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An interesting listen, guinea pig meat from Peru

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CavySpirit

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An excerpt from the 9.5.2006 NPR/BBC program “The World.”

Guinea pig report (5:10)

In the United States, guinea pigs are known for being cuddly pets and able laboratory animals. But in parts of South America, they've long been a vital source of protein. Now thanks to Peruvian and Ecuadorian immigration to the U.S., guinea pig may be coming to a restaurant near you. Correspondent Chip Mitchell explains.

The World

Make note of California law!

My personal opinion, I don't want it imported at all. Why? We don't need it. However, I AM okay with people raising, killing and eating their OWN guinea pigs. If you ARE going to eat meat, then raising and killing it yourself the only acceptable alternative in my book. That is only IF you then don't turn around and buy a pack of hamburger in the grocery store. And in economically depressed countries, it makes sense. If you had to kill your own animals, there would certainly be a LOT more vegetarians in the world.
 

Tatalp

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The sound on my computer is broken, so I can't say anything about the video, but I will say this about cavy meat being eaten in America:
If this becomes mainstream, it will become a nightmare for cavy rescuers. Nobody will want them as a pet once they've become "livestock". The welfare laws regarding their care will also porbably become more relaxed, seeing as they are "just for food". While eating cavy is really no worse than eating any other animal, I do wish it wouldn't happen in America.
 

Sabriel

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I think it's kinda twisted in a morbid way that the guinea pigs in the back ground where wheeking. :(

This is exactly why I went veg. I couldn't imagine sitting down to a plate of guinea pig so why was I doing it to cows? (I pet some cows last weekend. They are kinda cute!)

I don't see this taking off too much. I think the average person would find them too difficult to eat. That's why people like Chicken McNuggets and hambugers and the like. No work to get to your food. You don't see people eating lobsters or cray fish too often because it takes too much work to actually get any food out of them.
 

Access

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As an environmentalist / conservationalist I think it's absolutely wrong. I've had many different pets in my life and never have I had any pet that eats, drinks, and poops as much as my two pigs. There are better alternatives, like the type of subsistance farming practiced in China for thousands of years, also the vikings, mongols, other cultures, or if economics (supply / demand) are such that livestock is more profitable, animals like goats or pigs (full-size pigs, not cavies) can be multi-use, providing milk, labor, companionship, warmth, and/or meat.

The one person I talked to from that area said that in his experience it was a 'luxury' food served in 'gourmet' upper-class resturants. I hate to imagine what he talked of, cavies skinned alive, impaled with sticks, spice added, and cooked, very cruel practices and treatment deemed to 'improve' the taste.
 

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Why would nobody want them as a pet if they were also "livestock?" Rabbits are a meat/fur animal as well as a pet animal, and I know many people who keep chickens, sheep and other livestock animals as pets.
 

salana

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I've had many different pets in my life and never have I had any pet that eats, drinks, and poops as much as my two pigs.

Yes, guinea pigs eat a lot. Why? Because they eat grass, a low nutrient food. Humans can't eat grass. Guinea pigs take a natural resource that humans can't make direct use of (grass) and turn it into a resource that we can (meat). But then, so do cows and sheep--the waste is when we get impatient for them to grow up big and quick and feed them resources that we can use, like grain or cow brains (eew). That turns them into competitors for our natural resources.

Guinea pig poops are useful for fertilizer, especially for coca plants. In fact, guinea pig farms get about 20% of their income from coca growers. Of course, coca is in demand because of the trade in cocaine.
 

Access

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Actually in the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) the common people are forced to survive by eating grass and other similar things. Under the DPRKs 'army first' policy, anything having to do with feeding the common people is largely ignored. There was a series of articles in the news on this several months ago.

And my point is that, if it's got to be livestock, goats are used for milk, meat, companionship, entertainment, warmth throught mexico, and they are grass-eating.

