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Science

Giant Rabbits To Feed North Korea 421

Posted by kdawson
from the mmm-thumper dept.
iamdrscience writes with news of an East German pensioner who breeds rabbits the size of dogs. Karl Szmolinsky won a prize for breeding Germany's largest rabbit, at 23 lbs., in 2006. News photos reached the North Koreans, who asked through their embassy whether Szmolinsky would be willing to sell them some as foodstocks — each rabbit yields about 15 lb. of meat. A deal was struck and Szmolinsky will be traveling to North Korea in April to help them set up a breeding program. (The photos in the article use the most extreme, contrived camera angles to make the rabbits look even more huge.)
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Giant Rabbits To Feed North Korea

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  • i for one (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:38AM (#17600460)
    welcome our Giant Rabbit Overlords
    • by PapayaSF (721268) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:02AM (#17600598) Journal

      In Soviet North Korea, rabbits eat you!

      Seriously though, how absurd is it that anyone thinks this is going to make any difference: it's a Communist dictatorship. The government runs food production and distribution, so of course they don't have enough food. All the rabbits in the world won't change that. It's sad and absurd that the average North Korean is still paying the price for a government that ignores that basic fact, proven so thoroughly and with so many graves in the 20th century.

      • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:10AM (#17600644)
        Having grown in Soviet Union, I'll attest to the fact. No matter how many resources the government will have, no matter how much the technology progresses, it will all get mis-managed, wasted and funneled into militarization. The price of the human life is very low.

        But I gotta give them credit, at least they got the right idea about how to properly run a communist country -- fear! Stalin style (yeah, I like the alliteration, just came up with it!) People will obey when they see their neighbors in the evening and by morning the secret police have taken them away because someone made up a lie about them being "enemies of the people." I am not making this up, this happened to families I knew personally, this is how things are in NK.
      • by vandan (151516)
        it's a Communist dictatorship

        No. It's just a dictatorship. Do some research on what communism is.
        • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @05:09AM (#17601090) Journal
          Communism is just a precursor of Dictatorship.

          This is because Marx had this stupid idea of condoning or even encouraging violence as the way to achieve Communism.

          So when you have a "Communist" Revolution ala Marx, guess who ends up becoming leader of the country?

          The one who was willing AND able to exert the most violence.

          Yeah, that's right, most of the time you get Mr "Silence all Opposition".

          Marx's Communism is severely flawed because of this.

          You basically have to wait till you get taken over by a Benevolent Dictator, or the Evil Dictator hands power to nondictators, or Mr Dictator has a change of heart.
          • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @05:44AM (#17601228) Homepage
            Dictatorship is a precursor to communism.

            Move specifically, the "dictatorship of the proletariat". It is in the official Marxist road to Communism, a temporary state of dictatorship that should lead to the promised land.

            Just about all self-declared Marxist regimes claimed to be the "dictatorship of the proletariat" state, being bright enough not to claim to the people that the current state of affairs was he best they could hope for. The one exception I know of was Albania, which at some point claimed to have reached "true Communism".

            It has been rough to get there, but those intellectuals that still dream of Communism have mostly reached the conclusion that any kind of dictatorship of temporarily suspension civil rights are *not* acceptable steps on the way. It just took a few (well, rather more than a few) million lives to get to that insight.

            Hopefully it will take less than that for the neo-Conservative to see that torture and other suspension of civil rights are not acceptable means to reach their goals, neither abroad or at home. Unless, of course, that is their goals.
      • by Marcion (876801) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @06:41AM (#17601494) Homepage Journal
        >Seriously though, how absurd is it that anyone thinks this is going to make any difference

        In Roman Britain Rabbits were an important food supplement. A large number could be easily be fed and cared for by the Children while the parents did more arduous agricultural tasks such as attempting to grow crops or maintain larger animals.

        Pretty bad that in 2006 we have come to this though, especially when the US and EU ploughing food back into the soil and African countries would dearly love to be able to have foreign food markets.
      • It might help (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @09:35AM (#17602198) Homepage

        All the rabbits in the world won't change that.

