Rabbits. Bunnies. Hippity hop oh so adorable pet, right?
Well, maybe. Or, maybe they’re a little more than that.
My great-grandfather used to have a little farm that raised rabbits. Pretty, fluffy show rabbits who were pampered pets, and then a lot of more ordinary rabbits who… umm… well, who fed a good many people in the town. Those years during and after the wars, people were pretty darned happy to have meat, wherever they could find it, and rabbits were one of the most accessible.
Those of you who know me are probably wondering where the heck this is going, especially since you know I’m mostly a vegetarian. Well, y’all also know my husband is NOT, and as I’m mostly responsible for the cooking and grocery shopping, that means I still have to think hard about the issues surrounding the meat I prepare for him.
As much as I would love for all of our meat to come from a happy farm local CSA, that’s not always a possibility with our budget. Sometimes I just have to hold my nose and buy those frozen Trader Joe’s chicken breasts and try not to think about it too hard.
However, In thinking about the chicken coop I intend to build later this year for fresh eggs, I started thinking about my great-grandfather and his rabbits. I’ve had conversations with a few people about raising bunnies, mostly to sound out the ideas rattling about in my head. The sticking point is always “could you kill it”? and the truth is, I’m not so sure.
On the one hand, no. Because if it came down to having meat or killing a bunny, I’d go eat a salad. That said, I also really don’t agree with how all of the meat in stores is shrink wrapped and sterilized into portions that are completely unrelated to and unrecognizable as the animal they came from. Since that’s exactly what I’m buying to feed my husband, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little hypocritical.
According to the article, “rabbit is one of the healthiest, leanest, and most environmentally friendly meats you can eat.” Rabbits are small, eat kitchen scraps, and their poop makes awesome compost (just ask my tomatoes). They also convert food energy to pounds incredibly efficiently, and are a lot easier for the DIY homesteader to butcher and dress.
All these reasons and more are why Michael Pollan is calling Rabbits the new urban chickens.
So at the end of the day, I’m not quite ready to whack Thumper over the head – yet, but the article is a really interesting read anyway. Check it out and tell me what you think?