Rabbit Stew for Some in Pyongyang
Following on neatly from the famine in North Korea book we reported on earlier in the year the story of German rabbit farmer Karl Szmolinsky who specialises in exceptionally large rabbits – like really big and weighing in at over 10kg (22lb).
Though large they do like breeding as frequently as smaller rabbits though require significantly more food. Still, Herr Szmolinsky thought they might be a good way to alleviate meat shortages in the DPRK. He was due to be in North Korea this week to advise the North Koreans on how to breed rabbits for food.
But, perhaps inevitably, it’s all gone wrong. Herr Szmolinsky sent 12 giant rabbits ahead of him as a sample but he now believes that instead of being saved for breeding purposes all 12 were eaten at a birthday banquet in February for Kim Jong-il.
Naturally Herr Szmolinsky is a bit miffed about his gift disappearing down the Dear Leader’s gullet quite so fast – “North Korea won’t be getting any more rabbits from me, they don’t even need to bother asking” he told the German press.
If it’s true that Kim ate them then he also ate Robert, a friendly-looking monster who won a prize as Germany’s largest rabbit.
The North Koreans deny Kim ate any rabbits and argue that they are in the Pyongyang Zoo being looked after and encouraged to have casual sex.
Personally we’re very excited about Herr Szmolinsky’s next business venture – “China is sending a delegation to inspect my animals in June or July and may ask me to go to Shanghai.”
Hopefully he’ll bring champion rabbit Robert’s son, Robert II, who is reportedly safe in his hutch in Germany.
Paul French, Asia Editor, and Matthew Crabbe, Access Asia (and sometime writer for EC)