North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered all pet dogs to be confiscated from Pyongyang's elite citizens in a move to help deal with food supply shortage. Kim had earlier issued the ban on pet ownership back in July. However, authorities are now on strict orders to implement it. They have been tasked to go through household listings and identify homeowners with pet dogs who are to be compelled to give them up. Refusal to do so will have authorities forcefully confiscate the dogs and have them put down.
The confiscated canines will either be sent to state-run zoos and to restaurants that sell dog meat. Although dog meat is popular table fare in China and the Korean Peninsula, it has seen a decline in consumption in South Korea. However, North Koreans seemed to have increased their consumption of dog meat right around the summer of 2018.
Seeing as animal rights are not a big part of the regime's programs, a good number of dog owners expressed their concerns behind Kim's orders as the country treads on increased public discontent. Sources reveal that as much as many North Koreans are "cursing Kim Jong-un behind his back," they all know there is not much they can do about it.
Furthermore, the leader also said he would refuse any aid to help North Korea during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an article on The Chosunilbo, a South Korean news daily, the leader's directive comes as a means to drum up and protect North Korea against "western capitalist decadence." Kim strongly believes ownership of pet dogs are nothing but a "tainted trend" brought on by bourgeois principles and culture.
Pet ownership has always been a thorn on the side of North Korea, as it has long been considered western decadence. But after the country hosted the World Festival of Youth and Students in 1989, attitudes took on a different air. Pyongyang's elite started to indulge in expensive lapdogs and have started flaunting them as if to symbolise social status.
A source who spoke with The Chosunilbo said, "ordinary people raise pigs and livestock on their porches, but high-ranking officials and the wealthy own pet dogs, which stoked some resentment."