As far as using the 'waste', that's true for any animal, not just cavies. And there are negative environmental byproducts also, like the methane released into the air from such practices. I don't see how, that farmers who ultimately are making cocaine are using the poop to fertilize their crop, or that warlords and terrorists are using the urine the make saltpeter (a precursor to black powder and other explosives) is something to be glad about. With goats, you can do useful things like build houses or other structures out of the waste, that seems much more useful to the common person than growing cocaine or making explosives.
 

salana

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Well, there's obviously problems in the DPRK that need to be addressed. I'm not sure what the relevance is to the rest of the argument. Grass is still not actually that nutritionally available for humans, plus it's very abrasive on teeth.

I'm not glad about the coca industry. I'm just saying there's a real life example, and that pigs are an economically viable livestock option in South America, not as wasteful as you're saying they are. Of course, pretty much all traditional livestock keeping is less wasteful than current practices.
 

Jennicat

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Actually in the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) the common people are forced to survive by eating grass and other similar things. Under the DPRKs 'army first' policy, anything having to do with feeding the common people is largely ignored. There was a series of articles in the news on this several months ago.

And my point is that, if it's got to be livestock, goats are used for milk, meat, companionship, entertainment, warmth throught mexico, and they are grass-eating.

As far as using the 'waste', that's true for any animal, not just cavies. And there are negative environmental byproducts also, like the methane released into the air from such practices. I don't see how, that farmers who ultimately are making cocaine are using the poop to fertilize their crop, or that warlords and terrorists are using the urine the make saltpeter (a precursor to black powder and other explosives) is something to be glad about. With goats, you can do useful things like build houses or other structures out of the waste, that seems much more useful to the common person than growing cocaine or making explosives.

It may not be as eco-friendly as raising a goat or a cow, but many of the poor farmers in Peru can't afford a goat or a cow, or the land to keep them on. Or stay fed in the slow time it takes them to reproduce (compared to guinea pigs).
 

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Well if they weren't 'economically viable' to begin with, they wouldn't be raised as livestock at all. Let's just say that cavies aren't optimal, not as optimal as other animals like goats or subsistance farming, in the same way one could compare traditional livestock keeping to the corporate 'factory farms'. Factory farms have a lot of volume, a lot more animals, but the waste and environmental impact, not to mention the 'other' issues like animal cruelty, make them much worse and long term non-sustainable. It's like strip mining or clear cutting, wholesale destruction of otherwise sustainable resources for short-term economic gain. Raising cavies for meat under the guise of tradition, when the common people are impoverised and don't have enough to eat, that is just as irresponsible as the DPRK's 'army first' policy. Cavies are a luxury food, inefficient and wasteful but pushed on the common people by the aristocracy, who makes them economically viable because they are willing to pay more for this luxury food. It's like when Marie Antionette lost her head for saying of the commoners 'let them eat cake' when the reality was, they couldn't even afford bread due to the economic exploitation and mismanagement by the noble class (luxury crops or land mismanagement had cut the bread supply, driving prices of even common foods too high for commoners to afford). Sorry if it seems like a rant, I think we probably agree on more things than we disagree on.

As far as not being able to afford a goat, there are 'sustainable aid' programs which give them goats, an education, etc., in contrast to the one-time handouts given by the UN which just end up making them dependent. One goat can support whole family, with milk, cheese, offspring that can be sold, etc.

Here's an example, just an example not any kind of advertisement I hope.
World Vision Gifts of Hope
 
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CavySpirit

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Yes, it was a rant.

If find this statement judgemental, sweeping, assuming and highly opinionated: Cavies are a luxury food, inefficient and wasteful but pushed on the common people by the aristocracy, who makes them economically viable because they are willing to pay more for this luxury food.

I do not feel like getting into some debate about solving world hunger. Trying to argue these 'never going to happen' theoretical debates feels like another waste of animal welfare emotion to me.

I think the major points have been made. This particular thread is closed before it gets completely out of hand and thoroughly off-topic.
 
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