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.





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