Wednesday, July 03, 2019
Rodent meat – a sustainable way to feed the world?
The mere thought of eating a rat would immediately trigger a strong “yuck” reaction among most Westerners, but for many people from around the world a rodent is a much anticipated culinary treat. Rats are a regular staple in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, parts of the Philippines and Indonesia, Thailand, Ghana, China and Vietnam. In South and Central America, several rodent species are highly appreciated as culinary items and some are even farmed much like pigs and cows. In some Asian countries, rodent meat is so popular, it is even sold in supermarkets.
“Rats are tinned in the Philippines, sold as STAR meat (rats spelled backwards) in supermarkets, often eaten at weddings in Vietnam, and usually considered a delicacy by most South East Asians”, said Grant Singleton, an expert on rodent biology and management at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.
Cambodia exports up to 2 tonnes of wild rats to Vietnam per day on the peak of the “rat‐season” Among members of the Adi tribe, in north‐east India, rats are valued not just for their taste, but also as a cultural item. Every year, on March 7, they celebrate Unying‐Aran, a popular hunting festival where the most precious prey are rats. “Gifts of rats, dead of course, are also an important item in making sure the bride's relatives are happy to see their daughter leave her old family and join that of her husband”, said Victor Benno Meyer‐Rochow at Oulu University, Finland, who recently published a study on the eating habits of this tribe.
The idea of rodents as game or livestock is not just a question of cultural or culinary traditions, however. Some experts suggest that farming and eating rodents could be one solution for alleviating the world's hunger and malnutrition problems.
at 7/03/2019 11:30:00 PM