The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI) announced yesterday that the second Friday in October every year will now be know as National Guinea Pig Day.
Guinea pig, or cuy as it is known in Peruvian Spanish, has long been an important food source in the Peruvian Andes. Now, cuy is eaten all over the country, and even many international visitors consume cuy during their time in Peru.
Because of cuy’s importance in the traditional highland diet, MINAGRI has decided that it should be celebrated with its own holiday. According to Andina news agency, MINAGRI representatives said: “We’ve decided to establish National Cuy Day on the merit of the importance of the care and raising of the animal, its genetic richness that contributes to family economies, and, above all, its contribution to food and nutritional safety.”
According to Andina, cuy is one of the most nutritious meats there is, with high protein content and comparatively low fat content. Statistics from last year’s national agricultural census revealed that 12 million cuys were being raised in Cajamarca, Arequipa, Ancash, Cusco, Junín, and Ayacucho.
Andina reports that there is also a substantial export market for cuy meat. 11 tons of cuy were exported last year, with 90% of that figure going the United States.
The first National Cuy Day will fall on October 11 this year.