Look, I guess modern diets dictate that you can eat pretty much anything that doesn’t have gluten in it. So, how would you feel if I ate my pet cat? No? Bad? Why? They’re already doing it with guinea pigs.
[Matt] Miller at The Nature Conservancy says guinea pig is “delicious, very tender and hard to compare to anything else” — not even chicken. Chef Astorga at Urubamba says cuy — which he describes as “about the size of a squirrel” — has “tender flesh and very tender skin.” La Mar Cebicheria’s Chef Oka says cuy is “very oily, like pork combined with rabbit.”
That sounds delicious and excellent except that the guinea pig’s name was doubtless Egbert. He had a training wheel and a little girl named Sally, who loved him. One day he probably got lost and wandered under the radiator, where he was then pet-napped (like in Beethoven) and now you ate him. You ate Egbert.
All of Sally’s therapy bills will go to you.
NPR seems to realize this might be a problem for some eaters, and notes:
While guinea pig may be attaining star status as a hold-your-nose-and-roll-the-camera bizarre food, whether an animal so favored as a pet in the United States will become a mainstream piece of protein is, perhaps, doubtful.
“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.”
I’m not really someone who unduly anthropomorphizes animals. I don’t hang out at parties talking to cats, because they’re cats. They’re not going to talk to back. I roll my eyes subtly at people who do that.
And I am in favor of reducing our carbon footprint. However, the idea of eating anything we think of as a pet – even if it’s great for your diet! – gives me a bit of pause.
Is it possible for an action to be morally wrong solely because people find the idea of it a bit disgusting? For example, if lots of people found the idea of eating porridge disgusting, could it be morally wrong to eat porridge just for this reason and no other reason?
I don’t think it’s wrong to eat a pet, but I do think it’s disgusting. However, I don’t find it disgusting to eat animals that I do not think of as pets.
But then, what can be a pet? Fucking anything. I used to keep waterbugs in margarine jars when I was seven. I thought I could train them to be some kind of dancing bug circus. That was an odd bit of personal information, because people do not typically eat waterbugs.
I guess where I was going with that is that you could easily consider pigs, chickens or cows pets. Most of us eat them without much hesitation. And I seriously don’t think you could find a diet in the world that would tell you not to eat guinea pigs.
Maybe “The Cookie Diet.” I have no idea how that thing works.
Really, though, would you be okay eating something we think of as a pet? I probably could not eat a pig I named beforehand, even though I love bacon. I certainly couldn’t eat any animal if I thought of its primary purpose as being to provide “companionship” rather than “meat.”
Also, you guys, it’s fine. I don’t actually have a cat. It was only a theoretical question. I have a plant, and it recently died, but I’m not going to eat it. I’m probably going to have a funeral for it, honestly. His name was Sandy.
Picture via WENN