Fact-Checking the Perrarina Canard

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You’ve heard it. Everyone’s heard it. In the early 1990s, the Venezuelan economy got so bad, poor people were forced to eat “Perrarina”, the popular dry dog food brand. But…is there any substance at all to this story?

El Pitazo, one of the new crop of Venezuelan digital media outlets created followed the dismantling of the traditional independent press, is on the case.

Check it out:

Long story short, the source for this story is a single, unsigned story that appeared in Producto magazine in 1990.

Ironically, the Producto piece bills itself as a fact-check of the stories going around at the time about poor people eating Perrarina. It starts off by referencing a previous news report on the story, but it doesn’t specify when or where it appeared.

Despite the sensationalist headline, what’s notable about the Producto piece is that they got nothing: they manage to quote a single shop-owner in a slum near San Bernardino saying some of his customers who don’t own dogs have been buying perrarina.

That. Is. It.

But then, in 1990, Harina Pan cost less per kg. than Perrarina did.

So was there some mass outbreak of Perrarina-eating in the early 90s? There’s just no reason to think so.

1 COMMENT

  1. I agree… it never made any economic sense to me.
    Who knows, maybe they were feeding hens with it (guacharacas love dry dog food… why not hens?)

    • Guacharacas love dry dog food??? Had we known that, we might have been better able to protect our avocados from those airborne rats!

      • Our problem was the bienteveos. The little pests would peck on my dog’s food all day long and he’d do nothing about it. But our avocado tree was safe from the guacharacas because to my dog they were basically cats with wings… He got a hold of one of them once and made our patio look like a Tarantino movie.

    • Well, I would love to see what sort of birds were those, to be able to swallow dry, hard pills almost the size of their heads, like a person able to swallow a whole papaya in one gulp.

      • Guacharacas are routinely feed perrarina at my parent’s house in Municipio El Hatillo. They are beautiful birds, not pests. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

        • The perrarina Ralph is talking about is the Purina’s brand Perrarina custom size, bigger than a small pencil sharpener, the one that people in the 80’s 90’s used to make rat-traps by hanging the pellets in a wire.

          A can guacharaca eat dog/cat food, but not of the size of the Perrarina that came in sacks like bakery flour.

  2. I think the correct name would be “Urban Legend” as many used by the chavistas to justify their vindictive policies. What is a fact is that people now are using vet drugs since human drugs are missing.

  3. That’s always has been a ñángara urban legend spouted by the kind of resentful people who are know in power. Ironically, now thanks to the crazy collectivist policies of the people who spread the perrarina myth, you couldn’t eat Perrarina for lunch. If the urban myth for the cuarta was that you had to eat Perrarina, I’m starting the urban myth for the quinta where people had to eat from their kitty’s litter box.

  4. I remember back in the day people saying that if you ate the Perrarina with water it tasted like meat and if you ate it with milk it tasted like chicken. I can picture my mom saying it was from an article she read. Now, as an adult and knowing the kind of things my mom shares on her Facebook account I bet it was part of a rumor. It would have been interesting to interview someone from the Magazine Producto that worked during that time.

    • The only problem with perrarina is that it’s a little bland. Maybe if you add some salt and spices and some fried onions it’s better.

  5. I said it then and say it now: neither, Chavez nor Maduro have the slightest idea of the price of Perrarina and comparative costs. Commercial dog food has always been more expensive than human food. Undoubtably the presidential budget covers it. (And yes, the guacharcas love it!).

  6. Dog food in Venezuela now is in extremely short supply, if you can get it at all. Pro Plan, the most expensive brand of locally-produced, at new pricing now sells at the same price/kg. as top grade ground round.

    • The question is whether some fancy dogs left from the ” burguesito pelucones” would even consider eating whatever “perros calientes” and other human delicacies el pueblo might be eating these dog days of summer.. Fancy Fidos from La Lagunita would totally reject un plato’e pajta con diablito..

  7. The freaking perrarina costs like 8 million for a 15kg sack. So if you wanted to advance the urban myth of eating dog food today, you would technically be worse off now than in 1990, because at least in 1990 you could buy the damn thing.
    Con los precios justos, tu dignidad esta a salvo!

