North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-Un has ordered a ban on pet dog ownership because he believes it represents a “tainted trend by bourgeois ideology.”
In addition, he confiscates dogs in the name of ridding his society of the so-called decadent influence of Western culture as epitomized by pet ownership.
The owners who have been impacted say they fear the pets are going to be eaten.
The story broke Aug. 18, in a piece written by Cameron Alvar and published online by the Beet.
The article alleges that underclass people in the capital city of Pyongyang raise pigs and other small livestock where they can. It is the wealthy and privileged that own dogs and the dictator says that has to go.
Nationwide food shortages in North Korea lend credence to the dogs being slaughtered and added to the current dog meat trade. Of course, the thought of killing dogs to eat them in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world is repulsive. Animal activist groups are hard at work trying to change the dictator’s mind or rescue the dogs.
In South Korea, dogs are still eaten in a centuries-old tradition. Many are trying to stop the practice and have been for decades.
Alvar wrote, “One estimate has 2.5 million dogs being raised on dog farms each year in South Korea but USA Today recently reported that the number of dogs killed for food is actually closer to one million.”
The hitch here now for animal activists is travel being interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, they have turned to making pleas for anyone traveling to South Korea to consider helping or paying to sponsor the rescue of a dog destined for the soup bowl.
In order, here is a list that Humane Society International and USA Today say are the preferred breeds to eat in South Korea: jindo, tosa, nuregoni, pungsan, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Belgian malinois, great Pyrenees, Cocker spaniels, Breat Bernard, sapsali and huskies.
No one really knows for certain what is going on in DPRK since they are not the friendliest to journalists. But sources tell the New York Post that some distraught owners have found their dogs behind bars in the North Korea Zoo in Pyongyang.
Kim Jong-Un has had a strange relationship with dogs as has his family. He allegedly owns a collection of Shih Tzus, German shepherds and other breeds himself. His late father, Kim Jong Il, owned dogs.
In 2018, Kim gave two “peace puppies,” to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. And if that wasn’t weird enough, within a week, the dictator was demanding people turn in pelts from dogs to be used for a national coat drive. Since the 1980s, the DPRK has gone through various purges of pet dogs.
In South Korea, killing dogs for their meat is illegal but not consumption of the product. Now everyone with a charged-up smartphone and access to the Internet has the keys to every library on Earth. With this in mind, I wanted to know if in fact there are dog meat recipes online because I can’t imagine eating a dog.
Called “gaegogi,” the word literally translates to dog meat. The product is prepared a number of ways like most meat is. The first references to the centuries-old practice noted that dog meat was often just boiled. Today, it goes into soups and stews flavored with hot spices and chili peppers, typically in the summer months. Otherwise, it appears spit-roasted dog is the next most popular.
Charlie Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service.