Would You Eat A Guinea Pig?
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Would You Eat A Guinea Pig?

In the Andes they do...

180
Would You Eat A Guinea Pig?
Pexels

The cute little furry rodents known as guinea pigs are considered to be one of the 10 Popular Small Pets, according to Animal Planet. They are also recommended perfect for children of any age, great as a “starter” pet. In South America on the other hand, guinea pigs are part of the Andean Culture, mostly known as a traditional dish, but also an important economic component.

According to a Latin American Research Review by Edmundo Morales called “The Guinea Pig in the Andean Economy: From Household Animal to Market Commodity,” guinea pigs form an influential part in the Andean culture and economy. Morales stated, “The guinea pig has been raised and consumed throughout the Andean subregion since before the arrival of Spaniards in America.”

Live Science reported that the Incas domesticated guinea pigs more than 3,000 years ago. As a consequence, around the end of the 16th century during the Elizabethan society, Spanish conquistadors took guinea pigs from South America to Europe, where they became popular pets, according to National Geographic.

Yet, the demand for guinea pigs is also showing up more on plates in the United States. According to NPR, South American restaurants on both coasts seem to be pushing the trend, answering to demand mostly from Andean expats for what is considered a fine and valuable food in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.

When I lived in Ecuador, my grandparents had a small animal hutch on the terrace where they raised their own guinea pigs. The cuyes, as we call them, started as small little animals that changed in size through good food and care. The results? They grew big and fat. When they reached that point, their existence wasn’t for long and instead became part of our food plates.

I would watch my grandmother slaughter them. When dead, she would toss the small dead body into hot water for a couple of minutes and later began peeling off their fur.

It’s not only my family though. It’s all over Ecuador, especially in the highland regions where cuy, or guinea pig, is very popular. Nevertheless, it’s origins seem to date back more to Peru. In 2004, CBS News reported guinea pigs as a vital source of protein for Peruvians in rural communities since they are part of Andean folk medicine and religious sacrifices.

According to CBS, an estimated 65 million guinea pigs are consumed by Peruvians each year. At the same time, guinea pigs have become a great economic source for families. In February 2017, BBC reported the economic benefit of Maria Camera, a Peruvian guinea pig breeder.

“In the past, it was only people living in the mountains who bred guinea pigs, but now we’ve realized it’s a good business,” Maria told BBC.

"You can start with something like $100 (£80) and that money quickly grows because by three months, the guinea pigs can start breeding and they will have up to five babies, so the business grows fast."

I know it may seem very cruel, but guinea pigs are an important part of the Andean culture. My family consumes high amounts, especially when imported straight from Ecuador because of its freshness. I also know many other Ecuadorians who love to eat cuy and also feed it to their children as a way of keeping the tradition.

So tell me, if you ever went to Ecuador or Peru would you dare to try our traditional dish, a cuy?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
relationships

I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend

I didn't know that you would stop doing the things that make you happy. The things everyone used to judge you for. You are the type of person who does things on YOUR terms and now they're on his.

786
I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend
unsplash.com

As your best friend, all I ever want is for you to be happy. Because as best friends, we know exactly what makes the other happy. I know all your weird and quirky lingo. I know how much you hate certain foods and most of all, I know the things that are important to you in life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine

You know YOU are not determined by your romantic status

4959
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine
https://www.southbostontoday.com/celebrating-valentines-day-in-southie-next-thursday-of-course/

Although the most romantic and love-filled holiday is right around the corner, it's important to know that Feb.14, the middle day of the shortest month of the year, doesn't need to be determined by your current romantic status. With that being said, you can either choose to sulk over the fact that you're single or you can make the best out of Valentine's Day without even having one.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower

The iconic landmark is reinventing itself with a splashy new color.

7889
Eiffel Tower

Soon, the 2024 Summer Olympics are coming to Paris, and the Eiffel Tower will be in the spotlight.

Embedded so much into Paris's identity, the iconic landmark is no stranger to historic events and world-class gatherings over the years. It is sure to shine again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

You don't just start as the person you are meant to be; there is a journey full of ups and downs that mold a person, so this is my journey.

6496
Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

Overall I'd love to say I grew up a happy overly enthusiastic child that was taught to love herself and be loved by everyone else, but I can't say that and I never will. My smile wasn't always as bright as it is today, but this is the story behind my smile, the story about how I got here to the happiest place I'll ever be. I'll begin at freshman year of high school.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants

Just remember sometimes it is gonna hurt, whether we want it to or not!

8323
The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants
Where to start...... Let me start with the cliche that life throws us curveballs and what we do with it is what counts.

One day he walked into my life. UNEXPECTED! And one day he walked out!

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments