Image Credit: Armenian Reporter

North Korea is the most reserved country in the world, and it is tough to analyze what happens within its borders. Crime stories, secrets, mysteries, leaks, rumours, unconfirmed reports and often fully-fledged fake news frequently emerge and are hard to sort out. It is hard for anybody who does not live in North Korea to verify what happens within its borders.

In a cruel turn of events, the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un has ordered citizens to give up their pet dogs so that the dogs can be converted into meat for restaurants amid a shortage of food supplies during the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, the New York Post reported. Pet dogs are being forcibly taken from owners in the capital city, and their owners are affirming that they will be eaten as food. There are intense food shortages in the country, leading to speculation, the pet dogs will be sold to the dog meat trade, to be eaten at restaurants. The dog owners are cursing Kim Jong Un behind his back, but otherwise, their hands are tied. Kim Jong-un has indeed ordered a ‘ban on pet ownership’, calling it a symbol of ‘western decadence’.

According to a report by The Mirror, he said that the ordinary people raise livestock and cattle while only the rich and elite have pet dogs. He called having pet dogs a sign of "capitalism" and "bourgeois ideology”. The bourgeois ideology is with reference to its distinguished materialistic values or formal attitudes. Raising suggestions that some dogs are being sent to restaurants for meat, while others are being sent to state-run zoos. Although dog meat has long been considered a delicacy on the Korean Peninsula, it has become less popular in South Korea in recent years but is still widely eaten in North Korea, with a number of restaurants dedicated to it.

Image Credit: News Hub

According to the South China Morning Post, dog-fur coats are the North Korean match of the designer puffer jackets so popular in South Korea. The dog furs are likely to be used to make dog-fur coats in North Korea, where resources are low, and the winters are incredibly cold. From the late 1980s until 2011, there was an off-and-on ban on pet ownership in North Korea due to the luxurious significances of owning an animal. However, reports indicate that since Kim Jong-un took over as Supreme Leader in 2012, citizens have again been allowed to own dogs and other animals. And now surprisingly, again his government has been again asking citizens to surrender their pet dogs.

There have been huge efforts from many countries around the world to ban the dog-meat trade and rescue animals across the globe. In South Korea, a US ally, dogs are still eaten as food in a centuries-old tradition, though young people and outsiders are trying to interfere to stop the practice. 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 1 million. Organizations in the US are increasing efforts to rescue the dogs from South Korea. However, COVID-19 has restricted travel and forced many of these organizations to pause their efforts.

COVID-19 is devastating for humans but now it’s having a huge effect on dogs who have already suffered at the hands of the dog meat trade. We humans also live with cats, we hire cows for their milk and chickens for their eggs and pay them with food unless we kill them and eat them instead. Our lives are tangled with those of other species, but we could untangle if we wanted. But with dogs, things are different. Our world and their world rolled together long ago like two different shades of paint. And it is unthinkable to behold a pet dog as a piece of meat for all the dog owners.