Warning: The following story contains graphic images and details about deceased dogs. Please proceed with caution.
Wearing white gloves and a “stop dog meat” t-shirt over white scrubs, Presley, 73, held a dead dog in her arms as she stood outside the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles. Presley also appeared to be wearing a bandage near the tip of her nose.
The late Elvis Presley’s ex-wife was joined by Basinger, 64, who held a sign depicting three dead dogs hanging from wires. “Stop dog meat,” the sign said in all-caps text.
The Blast reported that sources close to the protest said that the dead dogs — which were also held by actresses E.G. Daily, 56, and Donna D’Errico, 50 — were taken from a Los Angeles veterinarian in order to “serve as an example of the type of lovable dogs that are killed and used for consumption in South Korea.” Sources also indicated that the dogs were to be “respectfully cremated” following the protests, The Blast reported.
Reps for Presley, Basinger and Last Chance for Animals, the advocacy organization behind the event, did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment, but a statement on its website explained the purpose of the protest.
“LCA and S. Korean sister organization, Animal Liberation Wave (ALW), are holding 3 demonstrations simultaneously on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Seoul, South Korea to protest the S. Korean dog meat trade,” the website says. “The protests are being held on Bok Nal, the first of 3 non-consecutive days, known as the hottest days of the Korean summer. Dog meat consumption rises exponentially this time of year in S. Korea as dog meat soup, known as ‘Boshintang,’ is the food of choice to combat the extreme heat and humidity.”
According to the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C., South Koreans slaughter an estimated 2 million dogs for human consumption each year, and Humane Society International estimates that 30 million dogs around the world are killed for food each year.
Selling dog meat in South Korea is legal, National Geographic reported during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, but dog and snake meat are both officially classified as “detestable” by the nation. The practice appears to be declining as South Koreans increasingly come to think of dogs as pets, Agence France-Presse reported in February.
Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy famously rescued a canine from a South Korean meat farm during the Winter Games. Beemo later died in the U.S. due to a birth defect that caused her to have an enlarged heart, Kenworthy announced in an emotional Instagram post in May.