Celebrities including Daniel Henney, Monica Lewinsky and Joely Fisher joined Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States in Los Angeles for an exclusive debut of a stunning portrait collection by award-winning photographer Sophie Gamand, of dogs rescued by HSI from South Korea’s dog meat trade.
The launch of dog portraits—including Juliette, adopted by Wheel of Time actor Daniel Henney, and Birdie, adopted by Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy—took place at a private cocktail party hosted at the Hollywood Hills residence of film producer James Costa. Guests enjoyed cocktails and plant-based hors d’oeuvres while enjoying an early peek at a specially curated gallery of Sophie’s captivating portraits.
The collaboration between global animal advocates Humane Society International and award-winning photographer Sophie Gamand—whose photo series Pit Bull Flower Power was instrumental in transforming the public image of pit bulls seeking adoption at U.S. shelters—evolved as part of HSI’s work in South Korea to end the brutal dog meat industry. It is estimated that more than one million dogs a year in South Korea are intensively bred for human consumption. Despite increasing Korean opposition to dog eating, unfounded negative perceptions persist of ‘dog meat dogs’ as soulless and vicious. HSI invited Sophie to help showcase the resilience, beauty and individuality of these dogs, rebranding them as the true survivors that they are, having been rescued by HSI to become part of loving families in the United States.
During this inspiring evening, guests were introduced to HSI’s Models for Change program in which the organization works cooperatively with dog meat farmers to help them close their farms and transition to more humane and sustainable livelihoods such as chili plant or parsley growing. They also heard from Sophie about her experience joining HSI on one of HSI’s dog meat farm rescue missions, and the emotional impact of seeing the dogs in such desperate circumstances.
The Dog Meat Survivors portrait collection will be available for public view at Hamilton-Selway Fine Art, 8678 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, California. The ten-day exhibit opens on Thursday, June 2.
“From the moment the team at Humane Society International and I started discussing ideas for this series, I knew I wanted people to see these dogs for the resilient, strong, beautiful beings that they are. I created handmade collars for these survivors, because dog collars are a powerful symbol of love, commitment and care,” said Gamand.
“HSI’s campaign is focused on ending the dog meat industry in South Korea, the only country in the world that intensively farms dogs for consumption, and we’re making incredible progress. The real goal is to get a ban passed that will end this industry forever so that no more dogs have to suffer,” Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International.
- Madeline Bove