In the face of a severe food shortage, North Koreans have been ordered to turn over their pet dogs to be used as open “restaurant meat” as a country struggles against starvation.
Dog eat dog may be a colorful phrase in English for describing fierce competition, but extreme food shortages in North Korea has apparently turned into a people eat dog situation. Beloved pooches are being taken away as a remedy to a lack of meat.
In July, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un imposed a law that made owning a pet illegal. In the announcement, the dictator said that having dogs as a pet was a “decadent and bourgeoisie” practice, a “tainted trend of bourgeoisie ideology,” and a symbol of capitalist “decadence.”
The state ordered a crackdown on dog ownership and began sending authorities to round up pets from owners.
Once confiscated, the pets are either sent to state-run zoos to feed other animals or are sold to dog meat restaurants for feeding customers.
“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, the Daily Mail reported.
Dog meat has long been considered to be a delicacy in both North and South Korea, as well as in China. The tradition of eating dogs is gradually fading and South Korea, even though an estimated 1 million dogs are raised on farms and consumed there every year.
Pressure around the world has been levied on China to persuade the Asian nation to stop its practice of raising dogs for food. China has a dog eating festival every year, which was held in Yulin even amid the coronavirus pandemic in June. CBS reports, that the majority of Chinese people don’t eat dog meat. Activists within the country are trying to push for abolishing the practice.
However, dog meat remains very popular in North Korea. Canine meat is considered to provide energy and stamina, and is believed by the people there to raise the body temperature during the cold winter months.
According to a recent report by the United Nations, up to 60 percent of North Korea’s population is facing “widespread food shortages.” The population of North Korea is roughly 25.5 million people. One of the leading factors driving the shortage of food is the international sanctions imposed on the reclusive nation because of its continued strides toward developing its nuclear missile program.