In news that is truly shocking to Western readers, the Chinese Communist leader of North Korea has issued an order forcing citizens to surrender their pet dogs in an attempt to ease a national food shortage.
The mere idea of eating Fido is repugnant to most Americans but the idea of taking anyone's beloved family pooch away by official decree is an unpopular position around the globe.
Nonetheless, the South Korean media outlet Chosun Ilbo reported that North Korea's Kim called dog owners "decadent" and said that owning a dog was the consequence of "a 'tainted' trend by bourgeois ideology."
$14.99 Regular price
These newly-designated four-legged enemies of the state will be rounded up, slaughtered, and fed to the inhabitants of a hungry nation.
Heavy rains have flooded regional rice fields, triggering a food shortage. Hundreds of homes have been damaged and large areas of rice fields submerged from heavy rainfall and some flash flooding. The Red Cross in North Korea has dispatched 43,000 volunteers to help communities provide disaster flood relief.
The United Kingdom's Daily Mail said a recent United Nations report counted up to 60 percent of North Koreans who are experiencing "widespread food shortages."
Kim issued the order in July 2020. An unidentified source told the Calgary Herald:
"Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down."
The confiscated canines are shipped to zoos or sold to restaurants. Eating dog meat (called gaegogi) is an accepted practice in South Korea and other parts of the world. A spicy soup made from dog meat is called euphemistically dangogi or "sweet meat."
Traditionally served as a delicacy, dog meat is regarded as a stamina food in both North and South Korea that is featured on specialty restaurant menus during the hot summer months.
Statistics from North Korea are kept hidden and undisclosed but the Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) estimated in 2018 that between 780,000 to 1 million dogs are consumed each year in South Korea. An Associated Press (AP) report published that year calculated that South Koreans wolfed down 2 million dogs a year.
Those who can afford it eat dog only on special occasions. There are many preparations: a spicy soup, ribs, and steaks.
Sales are declining as dog meat is losing its appeal among the younger set. Animal rights and sanitation issues are also contributing to the declining national appetite for this readily-available source of protein.
In June 2018, a South Korean municipal court ruled against a long-standing culinary custom in a landmark case and decided that killing dogs for meat was illegal. This doesn't make consuming dog meat illegal, however.
Speaking last month, the North Korean dictator declared that the common people farm livestock to sustain the population. Owning a pet animal merely for comfort and companionship, by comparison, is a decadent luxury reserved for privileged people.
The official Communist news outlet said that merely learning that some of their neighbors could afford to keep a pet dog has "stoked some resentment" among petless North Koreans.
Chosun Ilbo stated that pet ownership met with official disapproval in North Korea but the government had seemingly relaxed on the matter from the late 1990s. Wealthy residents of the city Pyongyang started owning pets as status symbols.
After Kim's recent announcement that the nation's elite must surrender their furry friends forever, well-heeled dog owners are "cursing Kim Jong Un behind his back." As with draconian Wuhan coronavirus response measures, there's nothing the people subjected to this new order can do other than obey or risk punishment.