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No more lonesome rodents
September 22, 2011 4:44 AM   Subscribe

Guinea pigs are sociable animals and Swiss law prohibits owners from keeping the furry rodents on their own. But what happens when one dies? Don't fret, just call Priska Küng, who runs a 'rent-a-guinea pig' service.
posted by ArmyOfKittens (60 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
*wheek wheek wheek*
posted by pracowity at 4:50 AM on September 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


I like this article. *Popcorns*
posted by Richard Holden at 4:53 AM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I must confess a bias against guinea pigs. I feel any animal that shits on you is basically God's way to saying it wasn't meant to be a pet.
posted by smoke at 4:59 AM on September 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Guinea pig slippers made out of alpaca!
posted by Daddy-O at 5:03 AM on September 22, 2011


Attention Europeans: Some of us Americans really like a lot of the things you're doing over there, but when you make laws mandating how many friends Guinea Pigs should have, it makes it very hard for us to take you seriously.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:04 AM on September 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I take even less seriously a country that has laws mandating how many invisible friends children should be taught they have.
posted by DU at 5:06 AM on September 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: The Swiss are notorious even within Europe for their endless rules & persnickety attention to detail. Read up on horror stories of renting property in Switzerland sometime.
posted by pharm at 5:11 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Laws about humane treatment of animals, including their psychological wellbeing, are a-ok in my book, and it disturbs me that some people think this sort of thing is risible.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Gandhi
posted by biscotti at 5:13 AM on September 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


there is an alternative solution to the lonely guinea pig problem. It also involves cats.
posted by fistynuts at 5:16 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


An endless cycle of Guinea pig! Also when it comes to silly laws, we're pretty much all sitting in glass houses, right? This one is about preventing animals from suffering, almost every country has those.
posted by pishposh at 5:17 AM on September 22, 2011


And they were originally bred for food...I've tasted them at Peruvian restaurants and they are quite good, like a fattier rabbit.
posted by melissam at 5:20 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


... Without her rent-a-guinea pig service, the owner would have to purchase a new, probably younger guinea pig as a companion to the ageing survivor, whose eventual death would force the purchase of yet another guinea pig, locking the owner into an endless cycle of guinea pig purchases ...
First World Problems.
posted by memebake at 5:21 AM on September 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


locking the owner into an endless cycle of guinea pig purchases in order to adhere to Swiss law

This sentence fragment is one of the reasons I love Metafilter.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:25 AM on September 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


but what of the unintended consequences? i dunno, i'd be more hesitant to spearhead such an experimental service. Using these gentle creatures as some form of...um, lab rat...
posted by fetamelter at 5:26 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


locking the owner into an endless cycle of guinea pig purchases

I wonder: if you knew of a guinea pig owner who lived suitably close to a pet shop, and you had a rifle, could you generate energy from this cycle?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:29 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a great idea, although I am amused by the fact there appears to be an actual legal necessity for it. However, after viewing the photograph that accompanies the article, further rational thought on the topic seems to be impossible for some reason.

Lookit the guinea pigs eatin' lettuses!
posted by FishBike at 5:32 AM on September 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Hmmm...I'm wondering how a Rent-a-Boa-Constrictor service set-up next door would go over?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:35 AM on September 22, 2011


[...] when you make laws mandating how many friends Guinea Pigs should have, it makes it very hard for us to take you seriously.

This strikes me as a "nudge" more than anything else. Is the law enforced? What are the penalties? I suspect the law is just informing people that if they care for their guinea pigs they shouldn't leave them without company. And if the law is not much enforced, the market response indicates that the Swiss think the information provided by their government is highly credible.

Which would be pretty telling.
posted by hawthorne at 5:45 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: an endless cycle of guinea pig purchases

sorry
posted by JoanArkham at 5:47 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


that is where Küng comes in. "Because they hardly ever die at the same time, even if they are exactly the same age, people who don't want a new guinea pig and lose one of their two animals need an interim solution," she says.

An endless cycle or.... Guinea Pig Murder!!!!

Seriously. You have two creatures for your child who is 9. One dies when your kid is 12 and no longer interested in keeping Guinea Pigs. Do you run out and buy a mate? Or-- more likely-- do you snuff out the remaining pig?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:54 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


An endless cycle or.... Guinea Pig Murder!!!!

When you're talking about an animal that is delicious, the word is "slaughter".

