North Koreans eating pet dogs story is of questionable pedigree: Russia
- Seoul newspaper claimed Kim Jong-un had forced North Koreans to give up their pets and sell them to dog meat restaurants to beat food shortages
- But Russian embassy in Pyongyang suggests this may be little more than a shaggy-dog story
Pet dogs, a preserve of Pyongyang’s wealthy elites, were seen by North Korean authorities as a symbol of capitalist “decadence”, said the newspaper.
“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down,” the newspaper claimed, citing an unidentified source.
The report, written by a former North Korean defector, was picked up by multiple news outlets including in Britain.
It said keeping pets had become fashionable in the city and that it had become common to see dogs “walking with their owners on the streets of Pyongyang and other Korean cities”. Breeding dogs had been encouraged, it added, after Kim identified it as a sign of a modern society.
The practice is in sharp decline in the prosperous South, where keeping pets has become a part of normal life.
But it is still popular in the North, where dog is served as a delicacy at “dangogi” (sweat meat) restaurants in Pyongyang.
Dog meat dishes are popular choices for people taking part in the culinary competitions that take place in Pyongyang every summer.
Meanwhile, state-controlled media promote its health benefits, claiming it promotes intestinal health and has superior nutritional value to chicken, pork, beef or duck.