Alpaca on the Menu

Machu Picchu dinner menu shocks me

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.

Guinea Pig for dinner Peru


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?






, , , , , ,

11 Responses to Alpaca on the Menu

  1. Susy 7 August 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Ruth – this alpaca thing is a nightmare! I have bought a number of alpaca scarves/garments/toys because I loved their softness and colour and they made great gifts. As a vegetarian and animal rights person I was thrilled that alpacas were respected and not treated in the disgraceful way so many other animals are ie. slaughtered cruelly just to be shovelled into the mouths of humans who would eat anything and everything which moves. The wittering about the excitement of eating all sorts of ‘exotic’ animals seems not excitingly new but neanderthal. As for alpaca breeders who would treat these beautiful animals as simply units to make a buck! – I am stunned they would stoop to this.

  2. Cindy 23 May 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi Ruth, Isn’t it amazing how we humans get to pick and choose which animals we get to serve up on a plate. We’ve been conditioned since childhood to feel okay about eating cow meat over something more pet orientated like guinea pig or alpaca. Isn’t it about time we started questioning those choices?
    There’s no such thing as compassionate killing, its still slaughter to the animal in the end. I’m a newly converted vegetarian because I realised how hypocritical it was of me.. trying to save some animals, while happily munching down on others. It just didn’t make sense.

  3. Ruth Ostrow 21 May 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Thanks Meredith I agree, but I wonder if you were a chick without a nest, or an eel, whether you’d agree there was no suffering. Sorry to be pedantic.

  4. Meredith 21 May 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    In China I ate bird’s nest soup and I tried eel. I found them both tasty. But it doesn’t involve suffering. I watched animals in cages and fish tanks and this is what breaks my heart. I agree with Neil. If the animals aren’t treated with cruelty then it changes a lot.

  5. Ruth Ostrow 21 May 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Thanks Solly, yes I am trying to get across Neil’s Perry’s point of view, but also to provoke people into examining their cannabilism. My own view is that Man is not a carnivore, rather would do best on berry’s and nuts. But I would like to see other people’s points of view and certainly to hear from people who would throw anything on the barbie.

  6. Ruth Ostrow 21 May 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    I can condone all sorts of opinions on here except Fascism. You can’t shut down debate nor make us feel poorly for having the discussion. Neil Perry’s point of view is quite inspiring. If people are going to eat meat, as they are, then let’s be compassionate and ethical. As for what people are prepared to eat, I have strong vegetarian philosophies or at least, at the VERY least, free range. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the population have to hang their heads in silence.

  7. Stew 21 May 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    I would eat a alpaca, sure

  8. Nan 21 May 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Hold up, I think its a fair question. I’ve eaten crocodile, camel and kangaroo because I was on a tour in the outback and bush tucker as they call it is all they serve. On long hikes I wasn’t able to sustain myself on lettuce leaves. But they were all tasty and I don’t regret trying such exotic foods. Would I do it again, no. But seriously for those who do like a bit of a steak or chicken I find it hard to see why those same people get squimish at an alppaca.

  9. Man4D 21 May 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    I have to admit that this whole argument makes me sick. Koalas? I think this site mascarading as animal rights is a crock and I won’t come here again.

  10. Solly 21 May 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Jo I don’t thin Ruth is saying eat them, she is asking for what is the limit? And surely as animal welfare people we should be aware of public opinion. Plus I also read between the lines that Neil Perry is saying some very strong things to the industry. Maybe Ruth is just shrewd in how she puts her message across? Let’s be fair.

  11. jo 21 May 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Oh Ruth, no no no. Shame on you. You call this blog animal rights and we come here trusting to read something positive about animals for a change instead get confronted by eating alpacas and squashed Guinea Pigs for dinner. I am appalled.

Leave a Reply