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North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un issued a directive to confiscate pet dogs in the country’s capital of Pyongyang. But, the order coincides with a nationwide food shortage, leading dog owners to speculate that their beloved pups will be slaughtered for meat.
First reported by South Korean newspaper The Chosunilbo, a source said that Kim Jong-un banned pet ownership in July, citing Western “decadence” and a “bourgeois ideology” behind his reasoning.
Shortly after, authorities began identifying residents with pets and forcing those owners to surrender their dogs. Once confiscated, the animals are then either put down, sent to state run zoos, or sold to restaurants to be used for meat, the source claimed.
A dire economic situation has led to civil unrest and resentment among lower class residents that raise livestock on their porches in an attempt to put food on the table while upper-class elite and high ranking officials share their homes with pet dogs, once considered frivolous and pretentious among North Koreans.
While the regime says the pet ban is an attempt to thwart extravagance among wealthy and elite residents in the capital city, pet owners fear the move is actually an attempt to quickly and cheaply source meat for the nation’s struggling lower class.
In the hottest days of the year, Koreans traditionally eat a dog meat soup that, they believe, increases stamina on sweltering days. “It’s been our national food since olden times,” Kim Ae Kyong, a waitress at the Pyongyang House of Sweet Meat, told The New York Post. “People believe that heat cures heat, so they eat dog meat and spicy dog soup on the hottest days.”
The move to eliminate pet dogs in North Korea comes just 6 months after the supreme leader donated 30 dogs of various breeds to the capital city’s Central Zoo. At the zoo, dogs are displayed in caged habitats while signage explains to visitors how to properly care for the animals.