North Korean authorities recently ordered the strengthening of animal disease control measures following the “sudden” deaths of animals by avian flu at a number of livestock farms in the country, Daily NK has learned. 

“An outbreak of avian influenza led to mass deaths at eight chicken farms, including a farm in Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province,” a source in South Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Tuesday. “The incident was reported all the way up to the central authorities.” 

According to the source, the government sent an order to livestock farms throughout the country on July 20 about strengthening animal disease control measures.

The order put provincial disease prevention offices in charge of culling and burning the bodies of animals that have been infected with avian influenza or that may be at risk of being infected. 

The order directed local police officers to monitor livestock farms, local markets and other places to prevent the bodies of culled animals from being sold illegally. The police were also ordered to hand down “legal punishments” to those who committed “illegal behavior,” according to the source.  

“The government ordered agencies focused on livestock in each province to sterilize livestock-related facilities and regularly monitor [the implementation of] disease control measures concerning livestock,” the source told Daily NK. 

The source said that members of a central government agency focused on preventing animal disease have been sent to each province to better understand how well disinfection and disease control measures are being implemented at livestock-related facilities. The members of this task force will send the results of its investigation to the central government. 

Above all, North Korean authorities have stressed that even after the disinfection of the facilities take place, any reemergence of avian influenza among livestock populations will be treated as a violation of party orders, not just a “simple mistake.” The authorities have reportedly made clear that those responsible for future outbreaks will be subject to dismissal or demotion. 

Animal disease prevention offices throughout the country have also been instructed to closely monitor animals raised by people at their homes. 

“The government said that issues related to livestock being raised in homes should not be taken lightly, noting that many people have taken an interest in raising animals at home to earn a living,” the source told Daily NK. “Given that many North Koreans raise chickens or geese at home, municipal and district animal disease prevention offices have been told to make sure [they also check animals living in these homes].” 

Local officials were ordered to better promote disease control measures among people who raise animals at home and to even schedule times to visit individual homes through inminban (North Korea’s lowest administrative unit), the source added. 

Daily NK’s source further noted that the authorities had ordered repairs on livestock-related facilities throughout the country to prevent damage from the monsoon season.

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to