Trends in food come and go. But the latest has caused even the hard-hearted to squirm. Breeders on the North Coast are investigating whether there is a market for the fluffy South American delicacy as an alternative meat source.
The Australian Alpaca Association said they were looking at what cuts people would buy while Mr Steve Ridout, of La Viande, the only Australian farm that breeds them for meat thinks they should be used for more than their wool.
What do you think?
He claim in The Daily Telegraph that the meat is similar to veal but not strong in taste. It is already on the table in niche markets around the country and the industry has grown from 3 alpacas 20 years ago to 150,000 now apparently the largest herd outside South America.
Neil Perry, world-renowned chef, owner of The Rockpool in Sydney is both an animal rights advocate but also an expert in all the strange animals people eat and has himself served or eaten many strange dishes over the years including all parts of an animal including pig’s head, camel, crocodile, kangaroo. He’s eaten the delicacy birds nests which is bird vomit, and insect pizzas in Thailand – all of which you think would make a strange animal activist.
But his view is that if the animal has not suffered in any way, and is reared ethically he is open to eating or serving it. He only buys animals that are naturally born, reared by their mothers, allowed to graze on only the best fresh, natural food, and killed compassionately. He advocates that the reason is the taste of the meat is so much better. When animals suffer there is a penetrating into the flesh of natural hormones such as stress hormones like adrenalin and excessive uric acid. This is then compounded by added hormones or HGPs. But for him it also a matter of ethics and sleeping well at night.
So yes, Neil Perry would eat and serve alpaca meat, although he never has. The question is on the table. Would you eat these beautiful fluffy creatures. And yes I know that is emotive language but you couldn’t pay me a million dollars to do so. What about guinea pig which is a specialty in Peru? We saw one on the sign in Cuba which looked like road kill.
Where would you draw the line? Koala, panda bear? Why can we eat one species and not another?