        Maybe not but it certainly might help. Rabbits can survive on grass and crude silage, can be grown in relatively small areas and reproduce reliably. Faster than goats, the most widely eaten animal on the planet.

        Similar husbandry programs with cavia porcellus, guinea pigs to you, have helped many families lift themselves out of poverty [amren.com] in Peru and other areas in South America.

        Rabbits would be better suited to the colder climate of North Korea. The fur would provide a secondary revenue source. It may not sound like much but when you're dirt poor having meat to eat and furs to trade is big deal.

        How is this not a good thing? Why would you want to see the North Korean people starve just because their government is the asshat of the world? That's almost as silly as people hating all Americans because Bush is a douche bag. It's not like they elected that idiot in North Korea and there's growing evidence we didn't elect our idiot, either.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wonkavader (605434)
          I think this analysis really depends on whether these hyper-growing rabbits still have the eating requirements of their smaller cousins. If they can still survive (at their growth rate and ultimate size) on what's indigestible to humans, then clearly this is a big win. If they require big nutricious vegtables (the breeder says he currently feeds them kale) that would otherwise be edible by humans, then they aren't going to help -- they'll be less efficient than the humans eating the vegtables.

          If only this
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Foole (739032)
      *wipes dust from title*

      "Giant Rabbits To Feed On North Korea"

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You insensitive clod!

      Regards,

      Jimmy Carter.
  • Harvey? (Score:3, Funny)

    by ShaunC (203807) * on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:38AM (#17600462)
    Is that you, Harvey? I can't see... :)

    On the plus side, I don't see anything wrong with eating rabbit meat. Rabbits are well known for their reproductive capabilities, so if it's edible, why not? It beats kimchee...
    • by Palal (836081)
      Actually the meat tastes better than chicken. Many middle eastern restaurants serve rabbit on the menu and it's delicious, if cooked right.
    • by fabs64 (657132)
      Rabbit cooked properly is one of the nicest meats imo.
  • Roos (Score:5, Funny)

    by HermanAB (661181) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:40AM (#17600476)
    In Australia the rabbits are even bigger - I think they call them 'roos'...
    • Re:Roos (Score:5, Funny)

      by stox (131684) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:45AM (#17600506) Homepage
      In the US, they're even bigger, we call them "politicians."
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, Kangaroos are often larger than your average politician; quite a bit more intelligent as well.
    • I grew up in America, so, for most of my life, a rabbit was a fuzzy little critter about the size of a football which hops around suburban lawns. In Western Europe, however, that is not the case. The rabbits here are huge--bigger than my first dog--and wander the streets at night like well-armed Turkish hoodlums.

      Seriously, fuck those rabbits.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cee (22717)
      In Australia the rabbits are even bigger - I think they call them 'roos'...

      This reminds me of what happened in Australia [wikipedia.org] when the brought rabbits there in the first place. Granted, I guess there already are native rabbits in North Korea, but it's a very risky business to bring in foreign species into an ecosystem.
      The first episode of the documentary Strange Days on Planet Earth illustrates that quite clearly.
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:40AM (#17600478) Homepage Journal

    who breeds rabbits the size of dogs.

    Why don't the North Koreans just continue to eat dogs?

    • by tilandal (1004811) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:43AM (#17600498)
      Because dogs eat protein so that would defeat the purpose.
    • The dogs will have to evolve and get bigger to be able to kill the rabbits. That way they get bigger dogs too!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      Why don't the North Koreans just continue to eat dogs?

      Because the fashion industry doesn't like to admit to selling products made out of dog fur.
      really, they don't [google.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by comradeeroid (1048432)
      Why don't the North Koreans just continue to eat dogs?

      A dog must eat meat to grow, which means you have to first feed an animal that you feed to the dog. As you can understand this is wastefull since you'll loose energy in the conversion from vegetables to dogfood.
      The problem is that any conversion from vegetables to meat is a lossy one, so in the end even the rabbits are a stupid (yet so brilliantly communistic) idea. It would be better to grow crops and feed the north Koreans vegetarian food. (though
      • by strider44 (650833)
        They will also be hugely malnourished. We're omnivores - we need meat as well as vegetables.
  • Rabbit Starvation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:40AM (#17600484)
    • Symptoms include diarrhea, headache, lassitude, a vague discomfort and hunger that can only be satisfied by consumption of fat or carbohydrate. At least Americans won't be the only ones laughed at for being fat.
  • by monkeySauce (562927) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:44AM (#17600500) Journal
    Can anyone else see next month's headline? ... Giant Rabid Rabbits Wreck Havoc on North Korean Village.

