Every Friday I post the most interesting vegan news articles and blogs I’ve read. This week in vegan news …
1. More people are eating Guinea Pigs
More and more people are eating Guinea Pigs, according to Alastair Bland at NPR’s The Salt. Considered a delicacy in other parts of the world, guinea pig consumption in the US is on the rise. One company told NPR their imports of guinea pigs have nearly doubled since 2008, though it’s difficult to say how many hairless, frozen guinea pigs are imported each year. When federal agencies were asked for hard numbers, “none seemed to track guinea pig imports.”
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. Middle-class foodies with a taste for exotic delicacies are also ordering, photographing and blogging about guinea pig. The animals — called cuyes in Spanish — are usually cooked whole, often grilled, sometimes deep fried. Many diners eat every last morsel, literally from head to toe.
It’s a good thing for the environment, wrote Mark Russell at USA Today. “The petite animals have a much smaller carbon footprint than cattle, and while it takes, say, eight pounds of hay to make a pound of beef, it only take four to make a pound of guinea pig meat.”
But many doubt it will seriously take off in the US. “There’s a clear cultural prejudice against eating guinea pigs, and rodents in general, in the United States,” said Matt Miller, an Idaho-based science writer with The Nature Conservancy. “But finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint is a good idea, and so is eating small livestock, like guinea pigs.”
An even better idea for those worried about their carbon footprint — go vegan and give up animals altogether.
2. UW-Madison “torturing” cats?
UW-Madison is in the news and facing controversy. According to PETA, “The University of Wisconsin–Madison fought for more than three years to keep these photographs of [a cat named] Double Trouble’s abuse a secret until a successful PETA lawsuit compelled the university to release the disturbing images.” Among the images, when “UW staff ultimately determined that their experiment with Double Trouble was a failure, and they killed and decapitated her so that they could examine her brain.”
James Cromwell, the 73-year old star of Babe was arrested for disorderly conduct “when he burst into a UW-Madison board meeting, protesting cat torture at the university,” acccording to a TMZ report.
You can watch the protest that led to his $100 fine below:
UW-Madison released a statement last fall: “The surgery depicted in the images mirrors the procedures done in human patients receiving cochlear implants, and is done according to the same standards of care and minimizing discomfort that occurs when humans undergo the surgery.”
For more on the ethics of animals used for science, check out An Ongoing Conversation with Robert Streiffer on Science and Ethics
3. Weird Vegan News
I skip a week of covering the vegan news front and all sorts of crazy things happened. There’s this headline, “Restaurant calls police in dispute over price of vegan pasta brought in by customer.” It turns out bringing your own pasta to a busy restaurant on a Saturday night and asking for a custom meal may result in an extra charge. Somehow the the police got involved, and now the story is popping up all over the internet.
PETA celebrated April Fools Day by announcing plans to unleash ticks on the public that would cause a “meat allergy.” Residents in Riverhead, NY weren’t amused, according to the Riverhead Patch. “That’s sick. PETA has always been weird but this is way out there, these tick-borne diseases are no joking matter. Trust me, I have Lyme’s. It can be a nightmare,” wrote Billy Eagle on North Fork Patch’s Facebook page.
And Mark Bittman at the New York Times wrote an in-depth piece on healthy fast food.
What I’d like is a place that serves only good options, where you don’t have to resist the junk food to order well, and where the food is real — by which I mean dishes that generally contain few ingredients and are recognizable to everyone, not just food technologists. It’s a place where something like a black-bean burger piled with vegetables and baked sweet potato fries — and, hell, maybe even a vegan shake — is less than 10 bucks and 800 calories (and way fewer without the shake).
Sounds like a good dream to me.