October 1, 2022

"In recent weeks, so many people have called Bill Crain’s Hudson Valley farm rescue to surrender their ducks and chickens — many purchased at the height of the pandemic lockdown..."

"... that he finally marched into a local farm store and demanded to speak to a manager. His plea: Stop selling chicks and ducklings.... 'It’s a crisis that people are abandoning these animals,' he said. One of the slim silver linings of the pandemic’s earliest days was the addition of animals to many families. Some people, decamping from virus-besieged cities for the countryside, stoked a craze for backyard fowl.... Socially distant and lonely, or with kids to entertain, many cleared pet store shelves of gerbils and lizards, chinchillas and snakes....Why families are holding onto cats and dogs but relinquishing smaller animals like guinea pigs may have to do with human attachment, several experts said. On Staten Island, Jade said she was able to bear parting with her guinea pig because Honey was less interactive than her dog and cats. 'They look adorable, but I think people have this misguided conception they are going to be able to provide this companionship and fill a void that the are looking for,' said Allie Taylor, the president of Voters for Animal Rights.... On Wednesday, a box containing 22 guinea pigs of all ages was found abandoned in the lobby of a Staten Island apartment building...."

From "The Great Guinea Pig Giveaway Has Begun/From geckos to chinchillas, small pets were a pandemic balm. Now shelters across the country say they are being surrendered" (NYT).

The solution is, clearly, to eat these animals. You don't need a rescue sanctuary. You need meat processors. Ducks and chickens are obviously edible. Eat them, and the problem is gone.

But what about the guinea pigs? What about them?! Look it up. They're especially good. They've even — like pigs/pork and cattle/beef — got their own name when they are converted into meat: cuy (or cavy).

Here's a Modern Farmer article, "Is America Ready for Farm-to-Table Guinea Pig? The ubiquitous kids' starter pet / lab animal could soon be raised at a farm near you":

Several mom-and-pop eateries in Queens serve guinea pig once or twice week. The owner of Sabor Latino in Elmhurst, Jesus Inga, says he would like to serve cuy but that only very small restaurants can get away with doing so. He fears getting in trouble with local law enforcement.... But, serving guinea pig is actually legal. 

Under federal law, it’s considered an exotic meat.... Some restaurants in Los Angeles, California, another pocket of heavy South American immigration, are serving cuy as well. Although California law prevents any person from selling, buying, giving away, or accepting “any carcass of any animal traditionally or commonly kept as a pet or companion with the intent of using or having another person use any part of that carcass for food,” the law seems yet to be tested when it comes to guinea pig. 

Not all restaurants have an immigrant crowd to please. And that begs the question if there is a market for raising guinea pigs outside of the South American community. For Peter Platt, one of the family owners of Andina, a popular Peruvian restaurant in Portland, Oregon, the answer is a resounding yes: “Portland is a foodie town and has made a name for itself nationally as a very vibrant indie restaurant scene,” he says. “Consequently our local customer base prides itself on being adventurous and trying new ethnic cuisines.”

Yes, let your foodie pride flag wave. Eat the cuy. 

ADDED: Actually, I wouldn't want to eat meat that was raised by some random pet-surrenderer. There 2 distinct problems. First, once an animal is a pet, it is imbued with something like humanity that makes us feel at least squeamish, but maybe even morally outraged. Second, meat raised by some random private citizen might not be wholesome. Who knows what it was fed, what drugs it took, what lead paint chips and other detritus it nibbled? 

AND: Here's an NPR article from 2013, "From Pets To Plates: Why More People Are Eating Guinea Pigs" by Alastair Bland. (I love that name, Alastair Bland!) In classic NPR style, we're told we ought to eat guinea pigs out of political rectitude:

According to activists, eating guinea pig is good for the environment. Matt Miller, an Idaho-based science writer with The Nature Conservancy, says rodents and other small livestock represent a low-impact meat alternative to carbon-costly beef....

To render a pound of meat, a cow, he explains, may require 8 pounds of feed. A guinea pig only needs 4.... 

"There's a clear cultural prejudice against eating guinea pigs, and rodents in general, in the United States," Miller says. "But finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint is a good idea, and so is eating small livestock, like guinea pigs."

24 comments:

Leland said...

“Oh the humanity”… they’re not human, so it is ok. Eat them.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

There is big money in selling animals. The cruelty is an afterthought.

I think it should be illegal to sell lizards, and other small animals.

never mind the horrors of puppy and kitty mills.

Rory said...

If an ethnic restaurant has a back room, illegal but delicious things are being eaten there.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I amm very fond of Guinea Pigs -- ate dozens of them in Peru and Ecuador. Bring me your 45-dollar pets. There's a stew in their future.

Temujin said...

It's a slippery slope from cuy to cats.
It's a 10 minute ride from Hancock Park to Koreatown in LA.

“Portland is a foodie town and has made a name for itself nationally as a very vibrant indie restaurant scene,”

I don't think your reputation is what you think it is.

iowan2 said...

I got most of the way through the post until my instants solution appeared. Do as God intended. Eat them.
Google is great for step by step directions for everything imaginable. Field dressing a gerbil or guinea pig, for supper is a snap.
Reminds me of last fall I showed up at a farm shop about 1pm, and offered a plate. Pheasant,and rabbit that had spent the morning in a crockpot with veggies and the ubiquitous Mushroom soup. Verrrry nice. One of the boys was out early and bagged a couple of roosters and a rabbit.

Lurker21 said...

The solution is, clearly, to eat these animals.

Never go full Inca.

Levi Starks said...

Back in the 70’s myself and a friend trapped on the river closest to us.
Muskrat was the most abundant critter who’s pelt brought the best price.
We did not discard the carcass.
But to your point, yes, all domesticated animals exist as such because they provide value to humans and for the biggest portion if history that value was not companionship.

Rusty said...

I'm game. (snort)

wendybar said...

Anthony Bourdain did his show in Peru once, and they ate Guinea pigs. They seemed to me, to be slightly bigger than the ones I see in pet stores. It looked amazing. I would try it.

Iman said...

Guinea pigs on a skewer over an oak-fueled flame. Dy-no-mite!

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

I'm game.

I’m not game. That’s why I wouldn’t take the jab.

Michael K said...

When I was a child it was common to give children chicks and ducklings for Easter. One year I was given a dozen chicks and two ducklings. My father modified a doghouse to make roosts for the chicks. By summer the hens were laying pullet eggs and the roosters were starting to crow. This was in the city of Chicago. I was sent to Wisconsin for a week to visit relatives and when I returned, the chickens and ducks were gone. Sent to the family farm, I was told.

We had a lot of fried chicken that summer.

Randomizer said...

"The solution is, clearly, to eat these animals."

As Ann gets to in her ADDED note, we shouldn't eat pets, they deserve better. However, we shouldn't set them up in sanctuaries, they don't deserve that much.

We could send all of the redundant mammals and poultry to the dog and cat food factories. Feed everything else to chickens.

Wilbur said...

Wilbur loves him some duck. I deep fry one after my turkey comes out of the fryer every Thanksgiving.

I would have no hesitation about trying Guinea pig or just about anything else.

JRoberts said...

Didn't Portlandia do a sketch about a trendy restaurant where the diners wanted to know the name of the free-range chicken on the menu, whether his farm was a nice place and did he have friends while living on the farm?

Joe Smith said...

The French eat snails.

The Chinese eat anything.

Why not?

It's our Soylent® future...

whiskey said...

You almost certainly could process the chicken and duck into high quality cat or dog food. I wouldn't eat it because it would be tough, to say nothing of unsanitary. But I bet a car payment you could make good pet food out of it.

Lurker21 said...

Feed the gerbils to the snakes and that's one less thing to worry about.

rcocean said...

I never understood having rabbits, GP as pets or things like Turtles or snakes. Ducks/Geese are actually cool pets if you have the acreage for them to roam around and don't mind the endless poop.

We had ducks as pets when i was a kid, but they kept dying of disease so my parents stopped getting them. Pets are a good test of a persons character. If they cry over the death of a pet or get upset at animal cruelty, that's a positive. I'd keep a sharp eye on someone who just left a pet to die on the side of the road.

holdfast said...

Guinea pigs are neither Italian nor pork.

That is all.

Howard said...

Let them eat cuy

Rix said...

Dogs and cats are also affected by the post-pandemic pet returns. Rescues who normally help get strays off the streets are full of the returned animals, and are having trouble finding adopters. Save rates are down and some shelters have trouble keeping their no-kill status.

Molly said...

(eaglebeak)

Jeez, what a distressing group of people. All they can think about is eating guinea pigs--scarcely a thought for all the animals that people got tired of once the pandemic was over.

Perhaps there's a horror movie somewhere about giant guinea pigs stampeding through the Andes chasing tiny helpless humanoids. If not, I definitely see a niche.