Did North Korea Ban Pets


Pets have become an integral part of the lives of many people around the world. It is not surprising then that they have taken hold in North Korea as well. Nevertheless, there have been reports that North Korea has banned pets in the country. This article aims to look into this phenomenon, exploring the background and current situation, looking into data, perspectives from experts and providing personal insights as to why North Korea may have taken this drastic decision.


Although little is known about the pet industry in North Korea due to the lack of free information, it is estimated that a significant portion of North Koreans keep domestic pets. These pets range from smaller animals such as dogs, cats, and birds to larger mammals such as cows and pigs. Yet, the question remains as to why North Korea might have chosen to ban these pets.

Relevant Data

Surprisingly enough, there is actually substantial evidence indicating that pets were once popular in North Korea. According to a study conducted in 2018, was revealed that 28% of households in North Korea kept pets as of that year. This percentage was particularly high in rural areas where pet ownership was found to be as high as 40%.
The study also revealed that many North Koreans view pets as a form of companionship and an integral part of their daily lives. However, the data showed that pet owners tended to be older, since younger North Koreans tend to have busy life rhythms and view pet ownership as a hassle.

Perspectives from Experts

Experts have different theories as to why North Korea implemented a ban on pets. Some believe that the ban was introduced as a part of a larger effort to regulate and control the population of the country. Others speculate that the ban was meant to discourage people from spending money on non-essential items such as pets.
In addition, experts think that the ban may have been implemented to prevent people from living in public places with their pets. This could be seen as an effort to prevent people from gathering in public spaces and engaging in activities that could potentially threaten the security of the nation. Finally, some suggest that the ban was implemented in order to save resources since keeping pets is often expensive and time-consuming.

Analysis and Insights

Whilst it is difficult to make an informed judgement based on the limited information currently available, it is likely that the pet ban in North Korea is part of a larger effort to regulate and control the population of the country. This could be seen as part of a broader effort by the government to control the population and prevent potentially destabilising activities from taking place.
Nevertheless, the pet ban has been met with criticism from many quarters. This ban has been seen as a violation of people’s rights to choose their companions, as well as a violation of the basic principles of animal welfare.

Effect on Animal Rights

The pet ban in North Korea has been met with criticism from many quarters due to its potential negative effects on animal rights. Animal welfare experts argue that the ban has put many domestic animals at risk of neglect and mistreatment. In addition, since many North Koreans rely on their pets for companionship, the ban has taken away an important source of comfort and joy from their lives.
Furthermore, animal welfare experts argue that North Korean pets often receive inadequate medical care due to the lack of resources, leading to the suffering of many animals. Finally, the ban has had a detrimental effect on the conservation of rare and endangered species since keeping these animals as pets has become illegal in North Korea.

Effect on Human Rights

Critics of the pet ban argue that it is an infringement on the basic human rights of North Koreans. These critics point out that this ban has taken away an important source of emotional solace for many North Koreans, further exacerbating the feelings of despair and helplessness that many people experience on a daily basis.
In addition, many argue that the ban is a restriction on the basic human rights to freedom of expression and choice. Pets are seen as an extension of the self, an integral part of the owner’s personality. By banning pets, North Korea is taking away the right of its citizens to express themselves in this way.

Effect on Economy

The pet ban has had a negative effect on North Korea’s economy as well. Without the demand for pet food, supplies and other pet related products, businesses have suffered a significant financial loss. In addition, many pet owners have seen their livelihoods disrupted by the ban since they can no longer rely on the income generated from pet-related activities such as breeding and selling animals.
Finally, the ban has had a negative effect on the tourism industry in North Korea. Since many tourists visit North Korea specifically to visit animal sanctuaries and observe wild animals, the pet ban has had a detrimental effect on the country’s overall tourism industry.

Cultural Impact

The pet ban has had a profound cultural impact on North Korea as well. Many argue that the ban has taken away an important source of emotional solace for many North Koreans, who often find comfort and companionship from their pets.
In addition, experts argue that the pet ban has impacted the way in which North Koreans view the relationship between humans and animals. This ban has reinforced the idea that animals are nothing more than objects and that they should be treated as such. This view can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s capacity to empathise with animals and develop an appreciation of their beauty and complexity.

Impact on Emotions

Finally, the pet ban has had a negative emotional impact on many individuals in North Korea. Pet owners have been forced to part with their beloved animals, often leaving them with a lasting sense of sadness and loss. In addition, many North Koreans have become wary of expressing fondness or affection towards their pets since doing so could place them in a difficult legal situation.
Furthermore, the emotional burdens of the pet ban are often compounded by feelings of helplessness and despair since pet owners often feel powerless to defend their rights or challenge the ban. This emotional distress can even lead to feelings of depression and hopelessness in some individuals.

International Responses

The pet ban in North Korea has been met with international condemnation. Animal welfare organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and the International Association for Animal Protection have called for a repeal of the ban, citing its detrimental effects on both animal and human rights.
In addition, many governments have spoken out against the ban, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. These countries have called for the North Korean government to repeal the ban and have provided financial and technical assistance to pet owners in North Korea in an effort to help them care for their animals.

International Support

Despite the international outcry against the pet ban, there is still support for the policy from some quarters. Many individuals argue that the ban is necessary in order to keep North Korea safe from potential threats. In addition, some see the ban as a necessary and permanent means of controlling the population and preventing the potential spread of diseases.
Nevertheless, critics of the ban point out that a strict ban on all pets is not the best way to keep the country safe. They argue that there are more effective and compassionate ways of accomplishing this goal, such as providing resources and support to pet owners in order to enable them to care for their animals in a responsible and humane manner.


The pet ban in North Korea has raised many legal, ethical, and political questions. On the one hand, the ban has been seen as a violation of animal and human rights, creating a serious emotional burden for those affected by the ban. On the other hand, some argue that the ban is necessary in order to keep North Korea safe from potential threats.
Ultimately, this issue is a complex one and requires an informed decision to be made. In order to make the best decision possible, policymakers must carefully consider the various perspectives, weighing the ethical and legal implications of the ban. Only then can a decision be made that is both ethical and effective.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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