I was going to do a post titled “Meet the chickens and guineas” cause that’s what we got this week, but then I realized I should introduce the rabbits first. We have been raising rabbits for meat for almost a year now. It sounds crazy to a lot of people, I know. Rabbits are cute, they are pets, and who eats rabbit anyway? Why meat rabbits… lots of reasons, but here they are:
- We want to know where our meat comes from, what is really in it, and how the animal lived. We are very much anti-concentrated-animal-feed-operation (anti-CAFO). That’s where meat that we buy at a grocery store comes from – places where animals who have needs and feel pain are treated like objects. I don’t think I have to tell anyone what that means. Not only does it mean the animal had an awful life, but it also means that it wasn’t a healthy animal. There are many food-borne illnesses that are caused by animals being raised in terrible conditions and being fed diets that are not-species appropriate. In addition to that, there are all kinds of dyes, preservatives, etc added to conventional CAFO-raised meat. Sure, you can buy “organic” or “free-range” whatever, but when the system is SO corrupt, it’s hard to trust that buying $6.99/lb chicken rather than $2.99/lb chicken really is making a difference, which brings me to #2…
- PRICE. Since our family (specifically HS) cannot eat meat that has been dyed or had crap added to it, we have to choose between the expensive “organic” meat or no meat at all. Personally I have been a vegetarian in the past for ethical reasons and I have since decided that my body does need meat and I want to eat meat, as long as it is humanely raised. (Yes we do eat junk meat occasionally, we’re not super strict about it.) Raising meat rabbits costs considerably less than buying organic chicken or beef.
- So why rabbit? Because we could. When we were living within city limits with a small backyard, chickens, cows, pigs, fish, and whatever other “conventional” meats most people eat were completely out of the question. We couldn’t legally or logistically raise anything else. Rabbits are easy to raise, easy to process, and taste just like chicken (plus healthier). We raise Crème D’Argent rabbits which are a heritage breed. They grow a little more slowly than commercial New Zealand Whites, but I really like the idea of preserving the heritage breeds. They have really nice coats and docile personalities as well.
So we’ve been raising meat rabbits on a small scale for almost a year. It’s not been our only meat source by any means, but it was a good start to growing our own meat which we are planning to do a lot more of here.