Dubai: North Koreans have been forced to give away their pet dogs to be sold for meat, with the country's food supplies running short, according to international news reports. Social media users across the globe are furious, and many took to Twitter to express shock and anger.
Apparently, pet dogs are thought to be owned mostly by the wealthy in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, and are seen by authorities as a symbol of capitalist "decadence".
According to South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper the country’s leader Kim Jong-un issued a ban on pet ownership in July, denouncing it as “a tainted trend by bourgeois ideology”.
The move by Kim is thought to be aimed at appeasing rising discontent among the public, amid a dire economic situation including food shortage in the country.
Quoting a source, the English edition of the South Korean newspaper reported: “Ordinary people raise livestock, but high-ranking officials and the wealthy own pet dogs, which stoked some resentment [among the lower classes].”
So, in July, Kim Jong-un demanded all pet dogs in Pyongyang be confiscated. According to the report “authorities identified households with pet dogs, and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down.”
The report added that some of the dogs are being sent to state-run zoos or sold to dog meat restaurants.
Twitter user @john1191 posted: “This is horrifying and disturbing.”
However, some social media users were suspicious of the report. A user who goes by the handle @call_the_ambulance on Reddit, posted: “The source of this information, Choson Ilbo, has been caught spreading sensationalised, fake news about North Korea before. Even if Chosun Ilbo’s report is true, the report doesn’t suggest NK is starving so badly that they need dog meat. It says that people are angry about powerful officials keeping dogs, which are considered decadent/luxuries in NK. The report suggests that dogs will be confiscated from the rich. Some of them will end up in zoos, some put down, and some, incidentally, may end up in dog meat restaurants”
Another user @smokeyser posted: “North Korea isn't in economic collapse. Their economy collapsed. Past tense. This article is just clickbait. Dictator Kim announced in July that owning a pet is now against the law... Pets have been banned. Then someone found out that some of the dogs that were taken have been eaten (not uncommon in Korea), so now the story is, ‘dogs are being rounded up for food’.”