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North Korea Reportedly Confiscating Pet Dogs In Capital, Owners Fear They’ll Be Used For Food
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting with US President Donald Trump on the south side of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has reportedly ordered the confiscation of pet dogs in the country’s capital city of Pyongyang.

Kim allegedly claims the owning of dogs is part of Western “decadence,” but owners reportedly fear their dogs are going to be killed for food as the country continues to suffer. The confiscation was reported by the English-language version of the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo. The outlet reported a source told said Kim issued the ban on owning pets in July, claiming it was “a ‘tainted’ trend by 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,” the source told the outlet.

“Ordinary people raise pigs and livestock on their porches, but high-ranking officials and the wealthy own pet dogs, which stoked some resentment,” the source added.

The source went on to tell the outlet that at least some of the dogs are given to state-run zoos while others are sold to restaurants that serve dog meat. The source added that pet owners are “cursing Kim Jong-un behind his back,” but there isn’t anything they can do about the situation.

A defector told the outlet that clampdowns such as the new one on dog owners aren’t usually enforced with enthusiasm, but this one seems to be more severe.

Further, the outlet reported, animal rights mean even less in North Korea than human rights. Pet ownership was discouraged in North Korea until the country hosted the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students, afterward which wealthy people in Pyongyang started purchasing pet dogs “as status symbols.”

The New York Post reported that “while the oppressive regime says the move is to clamp down on capitalist extravagance in Pyongyang, the dog owners are fearful that given North Korea’s food shortage — and propensity for eating dog meat — the directive has only come about to feed the masses.”

In 2018, The Associated Press reported that in the summer months, North Korea’s largest brewery was “pumping out twice as much beer as usual, Pyongyang residents are lining up to get their ‘bingsu’ — a syrupy treat made with shaved ice — and restaurants are serving up bowl after bowl of the season’s biggest culinary attraction: spicy dog meat soup.”

The AP further reported:

Euphemistically known as “dangogi,” or sweet meat, dog has long been believed to be a stamina food in North and South Korea and is traditionally eaten during the hottest time of the year, giving a sad twist to the old saying “dog days of summer.”

The dates are fixed according to the lunar calendar and dog meat consumption centers around the “sambok,” or three hottest days — July 17 and 27, and Aug. 16 this year. Demand appears to be especially high this year because of a heatwave in East Asia. Temperatures in the North have been among the highest ever recorded, hovering near 104 degrees Fahrenheit in several cities.

As is the case with almost everything, good statistics are not available for how much dog is eaten in the North.

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