In shocking news, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has reportedly ordered North Koreans to hand over their pet dogs to the meat industry as the country struggles with acute food shortages. Also Read - North Korea Declares State of Emergency After First Suspected COVID-19 Case

The move by the North Korean leader is thought to be aimed at quelling the rising discontent among the public as the economic situation in the country is crumbling and food shortages have become a huge worry, as per a report in New Zealand Herald.

“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down. Some of the dogs are sent to state-run zoos or sold to dog meat restaurants” a source revealed, saying the order came in July.

Another reason cited for such an order is owing to the fact that pet ownership in the country is seen as luxurious western “decadence”. Notably, while passing the order, Kim branded pet ownership “a tainted trend by bourgeois ideology”, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported.

“Ordinary people raise pigs and livestock on their porches, but high-ranking officials and the wealthy own pet dogs, which stoked some resentment,” the source further told the South Korean newspaper, according to the NZHerald.

Though dog-owners are saddened by the move, they can hardly do anything and have to accept the order.

Recent UN statistics show that as many as 60 per cent of North Korea’s 25.5 million people don’t have access to sufficient food. Flooding due to heavy rains have caused paddy crops to fail and the coronavirus pandemic has made food supply suffer.