Or-- more likely-- do you snuff out the remaining pig?

Personally I'd hope to fly under the guinea pig police radar and keep my remaining guinea pig around until I had enough time to do some proper slow cooking.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:07 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or-- more likely-- do you snuff out the remaining pig?

maybe.

probably not.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:25 AM on September 22, 2011


I wish I could rent a sibling for my kid to shut up all the people criticizing us for intentionally only have one child.

But to the FPP: Swiss have decided that it's overly cruel to have only one guinea pig so they make a law to prevent that. Fair enough. Once it's in the realm of cruelty of course there should be a law. Noone would complain about laws against violent animal cruelty. Sure, this is on a different part of the continuum, but the Swiss have obviously determined that it's over the line. Just because others might put the line somewhere else doesn't make this silly IMO.
posted by gaspode at 6:26 AM on September 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is the law enforced?

One expects by the guinea pig police.
posted by bonehead at 6:29 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I must confess a bias against guinea pigs. I feel any animal that shits on you is basically God's way to saying it wasn't meant to be a pet.

We had Guinea Pigs when I was a kid and the memory is still traumatic. What revolting little animals.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:45 AM on September 22, 2011


There was a story about this on The World last night. And as funny as the simple facts of the story are, the thing that really puts it over the top when you listen to it is the fact that Priska Küng sounds exactly like one of Monty Python's pepperpot ladies.
posted by adamrice at 6:48 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel any animal that shits on you is basically God's way to saying it wasn't meant to be a pet.

But then we'd never have ANY pets. Or human infants, I guess.

*has flashback to her friend's old dog having sudden diarrhea on her last week now, thanks for the reminder of that*

But seriously now, I think this is cute and a good idea.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:54 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best thing about the pet guinea pig I had was that it inspired me to get a much-more-interesting ferret.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:14 AM on September 22, 2011


Rats are awesome pets and also very social. When I worked in a lab, we had to keep them housed together because single housing stressed them out too much. I wonder if the Swiss have similar rat laws.
posted by gaspode at 7:21 AM on September 22, 2011


Richard Gere has this on speed-dial.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:22 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


What are the penalties?

Thirty days in The Wheel.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:37 AM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Richard Gere has this on speed-dial.

Wasn't the "Richard Gere puts rodents up his backside" rumour a lie deliberately spread by rightwingers to propagate the meme that liberal celebrities are all Godless perverts or something?
posted by acb at 7:42 AM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


No kidding, I am actually deathly allergic to guinea pigs. I had to be transferred to another biology class in high school because my first assignment was in a classroom with a guinea pig. A friend once asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands (a mistake I shall never make again!) and then placed a guinea pig in my hands, for all of 2 seconds before I dropped the poor creature on the floor. My hands broke out in blisters immediately and started swelling.

I've often thought that if I had been friends with Agatha Christie, she would probably have written a murder mystery where the only clue that Hercule Poirot had to solve my untimely killing was the soft *wheek wheek wheek* of a rodent scampering away from my lifeless corpse.

Anyway, I have to stop now. This thread is giving me hives.
posted by jph at 7:47 AM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


They were talking about this on CBC yesterday.
I wish that Canadian law was as kind towards animals. It's very admirable.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:49 AM on September 22, 2011


Is this an example of the Weeeee! Market in action?
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:50 AM on September 22, 2011


Wasn't the "Richard Gere puts rodents up his backside" rumour a lie deliberately spread by rightwingers to propagate the meme that liberal celebrities are all Godless perverts or something?

Well, regardless of the source it's definitely unfounded I'd say.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:53 AM on September 22, 2011


Sometimes when I lived alone I felt like I could use a rent-a-person.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:04 AM on September 22, 2011


Seconding that. Provided they are cute. And monogamously insatiable.

Never liked guineas as pets. Ever. They seem to exist to render food to shit which they are then programmed to spread as widely as possible while being as antisocial as possible.

And I am a pet person and rodent enthusiast.
posted by Samizdata at 8:07 AM on September 22, 2011


Guinea pigs are for lightweights. This is how I roll.
posted by stet at 8:12 AM on September 22, 2011


Bulgaroktonos: "Attention Europeans: Some of us Americans really like a lot of the things you're doing over there, but when you make laws mandating how many friends Guinea Pigs should have, it makes it very hard for us to take you seriously."
Attention Americans: "Europeans" are not a homogeneous group.
posted by brokkr at 8:13 AM on September 22, 2011


Attention Americans: "Europeans" are not a homogeneous group.

