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Peruvian Guinea Pig Festival: Don’t Get Too Attached to the Cute Little Piggies!

Peru Guinea Pig Festival

A new annual festival is held every June in the city of Huacho, Peru. The animals, known as “cuy,” were actually first domesticated in Peru and Ecuador perhaps as early as 5000 BCE. We actually do not know exactly what the wild ancestor of the guinea pig was, because there are several interferetile species of cavy that live throughout South America. The current consensus is that it is a mixture of several species. These animals can be found in many Andean cities and villages, often running feral. (We probably should be calling guinea pigs cavies, simply because they aren’t from Guinea and they are not pigs.)

In Huacho, the citizens have been holding a guinea pig for several years. This celebration of the cute little animals is not an ancient festival. The pigs are dressed up and paraded around. They are also shown and judged the way we judge livestock, It is a grand old time.

Oh, and don’t get too attached the guinea pigs. The people of South America did not domesticate the guinea pig to be a cute pet. No, that’s not practical. In the Andes, the guinea pig is eaten as a food source. And you can eat them at the Huacho festival!

Guinea pigs are eaten at the Huacho Guinea Pig Festival

Guinea pigs are eaten at the Huacho Guinea Pig Festival