Although almost no Salvadorans eat iguana meat anymore, it is part of the country's traditional diet. "They are traditional dishes openly offered in restaurants and markets in various areas of the country." But anyway, what was seen on Sunday on television generated strong indignation in the public.
The four competitors of Sunday's television program "Top Chef El Salvador ”seemed willing to do anything to satisfy the judges and they did, they killed and cooked live iguanas.
The participants raised their blades and cut off the tails of the living reptiles. They were then peeled and cooked for their meat.
Criticism from viewers was not long in making themselves heard on social media.
The images published on the Facebook of the program, which have subsequently been deleted, showed how a cook precisely removed the scales of the animal and then fried small "fillets", how another cleaned the pink meat of the reptile, and how a third peeled the tail already cooked.
Many Salvadorans, from their homes, were horrified, especially animal lovers. "What they did with those poor iguanas is unforgivable," wrote a man on the wall ofTop Chef. Another criticized the "taste for killing an endangered animal." They also called for the withdrawal of the program for being "unethical."
The program's production came out to defend itself, arguing that the iguanas came from farms with permits to cook them.
The Minister of the Environment of El Salvador, Lina Pohl, affirmed that her portfolio "has not given any permission" with her signature "for them to kill" the iguanas on television. "Even if they had authorization for a zoo, it seems terrible to me that a behavior that we are trying to eradicate is reproduced on television," said the minister on her social networks. Pohl indicated that he will investigate what happened and take "the corresponding measures."
On the other hand, in 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock promoted the consumption of iguana meat raised in authorized zoo farms, with which “contribute to the food and nutritional security of more than 350 families” in a district of the country. "Its consumption guarantees a high percentage of proteins, vitamins and minerals", explained the director of Livestock of the portfolio.
El Salvador is the main exporter of these animals as pets. In this country they are not in danger of extinction.
With information from: