As a proud Vegan, Meagan Duhamel is definitely not shy about expressing her passion for living the Vegan lifestyle. Since switching to Veganism in 2008, Duhamel, along with her pairs partner Eric Radford, has enjoyed a triumphant climb up the World Pairs Figure Skating rankings. Her career's work has just culminated with both a Gold and Bronze medal performance at the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea.
Duhamel herself attributes the improvement in her results to making the switch to Veganism, which was sort of happy accident. As she explained to CBC Sports in 2016, a Vegan book caught her eye during one of her many trips through an airport.
"I read it from cover to cover that night – it wasn't very big of a book – and I just thought, 'Wow, that seems so interesting. I woke up the next morning, cleaned out my fridge, and said 'I'm going to learn about whole grains, and fruits and vegetables."
And just like that, Veganism got it's hooks into an elite athlete looking for a way to separate herself from the competition in a sport that requires an unimaginable amount of training and dedication to even flirt with the idea of standing on an Olympic podium. Ten years since taking up the Vegan mantle, Duhamel is after securing a Silver Medal in the team event at the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi. And now in 2018, at the Winter games in Pyeongchang, she has reached the podium twice, winning a Gold Medal in the team event and a Bronze Medal in the pairs event with partner Eric Radford. In addition to their three Olympic medals, the pair of Duhamel and Radford have also won seven straight Canadian Championships and are two time World Champions.
That's all pretty impressive, right? But Meagan Duhamel's Vegan journey is not only limited to her desire to be on the cutting edge of her figure skating game. She also pairs her appeal to the Vegan lifestyle, like so many of us do, with compassion. Last February while in South Korea, Duhamel returned to Canada with a plus-two. She rescued a gorgeous and cuddly miniature dachshund mix she named Moo-tae, and yet another furry friend named Sara who was adopted by a separate family back in Canada. Both were rescued from the notorious South Korean dog meat industry.
The consumption of dog meat in Korea is a centuries old cultural practise that persists to this day, as many Koreans believe that boiled dog meat in a soup dish called Bosintang offers the body virility and medicinal benefits. Although many moderate Korean youth and politicians have spoken out and taken action in opposition to the continuation of the dog meat industry, the fact remains that there are still as many as 20,000 South Korean restaurants offering dog meat on their menu, supplied by two million dogs from roughly 100,000 factory farms across the country. The conditions at these farms, as documented by organisations such as Humane Society International, show heinous abuses including regular beatings, electrocution and boiling dogs alive, as some Koreans still subscribe to the myth that the more the animal is tortured prior to consumption, the more tender the meat will be.
Even though the process of turning the tide on the Korean dog meat industry toward a future that doesn't include the systematic slaughter of canines may seem overwhelming, progress has been made. Duhamel is not alone in her desire to bring change regarding this bygone indulgence. Duhamel, along with American skier Gus Kenworthy and American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, have all committed themselves to shining a light on this issue and have used their platform to appear in public service announcements speaking out against these culinary practices and being in favour of discontinuing them.
Despite the desperate situation of this industry, as well as our own continued abuse and slaughter of innocent beings in the west, Meagan Duhamel and her fellow athletes who've helped rescue several dogs while participating in the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, represent a flicker of light and awareness in the continued fight for a cruelty free future. Meagan is also a shining example that Veganism can be used as a multi-faceted tool to improve ones personal health, wellness and community spirit.
If you'd like to learn more about the dog meat industry, or find out how you can help, please visit stopdogmeat.com and sign the petition to stop this heinous act or you can make a donation at changeforanimals.org/ending-dog-meat-in-sk. Both websites contain lots of information on this issue as well.
Thank you for reading and Stay Groovy!
Jesse - The Groovy Vegan