Next I bet you will try to claim that the Swiss don't live in Sweden.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:21 AM on September 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


But they do have a navy.
posted by warbaby at 8:26 AM on September 22, 2011


I really did wonder how they were going to enforce this but I immediately thought pictured the kind of kid that comes over to play, spots the lone piggy, and rats out his friend for lulz.

Very smart of the Swiss to use children's pets to train their citizens from a young age to spy for the government.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:27 AM on September 22, 2011


Next I bet you will try to claim that the Swiss don't live in Sweden.

Be careful with this. I have a Swiss friend who spent a great deal of time in the US. She eventually grew quite bitter after being asked repeatedly if she spoke Swedish. She also apparently got a lot of questions about her goats (which, you know, she doesn't have) and if Switzerland had electric power.

I worry about my fellow citizens....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:37 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think they'd need any sort of enforcement regime; the Swiss have a culture of following rules for the sake of things running smoothly. In fact, it is said that the Swiss are to the Germans what the Germans are to the English.
posted by acb at 8:39 AM on September 22, 2011


I have no problem with laws like this. If it's cruel to have a guinea pig living on its own (something I wasn't aware of), and people don't know this, make it a law. I remember at one point I was considering getting a sugar glider as a pet, and some research showed me that they also were very social creatures that needed companions. So I passed - the first thing I thought of was "as soon as one dies, I will be locked into an endless circle of sugar glider ownership"
posted by antifuse at 8:47 AM on September 22, 2011


I have a Swiss friend who spent a great deal of time in the US. She eventually grew quite bitter after being asked repeatedly if she spoke Swedish.

I wonder if she would have preferred if they asked her if she spoke Swiss.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:04 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was just thinking about sugar gliders, antifuse. I had two of them for a while, and yeah, it would be cruel to have just one, so I have no problem with the law either.

Abyssinian guinea pigs with twirly hair

Twirly hair, tee hee!
posted by Specklet at 9:06 AM on September 22, 2011


Untitled: Attack of the Guinea Pigs Arc <- is a webcomic
posted by TrinsicWS at 9:12 AM on September 22, 2011


Swiss will make miet from anything!
posted by Goofyy at 9:53 AM on September 22, 2011


She also apparently got a lot of questions about her goats (which, you know, she doesn't have) and if Switzerland had electric power.

So what happened to her goats? Did the lack of electricity make them lonely?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:19 AM on September 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


In case anyone was wondering, Swiss animal welfare laws are extremely strict but not especially well enforced.

Personally, I think the concept of protection for social animals is a good one (they even include fish!), but it would be better to have provisions for the law which account for animals left alone after their buddies die but whose owners don't want more pets. Also, my mother tells me hamsters are included on the social animal list, which is misguided since many pet hamster species are antisocial and will harm or kill each other.
posted by bettafish at 10:33 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eponysterical, bettafish!
posted by easilyamused at 12:23 PM on September 22, 2011


Are rabbits on the social animal list? That would make me happy.
posted by Leon at 1:35 PM on September 22, 2011


I support this program. Here is a video showing how to bathe your guinea pig. Here is one showing how not to do it.
posted by jessamyn at 2:07 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Given the lifespan of gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs, it always seemed like we were just renting them anyway.
posted by el_lupino at 2:22 PM on September 22, 2011


It's great to see that some people choose to care about animals beyond the extent to which they can exploit them.
posted by Cerulean at 2:26 PM on September 22, 2011


Small animal rental is by no means a new thing; in Japanese, there is an idiom which translates as "as reserved as a borrowed cat", which suggests that, in Japan, cat rental was an established institution.
posted by acb at 3:41 PM on September 22, 2011


No kidding, I am actually deathly allergic to guinea pigs.

Oddly, I'm allergic to hamsters. No idea if I'm deathly allergic, though, because I only found out when I got allergy tested about 12 years ago, and I haven't actually been anywhere near a hamster since sometime in the late 1970's.
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:15 AM on September 23, 2011


"as reserved as a borrowed cat"

Doesn't this just mean that a cat out of its environment keeps a low profile? I'm not sure that it suggests that the Japanese have a tradition of loaner pets. Let the Swiss keep their reputation for innovation!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:27 AM on September 23, 2011


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