Simon Cowell Has Emotional Meeting with Dog He Helped Rescue from a South Korean Dog Meat Farm

Robin the Maltese mix was one of over 200 dogs saved from a South Korean dog meat farm thanks to Cowell's generous donation to Humane Society International

Simon Cowell meets HSI dog meat trade rescue Robin
Photo: Courtesy Good Morning Britain/ITV

Simon Cowell's got talent when it comes to saving animals.

The America's Got Talent judge and executive producer donated over $32,600 to Humane Society International in 2018 to help the animal welfare organization shut down a South Korean dog meat farm and save all of the dogs kept there.

Earlier this month, Cowell finally met one of the over 200 dogs he helped save from death with his generous donation. The emotional meeting occurred during a recent interview on ITV's Good Morning Britain. The show's news correspondent Philippa Tomson ended up adopting one of the dogs saved from the dog meat farm HSI closed down with help from Cowell.

Tomson brought the pup, a Maltese mix named Robin, on-air during her interview with Cowell to meet her hero. Cowell happily accepted Robin into his arms and kept the pup in his lap for the rest of the interview.

South Korea Dog Meat Farm Rescue
Jean Chung/For HSI

During their discussion, Tompson, who also helps HSI in their efforts to end the dog meat trade, spoke with Cowell about the reality Robin was rescued from.

"This is difficult for me … but it is important because, without people like you, he’d basically be in someone’s stomach. Now you think about that, right? And dogs will give up their lives for you. They really would … and they’ll look after your kids, they put their lives in front of your kids. I’ve seen it with my dogs, and my dogs are tiny. So what you do is so important, bless you," Cowell told Tompson during their interview, according to a release from HSI.

South Korea Dog Meat Farm Rescue
Jean Chung/For HSI

With help from Cowell, Tompson, and countless other animal lovers, HSI has been able to close down 16 dog meat farms and find new, humane careers for their owners, and has rescued and adopted out over 2,000 former dog meat farm canines.

"Simon’s generous donation helped us save Robin and all the dogs languishing on the meat farm. We found them in the most appalling conditions, stuck in barren, rusty wire cages, and many of them were really suffering. With every dog farm we close and every farmer we help switch to a more profitable, humane business, we’re demonstrating to the South Korean government that it’s possible to end this cruel trade. Most people in South Korea don’t eat dogs, and there are increasingly vocal calls in the country for an end to this brutal industry," HSI’s Wendy Higgins, who was present for Robin's rescue, said in a statement.

South Korea Dog Meat Farm Rescue
Jean Chung/For HSI

According to HSI, there is continual waning interest, especially among younger generations, in dog meat consumption, but an estimated 30 million dogs are still slaughtered each year for meat. HSI is hopeful that with continued support, they can help end the dog meat trade and replace it with businesses that are helpful and humane for all.

Updated by
Kelli Bender
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Kelli Bender is the Pets Editor for PEOPLE Digital and PEOPLE magazine. She has been with the PEOPLE brand for more than eight years, working as a writer/producer across PEOPLE's Lifestyle, Features, and Entertainment verticals before taking on her current role. Kelli is also an editor on PEOPLE's Stories to Make You Smile and serves as an editorial lead on PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest and Pet Product Awards.   Before joining PEOPLE, Kelli helped AOL and Whalerock launch a pet lifestyle site called PawNation. She is a pet parent to a cat named Wallace, and her professional and personal devotion to animals has taken her to three dog weddings ... so far.

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