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Old 01-30-2007, 01:02 PM
JillGat is offline
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 3,882
I wrote to Emilio Herrera, a capybara expert in Venezuela. He's one of the guys who has stated that the Catholic Church in Venezuela allows consumption of capybaras during Lent, classifying this meat as fish. I asked him for more info. on this and this is what he wrote to me:

Hello, the only reference that I' ve found to
this is in the book by Eduardo López de Ceballos
(Fauna de Venezuela y su conservación, Editorial
Arte, Caracas, 1974) who says that his
"great-great-grand-uncle" the so-called "Padre
Sojo" whose actual name was Pedro Palacios Gil,
went to Italy at the end of the XVIII century and
obtained a "bula" (a Papal decree) from the Pope
whereby it was established that the capybara,
beacuse of its amphibious habits, was legitimate
lenten fare, just like fish. My personal
impression is that it was more because of the
appearance of the salted and dried capybara
chunks of meat in the markets which was (and is)
very similar to that of equally dried fish, made
people believe that it was similar to fish.
Capybara is eaten well away from its natutal
habitat so people who ate it might not have known what it looked like.