Suddenly there is a ray of hope that North Koreans—even those who are not employed by the armed forces or the secret police—will have something more nutritious than grass and bark in their cooking pots. According to a report in the Washington Post of February 2, the North Korean embassy in Berlin recently sent a delegation to a German agricultural fair at which a retired chauffeur named Karl Szmolinsky showed off hugely oversized rabbits that he had bred—some reaching “the size of a full-grown beagle.” “Eureka!,” thought an embassy official, presumably the economic attaché. Your average rabbit might make a meal for two or three people. But according to Szmolinsky, a single one of his “gray giants” can, if properly butchered, yield fifteen pounds of meet, enough to feed, say, thirty. It is easy for even a Communist economist to see, therefore, that if you raise these monsters instead of regular rabbits you can increase one component of the food supply by a factor of ten.
And, of course, they breed like, well, rabbits. So Pyongyang ordered half a dozen of the critters as seed stock.
There is, however, a catch. “It takes wheelbarrow-loads of hay, vegetables, and rabbit chow to bring them to maturity,” reports the Post. In other words, your average “gray giant” eats more and better than your average North Korean. Ergo, still more North Koreans will have to starve in order to feed the rabbits.
Although the rabbit venture may not quiet the North Koreans’ hunger, it may have one beneficial side effect. Those old enough to recall his presidency will remember that Jimmy Carter is deathly afraid of killer rabbits. Word of these “gray giants” should keep him away from Pyongyang—and we will all be safer for it.