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A recent episode on MasterChef Ecuador gained significant backlash after using wild animals as some of its ingredients.

The episode featured capybara, a type of wild deer, as well as tollo, a type of small shark. Ecuador’s environment ministry said it, “rejects the promotion and dissemination of graphic or audiovisual content that encourages the purchase and consumption of wild species or their constituent elements.”

Colombia also warned that eating these wild species can be a crime punishable by prison time and their Environment Minister, Carlos Eduardo Correa, has opened an investigation into the matter. 

Episodes like this one can help promote the consumption of wild animals, which can be incredibly harmful to the species and the environment. These animals are often victims of wildlife trafficking and should never be publicly shown as an ingredient in cooking as it will only increase the number of animals being poached and trafficked. As The National Animal Movement of Ecuador warned, using wild animals as ingredients in such a public way can “normalize the consumption of protected animals, whose ownership contributes to the trafficking of wild animals and the destruction of ecosystems.”

Fortunately, both governments are taking this matter seriously, which will hopefully deter others from following the television show’s lead.

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