take.
The issue of euthanasia has been put on trial, and we think this is an ideal opportunity to have the issue studied and discussed in depth, rationally and objectively, as opposed to sensationalist and emotional arguments promulgated by the media.
Through debate on euthanasia and other animal rights issues, we hope to reach a point where the government and private institutions aid each other, as in other countries with superior animal welfare.
Social change has always begun as actions either outside or in the grey areas of the law. We seek to tell the public why animal rights, and our activism promoting it, is important and necessary for our society’s development. We have chosen a hard path, but we will continue to work for the benefit of animals, despite the incomplete laws and systems, and wrongful ideas about animals.