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Role of Domestic Pets in Hispanic America

     Cats are slowly growing in popularity in Hispanic culture.  The kitty litter market is at a nascent stage.  Hamsters and white rats are rarely used as pets, and guinea pigs are food animals in the Andean region.  In warm weather countries, there are many pet birds, especially varieties of parrots.  They are fed fruit, such as watermelon, and seeds.  In traditional Hispanic houses, which have a central enclosed courtyard filled with plants and a tree, it is common to have a parrot or two living uncaged, wings clipped to prevent flying away. Parrots that can talk are especially loved.  A friend tells the story of her friend, Lupita, whose parrot would call out "Lupita, watermelon!" or "Lupita seeds!" when it was hungry.   Street hucksters also use parrots in a variety of con games.  The San Juan market in Guadalajara, Mexico, for instance, offers shoppers the chance to have a parrot choose a card with their fortune on it.

     In general, then, Hispanic American veterinarians are involved mostly with large animal practice.  Farm animals are extremely important to the national economy, and there is a  widespread intensive effort to improve their breeding, nutrition, and care.

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