Kim Jong Un orders North Koreans to hand over pet dogs for ‘restaurant meat’ as the country is rocked food shortages
Kim Jong Un has declared that pet dogs are a symbol of capitalist ‘decadence’ and ordered that dogs in Pyongyang be rounded up – and owners are fearful that their beloved pets are being used to solve the nation’s food shortages.
Dictator Kim announced in July that owning a pet is now against the law, denouncing having a dog at home as ‘a tainted trend of bourgeois ideology’.
Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down’, a source told South Korea‘s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
Some of the dogs are sent to state-run zoos or sold to dog meat restaurants’.
A recent UN report stated that as many as 60 percent of North Korea’s 25.5 million people are facing ‘widespread food shortages’ that have been worsened international sanctions imposed on the regime for its nuclear missile programmes.
Dog meat has long been considered a delicacy on the Korean Peninsula, although the tradition of eating dogs is gradually fading out in South Korea.
Still, an estimated 1 million dogs are reared on farms to be consumed every year in the South.
Man’s best friend is still a staple on the menu in the North, however, with a number of dedicated dog restaurants in Pyongyang.
Dog meat is most popular in the hot and humid summer months as it is believed to provide energy and stamina.
Often served in a spicy soup or stew with vegetables, it is also known for raising the body temperature in the cold winter months.
The Chosun Ilbo reported that pet owners are ‘cursing Kim Jong-un behind his back’ – but there is little they can do as to refuse to comply with the authorities could be interpreted as an act of defiance of a leader who likes to be referred to as the Supreme Dignity.
The outlawing of pets will also have come as a surprise to many middle-class Pyongyang residents, who began to keep dogs after the regime attempted to spruce up its image in the run up to the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students.