It's hard to imagine man's best friend, or your beloved pet dog ending up on somebody's dinner plate. Well, that is a common practice in South Korea, dating back centuries, according to CNN reports.

So popular is Dog Meat in this Asian country, that there are approximately 17,000 dog farms dotted across the country that provide a steady supply of the commodity, according to Humane Society International,(HSI).

The hosting of the 2018 Olympic games by the country, has provided a platform for activists who are against the rearing of dog's for meat; a perfect stage to bring attention to the practice.

This is in addition to agitating for dog rearing to be scrapped all over Asia, where the practice is rampant.

Poor dog-rearing conditions

A visit to one of the dog-rearing farms in Namyangju, about an hour's drive from the capital Seoul by CNN and HSI personnel, exposed the squalid and inhospitable conditions that dogs reared for meat, are subjected to.

The dogs are locked up in cages similar to those that house chickens all day, are denied any human contact, which is vital for dogs, fed on scraps of food and very little water. Also, the cages are never cleaned, exposing the dogs to an environment that thrives with disease-causing agents, and with no medical attention.

When they are ready for slaughter, the dogs are taken to the market and killed publicly using such crude methods as hanging, electrocution or beatings.

HSI estimates a total of 30 million dogs are slaughtered for their meat every year.

In the run-up to the Winter Olympics, the South Korean government shut-down some dog meat markets owing to international criticism, with some animal-welfare organizations calling for a boycott of the Olympics due to the practice.

Shutting down the farms

Since dog rearing for meat is legal and a part of the culture in South Korea, HSI uses persuasion as their main tool and convinces farmers in the business to pursue a different alternative, while the dogs are rescued.

Some of the rescued dogs find their way into American homes where they are raised. Some of the athletes taking part in the Olympics like Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel have added their voice in condemning dog meat rearing.

In 2017, Duhamel adopted a rescued dog from South Korea and hopes to adopt another one, after the curtains come down on the Winter Olympics.

Strangely, the slaughter of cats and dogs is still legal in 44 states in the US, although it is not commonly practiced.

Political goodwill encouraging South Koreans to rear dogs as pets, instead of food, was recently witnessed when the country's President, Moon Jae, adopted a four-year-old mutt, rescued from one of the farms, making it the country's 'first dog.'

HSI still believes there is hope for man's best friend in South Korea and Asia.