They are roasting in the animal rights rotisserie.
“MasterChef Ecuador” has been criticized by several South American countries for allegedly presenting endangered species in one of its cooking competitions.
“These types of ‘dishes’ in these types of ‘shows’ seek to normalize the consumption of protected animals,” the National Animal Movement of Ecuador, or MAN in its original Spanish, wrote in a statement regarding the episode, which aired on January 3. They also shared the controversial scene – who has since been deleted from episode, Vice reported.
The excerpt shows attendees of the show (which was actually filmed in Colombia) South American species of shark, crocodile, roe deer and a capybara cutlet – the world’s largest rodent, with a maximum weight of 174 pounds.
It is not known which subspecies of capybara is featured on the show, which is broadcast by Teleamazonas and only displays the Spanish names of the animals. These names include Hello, babbled, venado and capibara. Tollô could refer to the critically endangered humpback shark, while babbled means a bespectacled caiman – a crocodilian that was endangered in the past but is now rebounding thanks to conservation efforts, according to Vice.
During this time, venado translates to “venison,” which is far too broad a category to identify the subspecies used in the show, although Ecuador has at least two types of deer classified as endangered. And although capybaras are not threatened, the hamster’s huge parent lives mostly in the wild.
MAN says he implores “the producers of the program and the channel that broadcasts the program for an explanation of the origin of the meat of these animals.”
“MasterChef” did not comment on the allegations to the Post, but “MC Ecuador” chef and judge Carolina Sanchez claimed the meat came “from a farm.” France 24 reported.
Currently, Banijay, the Parisian distributor of Teleamazonas content, bans the use of endangered animals in its cooking shows and demands sustainably harvested ingredients, Vice reported.
Regardless of where the protein comes from, Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition has since issued a social media statement affirming that it “categorically rejects the promotion and dissemination of graphic or audiovisual content which encourages the purchase and consumption of wild species”.
“The trafficking and sale of wildlife is a crime in Colombia” seconded Colombian Environment Minister Carlos Eduardo Correa, which says it is currently investigating the source of the potentially illicit ingredients.
“MasterChef Ecuador” is not the first organization to be accused of putting “rare meat” on the menu. In 2018, a restaurant in Mexico City was arrested for serving tortillas stuffed with federally protected red tarantulas.