There are a several articles online making this claim. They all seem to source a recent Daily Mail article:

North Koreans are ordered to hand over 'decadent and bourgeois' pet dogs for 'restaurant meat' as the country is rocked by food shortages

Kim Jong-un has declared that pet dogs are a symbol of capitalist 'decadence' and ordered that dogs in Pyongyang be rounded up - and owners are fearful that their beloved pets are being used to solve the nation's food shortages.

It attributes the claim to a source of South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

While trying to find more about this information, any article I could find would quote the Daily Mail.

  • National Post from Canada seems to confirm that Chosun Ilbo is the original source as linked to by Laurel. USA Today has a 2018 piece about dog meat consumption in North Korea as a general practice.
    – Brian Z
    Aug 18, 2020 at 15:06
  • I note that there are two parts to this claim: the first is whether North Koreans are being asked to hand over their pet dogs, and the second is whether these pet dogs are then being turned into food. I suspect that the first part will be easier to confirm or debunk than the second.
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 18, 2020 at 15:08
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    @Jordy: You appear to have made the question worse - to simply punt to Chosun Ilbo, rather than actually address whether the claim is true. Then you have taken advantage of that to give an answer that tells us nothing. Could you please explain why?
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 18, 2020 at 17:57
  • In a brief search on this I discovered that this is not Kim's first time confiscating dogs. Apparently he believes keeping dogs as pets is a sign of Western decadence. Lots of media has covered this now, probably all from the same one source. I have low confidence in any answer based on that.
    – user11643
    Aug 19, 2020 at 18:10
  • @Oddthinking, sorry I didn't get a notification so I never saw your question. To put it simply: OP was skeptic about the things The Daily Mail said, which often deploys sensationalism as editorial tactic. I.e. that Chinese people have to give up their pets so that they can be used in the food industry (e.g. see title). The fact that the original article from Chosun Ilbo tells a different story is enough to debunk the claim made by the Daily Mail.
    – Jordy
    Aug 26, 2020 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


No. Dogs are being taken away (according to one source) but not because they can be consumed.

The Daily Mail make it seem like all 'decadent' dogs are being taken from all over North Korea to help with food shortages. The original source states that only the elite in Peongyang have to hand over the dogs because of the bad optics.

The Daily Mail references this article by South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

From the article (emphasize mine):

North Korea has launched a clampdown on the ownership of pet dogs among the Pyongyang elite as food supplies run short. Trumpeted as protecting the country against capitalist "decadence," the move appears aimed at appeasing increasing public discontent amid the dire economic situation.

The article states that the measure is to appease discontent instead of feeding the people. Note that dogs are only owned as pets by the elite and not the general public.

The article continues (emphasize mine):

Some of the dogs are sent to state-run zoos or sold to dog meat restaurants, the source added.

Apparently not all dogs are being consumed, instead they are sent to zoos.

The article also details how owning dogs is a status symbol in North Korea, and flaunting a luxury such as this appears to be forbidden now that there is a food shortage.

Searching for recent news articles on "North Korea dogs -Daily -Chosun" didn't result in any other news articles that didn't either reference the Chosun Ilbo or the Daily Mail. So it seems that Chosun is the original source of this story.

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    This seems more like a qualified "yes" than a "no". According to your source, at least some dogs are being taken away from their owners and sold to restaurants. Aug 18, 2020 at 15:46
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    @plasticinsect, the title question was: "Have North Koreans been asked to hand over their dogs to be eaten?" and the answer is no, because that was not the reason.
    – Jordy
    Aug 18, 2020 at 15:52
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    Does this answer have no skepticism for the NK claim that this move is about "appeasing increasing public discontent amid the dire economic situation"? What reason is there to think this isn't PR spin? Especially given at least some dogs are being sent to restaurants. Aug 18, 2020 at 16:58
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    The meat on the bones of the pet dogs of the wealthy of the country isn't going to be a significant amount of food overall. Dogs generally eat 2%-4% of their bodyweight daily, which means that you'll save more than tat over a month or two of the dog being dead... and the country almost certainly doesn't have but so many "prized pet of the elite" to go around.
    – Ben Barden
    Aug 18, 2020 at 17:50
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    -1: You haven't checked whether the story is actually true, and you are speculating on the motivations without any evidence.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 18, 2020 at 17:59

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