  8. Funny, that Perrarina always has been the most expensive brand of dog food available.

    I can bet one of my gonads and regrow two like a hydra, that the so-called article in that stupid magazine was written by a chaburro (Or how they were called in that time, a communist)

  9. Harina Pan contains no animal proteins, Perrarina has lots of them. Any 10 year old child learns in school that humans need to consume animal proteins to build muscles, anti-bodys and all kind of cells. That’s what the rich to to themselves in Venezuela, that the poor can survive only on corn flour. Oddly nobody from the upper or middle class tried that diet, why not?

    • Yes, but it takes minimum education to know about the Protein values in Perrarina.
      Sugary or salted Carbs taste better for humans, too.

    • Because it’s way cheaper to buy actual protein sources, like grains, instead of burning all our income in dog food, or you could consume fish, like sardines.

      Damn, why are even people so stupid to give a sliver of credibility tho this bullshit? Dog food has ALWAYS been several times more expensive as human food, thinking that poor people bought that stuff instead of mortadela or some other animal-based products is a complete idiocy.

      Also, Richard, here’s your other proof that NO HUMAN EVER SUBSISTED ON DOG FOOD IN VENEZUELA, because “what poor eat” is “harina con mantequilla y sardinas”

  10. Prepared animal feed has never been cheap in this country , had an elderly relative who long time ago had a very prosperous cattle ranch, the Mendozas ( then owners of the biggest cattle feed company in Venezuela) wanted to set up their own cattle ranch and visited him seeking his advise on how best to do it , he admonished them ´first thing , never feed your cattle with prepared animal feed, thats too expensive and will ruin you , give them cut natural grasses with a sprinkling of mineral salts and molasses’ , Not sure they liked the advise but they had the good humour to laugh at the comment . It happened to be true them , and is certainly true now .

    I suspect this urban legend has a US origin , for one thing if you lived most anyplace outside the centre of a city (including many half rural barrios) every body has his stock of chickens running arround which they fed with left overs from each meal . In fact people said that the flesh of chicken bred on prepared feed wasnt as good tasting as chicken bred eating bugs and meal left overs. !

  11. There’s not much difference between how millions of docile Venezuelan Zombies are behaving now, and what they must be ingesting, and what our beloved canine pets do or eat.

    They stand in line forever, waiting for their “presio justo” , still thinking whether or not to vote for Maduro, the Oppposition, or some new Chavista “alternative” thug. Thinking, if at all, how to get another freebie, another “tigrito”, how to sneak into the next shady deal, ‘pa botala de jonron”, or at least how to leech some more from El Gobielno del pueblo.

    Either they make a lot more than “minimum salary”, or they are eating cheap pasta and rice, no beans, no chicken, no tuna cans, every day. Or they are stealing quite a bit, or bachaqueando (great in that case) or doing something fishy on the side. Just do the math.

    So Perrarina, or no Perrarina, eating cats, dogs or wild chiguires and lapas.. many of the poor, honest people must have horrible diets by now. Cheap carbohydrates and whatever free, low hanging fruit or wild game they can collect, going back in time to “hunter-gatherer” primitive existence.

    Hopefully that and the colas will continue to make them rethink their Chavista “socialismo” and “robolusion” crap, over and over. Sorry, but many of them, not all, practically deserve what they are getting.

  12. As a long time dog breeder, I can attest what others have said: even the cheapest dog food has been, at least from the late 70’s, far more expensive than human staples.
    That said, I remember the rumour of people eating perrarina en los cerros far before chavismo was a gleam in an evil eye. About 1982, IIRC, I was already telling my brother in law to stop saying such nonsense, as perrarina was more expensive than human food. Not a new trend.

    • It is more expensive, but consider the food chain:

      Human gets hungry: runs out of Cattle (no joke, see Cattle and horse total Extinctions in Cuba in the 60’s and 70’s..) , so they go for juicy cats, rats, and then even the sweet family dogs enter the occasional menu.. for sure. The Chinese love them.

      Once the populace have eaten all the wild cattle, (Toros are a delicacy in Margarita, as I recall from many a Sunday barbecue..) then horses, cats, even rabipelaos are fried.

      So you are ultimately left with that old, forgotten Saco e’ Perrarina out there in the farm or el rancho.. no more sweet family dogs to feed, cats are gone.. happens in every war zone.

