Definitions for Western cuy terminology

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Well-known member
Oct 10, 2017
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Texas Zone 8
Ok it may seem pedantic, but I come from a STEM background and it really bugs me when I hear people using words that are nor well defined. I try to avoid using words and phrase that have no solid definition. On the other hand I am not wishing to appoint myself the word authority on Rabbit Talk. If you think that my definitions are incorrect or are not useful the way I defined them be sure to respond.

The first term that I should defined is 'cuy' itself. The word rhymes with gooey and starts with a hard C/k sound. The word sounds like the sounds guinea pigs make when they are excited by food. When spoken in English, cuy is a barrow word from the people of the Andes. Where as a barrow word should be related to it's original usage, the new definition does not have to match exactly. In it's native language 'cuy' simply means guinea pig or the species cavy porcine. When I use the word cuy on RT, I tend to mean meat from cavy porcine or cavy porcine that are raised specifically to produce meat for human consumption.

When I speak of "western cuy", I am talking about people from western cultures raising cavy porcine for human consumption. By western I speak of people or European decent in US, Canada, Europe and Australia raising cavy porcine for food. I do not want to discount Andean people raising cavy porcine in a traditional manner. It is a credit to the Andean people that we have domestic cavy porcine to begin with. A creature that can thrive as a heard in a small space and recover quickly from constant culling. I wish to give credit to the work of selective breading carried out for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples of the Andean region.

Categories of cavy porcine
In at least one sense of the word, "breeds' are a social construct of western culture. The way breeds are conceived of now a days, you can not have a breed, unless you have a breed standard. The Standard is something that an an animal ether conforms to fail to conform to. Organizations such as AKC, The UK kennel Club, ARBA etc, provide there own list of breeds and standards that defines each breed. So in a sense the breed standard is defended first, then breeders (some of who) produce animals that follow those standards. Cavia porcellus were originally domesticated as a source of meat in South American without consideration of we in the west think of as breeds or breed standards. Still there was a form of ad-hoc selective breeding that led to animals that were able to thrive on the feed stock provided. They were able to breed in the conditions provided and produced meat at rate that the people deemed acceptable. The word landrace seems the word to best describe the group of cavia porcellus that continue to be maintained in traditional homes and small farms in the Andean region.

guinea pigs of European decent - or simply European guinea pigs, these are GPs that were selectively bread to conform to breed standards set in place in Europe or the US. By definition Abyssinian guinea pigs would be a subset of European guinea pigs.

mixed breed guinea pigs - or mutt, basically GPs that descend from specific GP breeds but those lines were mixed and established standards were not followed. these would still be concerned a subset of European guinea pigs

Agricultural guinea pigs - would include both landrace and improved line. In addition any GPs that were developed to be larger than the pet type GPs so as to be a food source for humans. Even larger European guinea pigs could be bread towards Agricultural guinea pigs.

Landrace guinea pigs - The GPs that were originally domesticated by the ancient peoples of the Andean region and all the decedents of those GPs that were not formed into breaded by Europeans and were not bread to form the improved lines. The difference between mutts and landrace GPs is that landrace GP are not descendant from GPs that were formed into breeds.

Improved Line - these are lines/breeds of Cava porcine that were developed by INIA (Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agraria) specifically to increase there productivity as a food animal for human consumption. Sometimes these improved lines are called "súper cuy".

European X Native guinea pigs - These are the descendants Cava porcine that are the result of breeding Landrace or Improved Line GPs with GPs of European decent. They could be called European X Improved or European X landrace if that information is known. Otherwise European X Native covers all catigories.

Wild guinea pigs - I would discourage the use of the term "wild guinea pigs" unless one is directly speaking about members of the genus cavia that were never domesticated. I wave read a few articles on US web-sites that referred to agricultural grade GPs imported from South America as wild guinea pigs. I defiantly find this a misuse of terminology.

Categories of meat perpetration
Traditional - scald the carcass first to remove the hair then remove the entrails leaving the head and four feet to be cooked.

Western skin-on - scald the carcass first to remove the hair then remove the head and feet along with entrails

Western skin-off - a meat carcass that has had the skin removed with a blade along with the head, feet and entrails

07/17/2019 Edit: Added Super Cuy
12/27/2020 Edit: Added pronunciation for Cuy