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Uses Of Guinea Pigs

There are three main uses to which Guinea Pigs are put, as food, as pets
and for experimental purposes in laboratory and medical research. By far
the largest demand is in the last named field.

Scientific Uses.

There is possibly no animal so well adapted for scientific experiments
as the Guinea Pig. In the testing and analyzing of serums and antitoxins
and for experimental purposes generally the demand is enormous,
thousands and thousands of them being used every year. Many of the large
hospitals and laboratories have been compelled to establish breeding
pens of their own in order to be sure of a constant supply. The demand
here is steadily increasing and many more would be used if they could be
obtained at a reasonable price. A United States Bulletin says, "Guinea
Pigs sell at various prices dependant on supply and demand. The average
price for several years has been about 75c, but laboratories now report
that suitable stock is short and that they have been paying from $1.00
to $1.50 for their supply of animals." For these purposes they are used
all the way from nine weeks to six months or more old or when they weigh
from 9 ounces and up. The cost of rearing them to this age is very
little and a good profit is therefore assured the raiser.

As Pets.

The demand for Guinea Pigs as pets is very large. They are so widely
used in the medical field that the pet stores have a hard time keeping
enough on hand to supply the local demand for pets. They are very
interesting and perfectly harmless little animals. They do not bite or
scratch and young children can play with them. They are not as common as
the ordinary pet, and being more of a novelty, attract more attention.
When sold as pets they usually bring more than when sold to the
hospitals and raisers are assured of a very large demand for this
purpose. In England and Europe the Guinea Pig is more widely raised than
in America and there are more fanciers who show and exhibit them
extensively. They are becoming more popular in this country and are
being exhibited more and more in Pet Stock Shows. A good show animal is
worth all the way from $10 to $100. As a hobby the raising of Guinea
Pigs is most interesting and instructive as there are so many
experiments that can be made in the breeding.

As Food.

For food purposes Guinea Pigs are admirable, although not many are eaten
in this country at the present time. However, many of the newspapers and
magazines have run articles suggesting that they be raised for this
purpose and there is really no reason why they should not be. The United
States Government indorses them as food animals and advises that they
be used in this connection. In a few years we will possibly see Guinea
Pigs sold in the stores as rabbits and poultry are now. Certainly no
animal could be cleaner and being a vegetarian exclusively, its flesh is
of the best. They can be prepared just as a rabbit or squirrel. In
soups, stews, pies, or roasted, broiled or baked the young Cavy is equal
to any other animal. For this purpose the animal should be about
one-half grown.

Next: Food And Feeding

Previous: Varieties

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