BOGOTÁ — Mmmmm. How about the World's Largest Rodent on your Easter menu?
That's right. The capybara, a bigger and arguably uglier cousin of the guinea pig, may soon be legally served in the homes and restaurants of Colombia, after having been classified as a threatened species and thus banned from markets and menus.
That would be good news in the kitchens of Colombia and Venezuela, where the animal's meat has also long been prized, notably as a delicacy at Easter,
Farmers had been complaining that these protected creatures were actually a plague because they defecate in the water supplies of farm animals, which is believed to cause diahrrea among livestock, El Espectador reports.
Now, in response to farmers' demands to control its population, Colombia's Environment Minister Alejandro Gaviria recently approved the sale and consumption of capybara meat, and regional environmental authorities may soon have powers to issue "sustainable" hunting permits in areas with significant capybara populations.
He said Colombians can expect to see capybara on their plates within a year, and will no longer have to pay for "pork sold as capybara."