When you hear the name Simon Cowell, the first thing that comes to mind is an extraordinary critical man who's never afraid to tell it like it is.
While we've seen him as a judge on nearly every talent competition show known to man, every once in a while we get to see that behind his tough exterior lies a heart of gold.
But when Cowell isn't on the small screen, we have to wonder, what does the Got Talent franchise creator get up to?
The Charitable Man
If you don't track Cowell's public appearances outside of the on-air talent competitions, you might be surprised to know he's a staunch animal activist, who's recently put his money where his mouth is.
It's been revealed the 58-year-old donated £25,000 ($32,600 USD) to the Human Society International (HSI) in an effort to help them shut down a dog meat farm in South Korea.
The organization hopes to rescue 200 dogs - who are bred for human consumption - and bring some them back to the United Kingdom to be put up for adoption.
To date, HSI has already closed down 12 dog meat farms and saved almost 1,400 animals.
"It's like eating your friend."
Last December, the former American Idol judge made an appearance on Good Morning Britain in an effort to bring awareness to the dog meat trade.
Cowell, who owns three Yorkshire terriers names Freddie, Squiddly and Diddly, shared his contempt for South Korea's market in particular, and explained the brutality the pooches are subjected to.
"It's like eating your friend. And it's the fact you're eating such a kind, helpless, sweet animal," he said while holding back tears. "It is strength, in my opinion, to say we are not going to do it."
"If everyone could come together now, through social media, through a different generation who just say no, enough people will listen. That's what happens in the world today."
While in captivity, Daily Mail reports canines are oftentimes locked up in small, unsanitary cages, with no protection from the harsh weather conditions.
They are then killed by either electrocution or hanging so they can be served at the country's annual dog meat festivals.
To put the gravity of this situation in perspective, there are roughly 17,000 dog farms in South Korea that breed more than 2.5 million dogs a year.
"More than 200 dogs are languishing in the most appalling conditions."
Following Cowell's donation, HSI UK executive director Claire Bass voiced her appreciation for the father-of-one in a statement along with providing hope on the eventual dismantling of the dog meat industry.
"Simon’s generous donation means the world to us, and provides a huge boost to our appeal to close this horrendous dog meat farm.
More than 200 dogs are languishing in the most appalling conditions, but we have a real chance to save them.
With every dog farm we close and every farmer we help switch to a more profitable, humane business, we’re showing the South Korean government that it’s possible to end this cruel trade.
These poor dogs have had the worst lives so far, so we’re desperate to get them out of those dreadful cages and show them love, soft beds and loving arms for the first time in their lives."
Along with rescuing animals, HSI also works with dog meat farmers who hope to leave the trade by helping them switch to alternative methods of cultivation, including growing and selling various types of vegetables.
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