Soldiers in North Korea have reportedly been given an order not normally seen in the military: to breed rabbits. The new directive comes amidst rumors of a famine plaguing the country, leading many experts to believe that the army hopes to use the increased rabbit population as a food source.
According to Daily NK, a source claimed the order was issued by the Ministry of People's Armed Forces and is unprecedented in North Korean history. The directive purportedly has two parts. The first is that each soldier must breed "1.5 rabbits of at least 3.5 kilograms."
The uneven number takes into consideration that the breeding will be done by companies -- meaning a company of 130 soldiers will be responsible for 195 rabbits. The rabbit rearing duties are in addition to completing their normal military drills.
The insider added that officials have planned to conduct an "evaluation" of their progress in raising the rabbits sometime in late August.
However, it is not just the soldiers who are in charge of breeding the animals. Their families are expected to participate in the order as well -- and at an even greater level. The source claimed that each family has been ordered to breed 15 rabbits as well.
According to Daily NK, breeding the rabbits includes "expanding the number of rabbit cages, boosting rabbit numbers and obtaining rabbit food."
"Soldiers carry out their duties and training in the morning, then have to head into the hills to pick acacia leaves and clover for an hour before they can rest," a source explained. "Although [the authorities] have made a lot of noise about raising rabbits in the past, this is the first time they have given soldiers a specific number of rabbits to breed."
"The authorities seem to be subtly hinting that soldiers must find things to eat because they won't get much food from the government," the insider concluded.
The order comes after the nation's leader Kim Jong Un ordered citizens to raise more grass-eating animals in the hopes of inexpensively acquiring more meat.
The directive also comes amid rumors of severe food shortages in the hermit kingdom. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, a source had told the news outlet earlier in June that residents in the capital city of Pyongyang had been living without food rations for the past three months.
Such conditions had not been seen since the great famine of the mid-1990s, during which millions of North Koreans are believed to have died from starvation.