The German breeder who sold 12 German Gray Giant rabbits to North Korea believes the planned breeding programme may have been canned after communist officials tucked into the oversized bunnies.
German pensioner Karl Szmolinsky was approached back in January by the North Korean embassy in Berlin after "attracting attention for breeding his country's largest rabbit". Szmolinsky subsequently supplied eight females and four males at £60 a head which were packed off to North Korea. Szmolinsky explained: "They want to boost meat production. They've arranged for me to go to Pyongyang in April to advise them on setting up a breeding farm."
However, Szmolinsky says the trip has now been cancelled, and suspects "it may be because communist officials have eaten the rabbits", according to The Telegraph. He admitted: "That's an assumption, not an assertion. But they're not getting any more. I think the animals aren't alive any more. I was due to go and inspect the animals and look at the facility. They kept delaying the trip. I would have liked to go."
Stressing his unilateral rabbit export embargo, Szmolinsky added: "North Korea won't be getting anything from me any more, they shouldn't even bother asking."
The North Korean embassy in Berlin has denied the rabbit feast claim. A spokesman said: "The rabbits aren't intended to be eaten, they are for breeding purposes."
A fully-fattened German Gray Giant can provide up to 15lb of meat - much-needed protein for a famine-stricken land. The Telegraph did spot one potentially fatal flaw in the breeding masterplan, though: since the monster rabbits are "voracious eaters", just how did the Pyongyang authorities intend to feed the beasts? ®