North Korean authorities are reportedly conducting an audit to check and register whether livestock farms, livestock units, and households around the country are raising animals and following the appropriate veterinary quarantine measures. 

A source in South Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Apr. 21 that “Starting on Apr. 2, [the authorities] started a nationwide livestock registration process through the Central Veterinary Quarantine Center. They are registering each livestock farm, livestock unit, and household in the country as either raising or not raising livestock. The Ministry of Agriculture is creating statistics based on this data.”

According to the source, in the past the Central Veterinary Quarantine simply surveyed the state of quarantine measures and the number of animals being raised in institutions and businesses, along with those raised by individuals.

This time, however, if officers from the center deem the implementation of quarantine measures at a particular livestock facility to be poor, the livestock must all be culled even if there is no evidence that the animals are carrying disease.

The North Korean authorities reportedly explained the logic behind the creation of the new rule by saying that unless they put in place stronger measures, it would be difficult for the government to create policies to handle a breakout of livestock disease if one did occur. The authorities reportedly said that these difficulties could cause major negative consequences and that the new rule was necessary to prevent such events from happening. 

“The government ordered that all institutions, business, and individuals engaged in raising livestock obey the Central Veterinary Quarantine Center’s instructions without exception as they are based on the Party’s veterinary quarantine orders,” the source said. 

Taedong pigs african swine fever
Pigs at North Korea’s Daedong Pig Farm. / Image: DPRK Today’s Pinterest Feed

North Korean authorities reportedly placed particular emphasis on measures that people could use to prevent or cope with the emergence of livestock diseases as the seasons change. The authorities handed down directives regarding veterinary quarantine measures which included orders to “always boil the [livestock’s] food,” “spray and sterilize [the livestock] with quicklime,” and “isolate well-quarantined animals [from sick ones] so that there are no further problems”. The authorities also emphasized that if the country’s supply of veterinary medicine were to run low, those in the livestock sector would have to fend for themselves.

“The government seized 35% of the ducks at the Chongpyong County Gwangpo duck ranch and the same percentage of pigs at the Hamju County pig ranch because of quarantine problems,” the source said. “[The government officials] took the livestock away in large trucks. The people who worked at the livestock farms that failed to meet the new quarantine standards were angry that the government took their livestock and killed them without offering any kind of compensation.

“The government also slaughtered pigs, rabbits, and goats raised by families without paying them,” the source added. “People are asking ‘is this the Party’s new livestock policy?’ and expressing their anger at the new quarantine rules.”

The source further explained that to respond to the complaints, “government [officials] said that infectious diseases like COVID-19 can be spread among livestock as well as people, and that these diseases ultimately end up hurting people” and that “they say that [they are putting these new rules in place because] the lives of North Korean citizens are the priority.”

*Translated by S & J

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.
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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.