Kim Jong-un said pet dogs are a symbol of capitalist ‘decadence’ and ordered Pyongyang dogs to be herded – and owners fear their beloved pets will be used to solve food shortages from the country.
Dictator Kim announced in July that pet ownership was now illegal, denouncing having a dog in the home as “a trend marred by bourgeois ideology.”
“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to abandon them or forcibly confiscate and shoot them,” a source told South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.
“Some dogs are sent to public zoos or sold to dog meat restaurants.”
Kim Jong-un says pet dogs are a symbol of capitalist ‘decadence’ and ordered Pyongyang dogs to be arrested
Dog meat has long been considered a delicacy on the Korean Peninsula, although the tradition of eating dogs is gradually disappearing in South Korea.
Still, around 1 million dogs are raised on farms for food each year in the south.
Man’s best friend is always a staple on the menu in the North, with a number of dog restaurants in Pyongyang.
Dog meat is most popular during 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 to raise body temperature during the cold winter months.
The Chosun Ilbo reported that pet owners “curse Kim Jong-un behind his back” – but there is little they can do to refuse to comply with authorities which could be interpreted as an act of defiance by a leader who likes to be referred to as the supreme dignity.
The ban on pets also came as a surprise to many middle-class residents of Pyongyang, who started keeping dogs after the regime tried to boost its image in the run-up to the World Youth Festival. and students of 1989.
Adopted as a symbol of economic development and sophistication, wealthy families walk their pets, which even make appearances on state television soap operas.
As recently as October 2018, Kim himself presented a pair of native “pungsan” hunting dogs to Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, as a symbol of the growing detente between the two nations.
The “peace puppies” had a chance to escape as their move south coincided with a demand that ordinary North Koreans pay a tax on dog fur, to be made into coats, to mark the founding of the Workers’ Party.
A recent UN report said that up to 60% of North Korea’s 25.5 million people face “widespread food shortages” that have been made worse by international sanctions imposed on the regime for its crimes. long-range nuclear and missile programs.
The situation was made even worse by the decision to close the border with China due to the coronavirus pandemic. Beijing has traditionally been Pyongyang’s mainstay and the source of much of the food needed to feed Kim’s people.
North Korea was also hit hard by a number of natural disasters last year, which impacted harvests, while it was again severely affected by flooding this month, crops in the main agricultural regions having been wiped out.
Kim nonetheless said he and his people would brave the situation, with the young leader telling at a meeting of his politburo on Thursday that if the nation suffered serious losses in the flooding, it should not accept any outside aid due to the possibility of the coronavirus spreading.
Nearly 100,000 acres of arable land have been inundated, with nearly 17,000 homes and over 600 public buildings destroyed.
With pork and beef being an almost unheard of luxury for most ordinary people, the Pyongyang dog slaughter could be designed to prevent hunger in the months to come.
It comes as severe flooding caused by the monsoon rains prompted the leader to feed the victims with his own private grain reserves.
Almost 1,500 acres of rice paddies were inundated and 179 housing blocks and 730 one-story houses were destroyed.
Kim’s decision to use up his reserves caught the attention of some diplomats, describing it as an “SOS signal to China” for emergency aid.