‘MasterChef’ blasted for allegedly serving endangered species

‘MasterChef’ blasted for allegedly serving endangered species

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They’re getting roasted on the animal-rights rotisserie.

“MasterChef Ecuador” has come under fire from several South American nations for allegedly featuring endangered species in one of its cooking contests.

“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 Jan. 3. They also shared the controversial scene — which has since been deleted from the episodeVice reported.

The snippet shows contestants on the show (which was actually filmed in Colombia) being presented with South American species of shark, crocodile, venison and a cutlet of capybara — the world’s largest rodent, with a maximum weight of 174 pounds.

It’s not clear which subspecies of capybara is featured on the show, which is broadcast by Teleamazonas and only displays the Spanish names for the animals. Those names include tollobabillavenado and capibaraTollo could be referring to the critically endangered humpback smooth-hound shark, while babilla signifies a spectacled caiman — a crocodilian that was threatened in the past but is now on the rebound thanks to conservation efforts, according to Vice.

One of the meats was capybara, the world's largest rodent.
One of the meats appeared to be capybara, the world’s largest rodent.
Getty Images

Meanwhile, venado translates to “venison,” which is far too broad a category to pinpoint what subspecies was used in the show, although Ecuador boasts at least two kinds of deer that are categorized as endangered. And while capybaras are not threatened, the humongous hamster relative predominantly lives in the wild.

MAN says it implores “the producers of the program and the channel that broadcasts the program for an explanation of where the meat of these animals came from.”

“MasterChef” did not comment to The Post about the allegations, but “MC Ecuador” chef and judge Carolina Sanchez claimed that the meat was “from a farm,” France 24 reported.

Currently, Banijay, the Paris-based distributor that licenses the “MasterChef” brand to Teleamazonas for local production in Ecuador, forbids the use of endangered animals in its cooking shows and requires sustainably harvested ingredients, Vice reported.

Spectacled caiman, one of the animals allegedly featured on the show.
Spectacled caiman, one of the animals critics suspect was featured on the show
Getty Images

Protein provenance notwithstanding, Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition has since released a statement on social media claiming that it “categorically rejects the promotion and dissemination of graphic or audiovisual content that encourages the purchase and consumption of wild species.”

“Trafficking and marketing of wildlife is a crime in Colombia,” seconded Colombian Environmental Minister Carlos Eduardo Correa, who says he’s currently probing the source of the potentially illicit ingredients.

“MasterChef Ecuador” isn’t the first organization to get accused of putting “rare meat” on the menu. In 2018, a Mexico City restaurant was busted for serving tortillas stuffed with federally protected red rump tarantulas.

https://nypost.com/2022/01/10/masterchef-accused-of-featuring-endangered-animals/

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