- Think-tanks all over the world have called for the need to diversify protein to ensure a more sustainable food economy, but is eating alpaca meat a step too far?
- Alpaca are primarily bred for their fleecy fiber—the meat from the llama-like animal is a byproduct of culling herds—and they’re relatively new to American farms, having come to the country only in 1984. They’re also an anomaly within the livestock market: the USDA doesn’t think alpaca falls under its regulatory purview, according to Modern Farmer, which means meat sales fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA and local state authorities.
- Alpaca is a delicious, tender, mild-flavoured meat with half the saturated fat of beef (around 3%) and a third less cholesterol, a low total fat content (6-7%), with the lowest calories of any land-based meat (150 calories per 100g) and only about a third of those calories come from fat.
- They’re one of the cutest, cuddliest livestock you’ll find, and their numbers are rising, reaching over 25,000 in the last few years, which is why this dedicated alpaca breeder believes we need to eat them.
- In their native Peru, alpacas are culled and used for their meat and pelt in addition to their fiber. “That’s why the alpacas from Peru are so incredible; they’ve been culling their herds from the beginning,” said Marc Worrell with Eastcoast Alpacas in Biddeford, Maine. “Even though I love my animals, I know that if I want to keep improving my genetics, I need to cull my herd.”