MasterChef Ecuador has chastised for supposedly offering capybara meat, the world’s most adored (and protected) big rodent. Contestants were given a selection of unusual meats to choose from, including shark, crocodile, and deer, before instructed to prepare a dish out of them in an episode that aired on January 3. Animal rights organizations, on the other hand, have condemned the presentation, stating that part of the meat may have come from capybara, a protected species.
The National Animal Movement of Ecuador issued a statement condemning the show for eating capybara, which is illegal save for hunters who utilize hunting as a source of food. The Ecuadorian and Columbian environmental ministries have contacted the show, and both have issued comments criticizing the consumption of wild animal.
In a statement, the animal rights group said, “We ask the producers of the program and the channel that broadcasts the program for an explanation of where the flesh of these animals originated from.” “These kinds of ‘dishes’ in these kinds of’shows’ aim to mainstream the consumption of protected animals, whose possession conceals wild animal trafficking and environmental destruction.”
Carolina Sanchez, a show chef, and judge, simply stated that the meat was “from a farm,” according to France24. Regardless, the film including the allegedly capybara meat has subsequently been removed from the official MasterChef Ecuador YouTube account and replaced with a version that does not contain the supposed capybara meat.
Many environmentalists and animal rights groups expressed their dissatisfaction with the show on social media. The Ecuadorian National Animal Movement issued a statement on Twitter criticizing the consumption of animals. In the statement, they stated that eating the animals featured in the episode is illegal in Ecuador, with the exception of a few circumstances that “obviously do not apply” to the show.
The usage of the items on the show, according to MAN, could “normalize the consumption of protected species, whose ownership leads to wild animal trafficking and environmental damage.” According to France24, the show’s chef and judge, Carolina Sanchez, stated that the meat came “from a farm.”
The independent TV Company that produces MasterChef Ecuador, Teleamazonas, has not issued a statement in response to the allegations. MasterChef Ecuador quickly pulled the 90-minute episode from Youtube once the claims surfaced, then re-posted an edited version that didn’t show the meat, according to Vice.