Wow. There are some mornings when you go to the NY Times website and you think you've seen it all. But then you get forwarded something like this, an article from the Washington Post describing how the North Korean government is trying to stave off nationwide famine by breeding oversized rabbits.
I'm not kidding. As the picture above shows, you can create some pretty big bunnies if you know what you're doing--which apparently Karl Szmolinsky, a breeder in Germany, does. His favorite breed, German gray giants, are described as being "the size of a full-grown beagle and so fat they can barely hop."
So it's weird enough that there's some guy out there trying to breed gargantuan bunnies (the Wallace and Gromit film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, springs to mind). But it gets much, much stranger--the North Korean embassy in Berlin heard about his bunnies, and contacted him to see if he might help them learn how to breed animals of their own. Why? To help stave off famine. As the article puts it, they "saw a possible solution to their nation's endemic food shortage: an enormous bunny in every Korean's pot."
(The article comments that, "How, exactly, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea intends to parlay the small herd of German Flopsies into hunger relief for its 23 million citizens is unclear.")
Szmolinsky traveled to Pyongyang to personally drop off four of his finest rabbits, who are now in North Korean hands. But he's fearful of what's happened to them since; they apparently need to be fed "like pigs" in order to reach impressive size. I don't want to bust the North Koreans' bubble or anything, but if you're so strapped for food that you can't afford to feed normal livestock, breeding giant, hungry rabbits might not be the best solution. But hey, then again, what do I know about ruling hermetically sealed dictatorships?
It's not like I look like Kim Jong Il or anything.
This is the blog for Salt Magazine.