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Eating Guinea Pigs

Updated on June 2, 2010

Tasty, Tasty Guinea Pigs

South America is a place of many wonders, natural and cultural. Indeed, South America has acted as the cradle of many popular global trends, like the Macarena, and the guinea pig. Since the 16th century, when traders first showed up at Western ports with cute fluffy little creatures, the West has been guinea pig mad. South America has been guinea pig mad for much longer, but for strikingly different reasons.

It turns out that the modern guinea pig, the one you keep in a hutch in the back yard, the one that whistles and squeals for food and then acts as if you might be about to slaughter it when you come to feed it has good reason to do so. You see, the Brazilian Guinea Pig, (also known as a 'Prea') is the modern ancestor (if such a term makes sense) of the domestic guinea pig. And the domestic guinea pig is a popular source of food in South America.

You may be pleased to know that although the wild Brazilian Guinea Pig is not considered an endangered species, when it comes to eating guinea pigs, domesticated guinea pigs are usually first on the menu. If that strikes you as somehow wrong, keep in mind that people in South America first domesticated the guinea pig for food over 7,000 years ago, a great long while before you or I had a chance to complain about it.

In Peru, cooked guinea pigs are called 'Cuy', and are prepared in several different ways. Some are stuffed and roasted, some are flattened and fried in what, frankly, looks like a fairly grotesque meal. It may seem strange, even somehow slightly cannibalistic to eat an animal capable of begging you to feed it, however we must remember, as we hug our non food source guinea pigs close, that in some parts of the world, people do not have the luxury of keeping little furry bundles of meat around purely for the pleasure of their company.

Indeed, it is not only the locals who enjoy chowing down on guinea pigs, tourists traveling through South America usually find a feast of guinea pig hard to turn down. In many cases, Cuy is the South American equivalent of America's apple pie. People speak proudly about how well their mothers or wives cook guinea pigs, and no doubt contention over who cooks the best guinea pig runs rife in tight knit families.Cuy are generally eaten by being picked up in both hands as the flesh is sucked off the thin bones, which are then ejected from the mouth. A single Cuy is a snack, three or four are recommended for a fully satisfying meal.

And the taste of guinea pig? Something like pork, apparently. Suddenly the names of these rodents, animals totally unrelated to actual pigs, makes total sense.


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      guinea pig lover 3 years ago

      Omg this is terrible guinea pigs don't deserve this I wish I could put a stop to this

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      It's strange that long before Guinea pigs became pets they were food. In America they were mainly used for experimenting on/testing out new medicines, that is where the name Guinea pig came from. Once animal rights took over and said unfair, we were left with these cute little bundles of joy and looked more at them as pets. Me personally I would love to try some deep fried........

    • izzle808 profile image

      izzle808 5 years ago

      This is disgusting. Guinea pigs are adorable lovable trusting friends. WHo's with me on this??? :0

    • givingfairy profile image

      givingfairy 6 years ago from some place in the Big Apple

      Winter my Guinea pig is like family and I can't bear the thought of her being dinner. Great hub

    • profile image

      DIANE 6 years ago


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      peru 7 years ago


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      MeghanByte 7 years ago

      Oh, god. That's awful. I love my squiddly pig, Brownie, and I couldn't bear to have her eaten. That's shocking.