Genetically engineered Peruvian guinea pigs gone wild

A new blog raises a provocative question: Is there a market in China for fried South American rodents?

Published March 19, 2009 10:54PM (EDT)

The exigencies of the global economy have prevented me from paying as much attention as I would like to bilateral Peruvian-Chinese trade relations, but thanks to the new Double Handshake blog written by Tom Pellman, an American writer living in Lima, I am no longer worried that I will miss anything crucial on that score.

You know what they say about a new blog, right? Some take a little while to get to know, and there's some hesitation before you settle down into a mutually satisfying relationship. Others burst into your life like a supernova, and nothing is ever the same again.

So, without further ado, I give you the first paragraph of an instant classic, "On the Viability of Exporting Guinea Pigs from Peru to China":

Peru is going through something of a domestic guinea pig boom at the moment. Long a traditional protein source in the Andes, guinea pigs are now being produced and sold in greater numbers because of breeding improvements and genetic engineering. The animals, which reproduce extremely quickly, are full of protein and low in fat. Cuy, as it is called in Peru, can be fried, broiled, roasted or turned into soup. Peruvians eat about 65 million guinea pigs annually.

Genetically-engineered guinea pig tasty treats? Really, I had no idea.

(Thanks to Danwei for the tip.)

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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