    The giant rabbit thing sounds straight out of a cheesy horror film. I think I would go with micro rabbits instead. You could breed them by the millions and just eat them whole like little snacks. They might be a little furry and a little crunchy, but at least there is less danger they will turn out evil and eat your children.
  • by dj245 (732906) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:44AM (#17600504) Homepage
    Are they made of wood?
  • SQUISH! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And a beef will rise again, broken machine in his hand. Ten words: snapping bunnies twitching gurgling forget the bombs in your eyes. Roaring with whispers to the tiny bunnies SMASH/SPLAT those fucking bunnies. Send them information in a sensationalist manner, THEY CORRUPT. Heads snapping and misspelling eyes twitching in response to the sound of the words. Red world-like words zooming boiling. Moons in the shallow sky. Roaring with whispers to the tiny bunnies SPLAT/SQUISH those fucking bunnies. Twitching
  • by argoff (142580) * on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:47AM (#17600532)
    If he thinks that he is going to help the poor starving North Koreans, he will probably be in for the shock of his life. It will probably be for the rich ruling class, or even worse the elite may suffer from poor aim when they go out hunting rabits for sport.

    If Korea is really concerned about starvation, they should look at their neighbor China. China went from a disaster of 10's of millions of starving people to total solution almost immediately. How did they do it? They let the farmers have private property rights.
    • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:01AM (#17600594)
      North Korea is not like China, not even close. It is very much like Soviet Union under Stalin. It is pretty much a time capsule of the 50s. Google for some blogs or photos from westerners who went there, it is a totally surreal experience.

      Large empty streets, every foreigner is followed by an assigned guide. If a tourist as much as takes a digital photo of one of their leader's statues that is off center or has the head cut-off they are forced to retake the picture. There are stories of children being used to help harvest poppies for heroin production after they get off school. Everything is a show, they use all of their funds to build their military while hundreds of thousands are starving. Their leader is crazy and he has nukes. Iraq was a kindergarten compared to NK. Until the crazy dictators are ruling the country no amount of giant fluffy (and yummy) bunnies will save the people from starvation...

      • by iSeal (854481) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:37AM (#17600758)
        North Korea spends %50 of it's expenditures on Military. It is a massive force, as all citizens are required to spend 10 years in it. A massive force which is a consumer of food, and is reputed to steal it at their behest. Kim Il-Sung is credited for pushing forth "revolutionary" agricultural techniques, that in reality were disastrous failures. North Korea's recent public escapades, among other previous activities, have jeopardized vital capital from South Korea (NK = cheap labour.) It has little credibility in the international marketplace, as the regime is notorious for failing to repay debts. At the same time, the regime doesn't want to initiate trade relations, because it goes against it's Juche philosophy. In truth, these are all acts of twisted paranoia for the sake of the regime's self-preservation. The starvation isn't a product of North Korea's poverty or lack of natural resources. It's a product of North Korea's regime.

        A regime that would rather see the misery of all it's citizens than reunifying under the leadership of the south.
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:53AM (#17600552)
    DAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

    They may not taste good but they can dance.
  • Terrorism (Score:5, Funny)

    by seifried (12921) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:57AM (#17600568) Homepage
    What happens when (not if) N. Korea weaponizes these giant rabbits? Possibly by irradiating them and turning them into an even larger and more fearsome animal (sort of like African killer bees, but with big floppy death ray shooting ears). Seriously folks. Won't someone think of the children?
  • Efficiency? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UOZaphod (31190) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:00AM (#17600588)

    I'm not a vegetarian myself, but even this raises questions regarding the efficiency of such an operation.

