Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, has ordered that pet dogs in Pyongyang be rounded up so they can be used as dog meat for restaurants.
The move by the leader is aimed to appease rising discontent among the public amid a dire economic situation in the secretive country, including food shortages.
Pet dogs are thought to be owned mostly by the elite and wealthy in the capital Pyongyang and are seen by authorities a symbol of capitalist “decadence”, while ordinary people have pigs and other livestock.
“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.
“Some of the dogs are sent to state-run zoos or sold to dog meat restaurants,” the source added.
Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that pet owners are “cursing Kim Jong-un behind his back” but there is little they can do since refusal to comply attracts grave consequences.
A recent UN report stated that as many as 60 per cent of North Korea’s 25.5 million people are facing “widespread food shortages” that have been worsened by international sanctions imposed on the regime for its nuclear missile programmes.
Still, an estimated 1 million dogs are reared on farms to be consumed every year in South Korea.