That is a question anyone who raises rabbits for meat has heard hundreds of times. In America, most people think of rabbits as cute pets and balk at the idea of ever eating one. But domestic rabbits have been bred for food in both America and Europe for centuries! The rabbits we all know today are decedents of the European wild rabbit and are an entirely distinct species form the cottontails you see in your backyard. The domestication process started as far back as ancient Rome, but most of the breeds of rabbits that are in existence today were developed in the past 200 years.
Rabbit meat is exceptionally healthy and is excellent for those looking to maximize protein and minimize fat. Rabbit meat is unique for other meats because rabbits do not develop any fat inside their muscle tissue. Instead, they store it under their skin or around their organs. Besides, rabbit meat has a higher protein content than chicken, beef, pork, or turkey. The meat is 100% white and can be cooked the same way as chicken.
Many people may feel bad about eating rabbits because they think they are cute or associate them with a pet. While rabbits do make good pets, so do pigs, goats and many other animals we eat regularly. But there is a world of difference from an animal bred to be a pet, and one bred to work. That friendly pet rabbit is not the genetic default state of rabbits, that takes years of selective breeding, and lots of socializing from birth.
The average life span of a wild rabbit is only three months. Contrary to what animal rights activists will tell you, wild rabbits are not hoping peacefully around exploring a romantic meadow. Most of a wild rabbit’s short life is spent trying to avoid predators, snatch mouthfuls of food, and fighting over mates. This short, tough life almost always ends with the rabbit being eaten alive by one of its many predators. Wild rabbits do not get to grow old. I don’t mean to be gruesome here folks, but this is what life is like in the wild when you are at the very bottom of the food chain.
On the other hand, our domestic meat rabbits live the good life. They have all the fresh food and clean water they need provided daily. They have large cages that keep them safe from the MANY animals that would love to eat them, and they have plenty of room to hope around, stand all the way up and stretch out. They have wire floors that keep them away from their manure and urine (which carry many diseases and parasites) and they have large wooden boards available to get off the wire if they want, (although rabbits are covered in thick fur, so the wire really doesn’t bother them at all).
Most importantly, though, rabbits are an incredibly environmentally friendly source of meat. Unlike chickens, rabbits don’t eat grain that could otherwise go to humans. They are strictly vegetarian and primarily eat grass hay and pellets made from alfalfa (another type of hay). They then efficiently convert that grass that humans cannot eat, into delicious healthy meat that humans can eat, and a warm pelt that humans can use for cloths. The inedible parts of the rabbit along with their manure can be composted and turned into a rich fertilizer, that when applied to a garden, makes even more food!
If you are passionate about the environment, human health, or sustainable food, then you need to start eating rabbit meat! I could spend all day talking about rabbits but in the name of saving your time ill cut it off here. IF you have any questions or would like to learn more about rabbits, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email.
Until next time,