    Is it more efficient to feed these rabbits vegetable matter to be converted to protein (which, according to the article, is what the diet of many N. Koreans is deficient in), or would it be better instead to grow protein-rich plants that can be consumed directly by the people?

    If the rabbits can consume grasses and other things that humans are unable to digest efficiently, and convert that into protein, then I suppose it would make sense.

    • Re:Efficiency? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shmurfect (723759) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:23AM (#17600702)
      In terms of efficiency, it would be most efficient environmentally to have N. Koreans consume protein-rich vegetables directly, as each step through the food chain is about 10% efficient. This is why, if you look down the food chain, the biomass of plants and vegetables is exponentially greater than herbivores, as herbivores are exponentially greater than carnivores. At each step down the line, there is a tremendous waste of energy.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by UOZaphod (31190)
        What I'm wondering, however, is if the situation is such that there are tracts of land that aren't suitable for growing such protein-rich vegetables. The same land, however, may yield grasses and other plants that would make fine rabbit food. The rabbits become a supplement to the protein-deficient diet of the people, because they can convert plant matter that was once non-beneficial to something that is.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mblase (200735)
        At each step down the line, there is a tremendous waste of energy.

        But a tenfold increase in taste.

        Plus you don't get gas from eating an entire plate of chicken protein.
    • "I feed them everything -- grain, carrots, a lot of vegetables. At the moment they're getting kale," said Szmolinsky.

      Since I'm sure the Koreans could eat that themselves, I suspect the rabbits are going to get a lot of grass.
    • Beans provide the protein but then we deal with the methane issues and global warming. Giant bunnies or global warming take your pick.
    • by Duncan3 (10537)
      Short version, yes, they are stupid.
      Long answer, yes, they are really they stupid.

      But then here in the US we're racing to turn all our food into SUV fuel, so at least they aren't THAT stupid. *sigh*

    • by Jesrad (716567)
      Some people in NK are already down to eating grass/. I read the testimonies of a cartoonist who went there on a deal from his employer (TV company) to deliver instructions at a cartoon animation studio in Pyongyang: at one point he saw people munching on the grass. Salaries in this country are paid -if at all- directly in rice bags from international aid, when there is any available.

      NK doesn't have enough human work time and resources devoted to growing enough vegetables and cereals for its people, because
  • Long term effects? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sinserve (455889) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:02AM (#17600596)
    I don't know the technical name for it, but eating the ultra lean rabbit meat is known to cause malnutrition and eventual poisoning and death. I have seen several "adventure" videos where the survival experts remind viewers not to go very long on rabbit meat alone, for its lack of fat, and augment it with other sources of fat.

    • by feld (980784) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:16AM (#17600672)
      I disagree. I've made it plenty of times to California being only able to shoot and kill rabbits.

      PS we used a raft to get past the last river.

      PPS my wife died of cholera
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      I don't know the technical name for it, but eating the ultra lean rabbit meat is known to cause malnutrition and eventual poisoning and death.

      But see, the thing is... the average Kim Joe in NK is already starving/malnurished. The place is a culinary hell-hole, that way. The Stalinst way they run their agriculture is having (shocking!) the same results that it did under Stalin: mass starvation and death, unless you're in the military. Eeesh, what a place. And the people there seem to really believe that t
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by replicant108 (690832)
        Incredible what the in-house propaganda machine can get away with

        Those were exactly my thoughts reading the comments attached to this article.
  • Now PETA is going to have to side against North Korea...muwahahahaha. PETA and bush on the same side...never thought I'd see the day...
    • by creimer (824291)
      You never seen Peter the Rabbit making out in the bush before? I think you need a course in the birds and the bees.
    • by ross.w (87751)
      People Eating Tasty Animals? Aren't rabbits tasty?
  • by creimer (824291) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:14AM (#17600666) Homepage
    Aren't these giant rabbits subject to military export control laws? An army of killer rabbits is no joking matter. It would be safer let the North Koreans have nukes than an army of killer rabbits.
  • Or does that first picture just look wrong?
  • by TechnoGuyRob (926031) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:22AM (#17600698) Homepage
    Nothing to see h--Oh. Wow. Nevermind.
  • For those who thought that the North Korean nuclear test was a hoax, take that!
  • Karl Szmolinsky won a prize for breeding Germany's largest rabbit, at 23 lbs.