  13. “¿Por qué es tan difícil conseguir carne de vacuno en Cuba? Es desconcertante, en especial dado el hecho de que en 1959, antes de la revolución de Castro, aquí había más vacas que personas. Poco más de seis millones de reses para una población humana de poco menos de seis millones, según con John Parke Wright IV, un comerciante de Florida que vende ganado a Cuba. Su familia —dueña del rancho Lykes, una de las granjas ganaderas más grandes de EE.UU.— tiene negocios con Cuba desde mediados del siglo XIX.

    “Cuba tenía los ranchos ganaderos más grandes y productivos del hemisferio occidental”, me cuenta Wright cuando lo llamo por teléfono a su casa de Naples, Florida (tan cerca de Cuba, que asegura poder ver La Habana desde su porche “en noches claras mientras se fuma un buen puro”).

    “¿Qué fue de esa gran tradición de los ranchos ganaderos?”, le pregunto.

    “Se comieron todas las vacas”, me responde.

    Me río, pienso que es una broma.

    “No, de verdad, lo digo en serio”, insiste. “Escucha: hace unos pocos años le pregunté a un comandante de la revolución qué fue lo que salió mal. Él me contestó: ‘Mira, teníamos hambre, éramos jóvenes: nos comimos las vacas.'”

    http://www.vice.com/es_co/read/oro-rojo-carne-cuba-481

    • “Él me contestó: ‘Mira, teníamos hambre, éramos jóvenes: nos comimos las vacas.’””

      Obvió por supuesto lo más importante: “Éramos unos estúpidos de a bolas.”

  14. ¿Qué comen los perros de los pobres?
    Los perros de los pobres no comen perrarina, comen sobras de comida de gente.
    Así que es un contrasentido estúpido considerar que la gente en Venezuela en algún momento llegó a comer la más cara de todas las comidas de perro porque no tenía para comprar un kilo de bofe.
    Pura paja loca de los chaburros, como el cuento ridículo de las viejas locas golpistas del cafetal, o de los maricos que atosigaban a los guardias nazis, o de la cojita que le rompió una uña a una matona de 100 kilos y casi dos metros de alto.

  15. Es más, es AHORA EN SOCIALISMO que, la carne para “consumo humano”, es muchísmo más costosa por su pero que la COMIDA DE PERRO.

    Actualmente:

    4 Kilos de K-Nina Gold (La versión frufrú premium porque la normal ya no existe) anda por los 1300 bolos, mientras que un kilo de lomito ya llega a los 1600 bolos.

    Que ironía, sería ver que en la época CHABURRA, a gente comiendo comida de perro porque no puedan comprar carne de verdad.

    http://m.memegen.com/pyjmlh.jpg

  16. Los pobres comían pasta con sardinas, el kilo de pasta la de sémola durum normal, igual a la regulada de hoy costaba menos que la harina de maíz y rendía más. Las sardinas en lata, la proteína más barata de entonces siempre han sido catalogadas como comía de pobres por eso.

    La perrarina por otra parte requería de mucha agua y fuego para usarla como comida justamente porque era muy seca, cosa que los pobres no podían malgastar porque subir agua y gas a la punta del cerro no era grato en aquellos años.

    Eso siempre fue una leyenda urbana.

  17. conooooo se cansa uno! lo importante no es si es verdad o no! es si es un buen “sound bite” y es un “talking point” pegajoso y funciona tanto hoy como en los 80.

    … La verdad es la primera victima en toda guerra y el chavismo lleva 15 anos acunando una “nueva lengua” con la que nos somete continuamente.

    Desde las creaciones de cuarta vs. quinta, escualidos vs. patriotas hasta las mas recientes bachaquero, etc. usamos el lexico y las ideas que crea el chavismo y necesariamente caemos en su construccion semiotica.

    Un gran reto es usar el leguaje correctamente y llamar las cosas pr su nombre, regimen, vasallo de cuba, comunismo, etc….

    (vale la aclaratoria que en mi opinion, el comunismo no es mas que un bello cuento de ideas e intenciones para controlar a un pueblo y montar una nomenclatura totalitaria.)

  18. Don Toro…you’re way too nice!

    Back then there was no shortage of perrarina

    Nowadays you almost need a Vet certificate to buy dog’s food…Maybe the population of dogs in Venezuela has been growing at an alarming rate.

    Cheers!

    Ps. Cada vez que me acuerdo de este tema me provoca decirles “lo es igual no es trampa!”

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