Home Australia Nice ‘in a cacciatore’: Couple farm their own free-range guinea pig meat

Nice ‘in a cacciatore’: Couple farm their own free-range guinea pig meat

Nice ‘in a cacciatore’: Couple farm their own free-range guinea pig meat

Rees and Col Campbell know that backyard guinea pig farming is now not for everyone.

“Certainly it be now not everyone’s cup of tea to grow and assassinate their own guinea pigs for meat,” Ms Campbell said.

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And, since the Campbells’ guinea pigs are living “happy” lives, the couple argue that eating them is extra socially and ethically accountable than ingesting many diverse meats.

“It’s miles a kinder all-round way of eating meat,” Ms Campbell said.

Woman smiling as she puts a stew-like mouthful of food on her fork.

Ms Campbell says most other folks anticipate guinea pig to taste treasure rabbit, but it doesn’t.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott


Self-ample way of life

The Campbells grow almost all of their own food on their one-acre block of land in the north-western Tasmanian town of Wynyard.

An orchard, a berry patch, a vegie garden and a sequence of extra than 120 species of edible Tasmanian native plants present the plant-based part of the couple’s diet, while the pair also create their own meat.

“We have quail, which we have for meat and eggs, and … guinea pigs, which we have to both clean up all the garden rubbish, and [to] eat,” Ms Campbell said.

The couple have kept between 10 and 25 guinea pigs on their property for the past 5 years.

Pale brown and white guinea pig sitting side-on, with other guinea pigs snuggled alongside it.

The Campbells also eat quail, wallaby, possum and rabbit.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott


Males and females both free range but are kept apart; the males steal the vegie patch, the females accelerate free in the orchard, and their offspring are either eaten or sold.

Guinea pig cacciatore, anyone?

The Campbells, who also eat wild-shot meats treasure wallaby and rabbit, usually eat a house-grown guinea pig every two to three weeks.

“Its relatively a dense meat, so … one guinea pig weighing perhaps 600 grams will certainly feed both Col and I a couple of meals in a stew,” Ms Campbell said.

The taste of the meat, she said, is now not easy to characterize, although with out being “gamey”, it is extra “meaty” than rabbit.

Meat and mashed potato dish in a ceramic pot sitting on a bench

Ms Campbell likes to flavour guinea pig dishes with native herbs.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott


When talking to others about their consumption of guinea pigs, Ms Campbell said she and Col bag “polarised responses”.

“One certainly is, ‘Oh, how may perhaps you accomplish that? They’re adorable!’ And the various is, ‘Wow, how attention-grabbing … what accomplish they taste treasure?’,” she said.

Conversely, Ms Campbell said the reactions of all the dinner company to whom they have offered guinea pig meat have been distinct.

Too adorable to eat?

The Campbells and their dinner company match into a mountainous population of guinea pig-patrons worldwide.

“Guinea pig is certainly one of essentially the most generally eaten meats in the field, particularly in South America, the Pacific Islands, Papua Fresh Guinea, Indonesia,” she explained.

Ms Campbell attributed this to the ease with which guinea pigs can be grown to eating-size while living most productive off garden scraps, almost regardless of a family’s level of poverty, or property size.

Ginger and white guinea pig sitting on a woman's lap, being patted by her

Guinea pigs on the Campbells’ property are damaged-down to being handled.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott


In contrast, the widespread unpopularity of guinea pig meat in Australia, Ms Campbell believed, was largely due to the animals’ cuteness.

“Australians appear to have some strange views on which animals are adorable and which aren’t, and I feel about there’s an aversion to eating what is considered as adorable,” she explained.

Guinea pigs living it up

Producing guinea pig meat was extra environmentally, ethically and socially accountable than producing diverse forms of meat, Ms Campbell said.

It rates highly on the sustainability scale due to guinea pigs now not wanting protein in their diet, and now not emitting methane or causing soil compaction, she said.

Ms Campbell said the ethical advantages of eating guinea pigs arise from the animals — at least, those on her property — living happy lives.

Guinea pigs in background and vegie scraps including silverbeet in the foreground

In contrast to chickens, guinea pigs don’t require protein in their diet.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott


“Our animals here are living a really real lifestyles — they are living free range … they are living as a family unit [and] they’re damaged-down to being picked up, so that they by no means skills fear,” she said.

Ms Campbell said she did now not come by it now not easy to butcher and eat her guinea pigs, due to the quality of lifestyles she ensures they have.

“[It’s a] place that I’m very socially happy to have taken,” she said.

Valuing what we eat

Ms Campbell said she believed society wanted to blueprint a greater appreciation of now not most productive the meat, but of all the food other folks consumed.

Rising your own create where doable, and guaranteeing that any animals you own have a real lifestyles and a “real, non-traumatised death” is one way to be “aware of what you’re really doing”, she says.

Woman in bright blue shirt standing in amongst tall corn crop, looking at a cob

Ms Campbell inspects her corn reduce and says cooking food that she has grown is certainly one of her greatest pleasures.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott


Whereas acknowledging that now not everyone is willing or able to farm their own animals, Ms Campbell said she conception our place at the cease of the food chain may tranquil now not be taken evenly.

“I feel about it be really important, on an individual basis as effectively as a societal basis, to take accountability for the fact that you are killing diverse animals,” she said.

Nice ‘in a cacciatore’: Couple farm their own free-range guinea pig meat