    See, people, this is what happens when you don't heed General Mills' warning:

    TRIX ARE FOR KIDS!!!!!

  • by JohnnyOpcode (929170) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:32AM (#17600742)
    I'd say that the N.Koreans will be breeding these wabbits to release into the DMZ (detonate the mines) as a response to everyone laughing at their low-yield nuclear capability demonstration. Kim Jong whatever his name is got the idea from Snakes On A Plane. Think of the global (not to mention local) impact of thousands of bunnies being blown-up in the DMZ (and seen on CNN). Only a evil genius would bring the world to the brink this way. F@#king brilliant, I with I had thought of it first!
  • by Darth (29071) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:36AM (#17600752) Homepage
    One step closer to Night of the Lepus. My plans to cause the least likely horror movie to become a reality are almost complete.
  • well, I used to have a chihuahua and a shi-tsu, so...

    anyways, when I was a kid I used to visit the annual small animal breeders show in our hometown (basically, a show such as where the breeder of those "dog-sized" rabbits won that prize) because there was not much else to do in our little town, and I don't think 23lbs is that much bigger than some of the rabbits I've seen there.

  • by kiddailey (165202) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:44AM (#17600792) Homepage
    Well, at least we know that North Korea is now safe from Jimmy Carter. ;)
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:45AM (#17600802)
    For the love of God hasn't anyone seen "Night of the Lepus!" Deforest Kelly is dead. Who's gonna save us from the giant rabbits this time? I hope they have a rail system they can electricute the super bunnies on. If people would just watch more cheesy SciFi films we wouldn't have these problems. SciFi Channel is there to inform people! Next thing you know we'll be dealing with giant snakehead fish in our lakes. Watch these films and learn! Giant rabbits turn carnivous. They knew this in the 70s. How soon we forget!
  • by iSeal (854481) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @04:08AM (#17600888)
    Did anyone else find this quote amusing, from the original article?
    "I'm not increasing production and I'm not taking any more orders after this. They cost a lot to feed," he [German Farmer] said.

    They're too expensive to feed for the German farmer to continue. By German rabbit-breeding standards. Now if the North Korean regime already (and allegedly) finds it too expensive to feed it's own people on even the lowest standards, how is diverting those much needed foodstuffs to rabbits going to solve anything?

    Usually there's a logic to this. Unfortunately, the same people powering this decision are the same people that had the foresight of building a massive hotel that couldn't be finished (you know what I'm talking about if you're familiar with Pyongyang.)
  • by pontifier (601767)
    I find it interesting that the skins are discarded.
  • TFA uses metric units, but the slashdot machinery has for some reason converted it to imperial units. Why?
  • O Lord, bless this, Thy hand grenade, that with it, Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits... in Thy mercy.

    and remember, Five is right out!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The photos in the article use the most extreme, contrived camera angles to make the rabbits look even more huge.

    I dunno about that, but this [spiegel.de] shot could get him in a lot of trouble with the law in some places.
  • How many kilograms of food will be needed to feed each rabbit need to produce the 7 kilograms of rabbit meat? There is also a possibility of an ecological disaster waiting to happen in the form of an explosion of the rabbit population due to its large reproductive nature. If they got into the wild, they would strip the land of any agriculture left and the people would be far worse off than there are now. The same thing happened when rabbits were introduced to Australia. The best solution is for North Kore
  • by confield (892132) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @05:01AM (#17601066)
    Father Turtle: So you nervous for the race tomorrow, son?
    Turtle Jr: No way, Dad! Us turtles NEVER lose to the rabbit!
    Father Turtle: Riight... but I think you better have a look at the competition.

    * In thunders the giant German Rabbit dwarfing Father Turtle and his son *

    Giant Rabbit: Guten Tag!
  • Brilliant ! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joebert (946227) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @07:55AM (#17601788) Homepage
    Giant Rabbits To Feed North Korea

    In the future, they'll be able to reuse 97% of that headline.

    Giant Rabbits Feed On North Korea

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