Cooking program MasterChef Ecuador, filmed in Colombia, offered deer, shark, caiman and capybara as ingredients during an episode, angering animal rights and environmental agencies in both Ecuador and Colombia.
In the episode that aired on Tuesday, the contestants had to prepare deer, capybara, the largest rodent in the world, babilla (caiman) and tollo (shark) as part of a creativity challenge.
In response to the program, Ecuador’s environment ministry said it rejects the promotion of content that encourages the purchase and consumption of wild animals. The ministry also warned that crimes against wild flora and fauna could result in prison sentences of up to three years.
Colombia’s Minister of Environment, Carlos Eduardo Correa, announced an investigation: “Trafficking and marketing of wildlife is a crime in Colombia.”
Animal rights and environmental groups in both countries denounced the promotion of consumption and hunting of threatened wild animals.
“It is terribly outrageous to fight daily against one of the most lucrative illegal businesses on the planet, so that in the name of gastronomy and show business, a medium like Telemazones contribute to the promotion of species trafficking,” the National Animal Movement of Ecuador said on Twitter.
MasterChef Ecuador, now in its third season, is filmed in Colombia and broadcast on the Ecuadorian television network Teleamazonas.
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