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What Should I Consider When I Buy Rabbit Meat?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
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  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2016
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Rabbit meat is considered to be one of the healthiest types of meat. If you are looking to buy rabbit meat, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Try to buy rabbit meat that is local, since it will be fresher. Unfortunately, it may be a bit difficult to find, especially in large cities, so you may have to look around a bit. Also, pay attention to what type of rabbit meat you buy so you will know how to cook it, and be aware that it may not have been inspected.

Compared to other types of meat, including chicken, rabbit meat is considered nutritionally superior. It has much less fat than other meats. The levels in cholesterol in rabbit meat are also much lower than more traditional types of meat, especially lamb.

If you want to buy rabbit meat that is fresh, your best bet is local rabbit meat. Local food items, including meat, typically travel shorter distances than imported food, which may not be as fresh. Some local rabbit farms will even slaughter the animal the day you want to use it.

Locating rabbit farms, however, may be a bit difficult. Individuals who live in a large city might find this task especially difficult. Some butchers may be able to special order rabbit meat for you to buy. Another option to buy rabbit meat may be the Internet. Several websites specialize in selling game meat, including rabbit.

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When you buy rabbit meat, you will usually notice it is labeled as either a fryer rabbit, or a roaster rabbit. Fryer rabbits are younger than four months old and usually weigh between 1.5 and 4 pounds (0.7 to 1.8 kilograms). This type of meat can often be used in the same way as chicken meat, since it is very tender. Roaster rabbits typically weigh more than 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms), and they are slaughtered around eight months of age. This type of rabbit meat is often a little tougher, and it is best when slowly cooked, such as in a stew.

Another thing to consider when you buy rabbit meat is that it may not be inspected by government regulators. In the United States (US), for example, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for inspecting livestock before, during, and after slaughter. These inspections check the health of the animals, as well as the cleanliness of the facility.

This inspection, however, may not be required for rabbit meat, depending on the region. Therefore, the rabbit meat that you buy may not have been inspected prior to sale. This is especially true for wild rabbit meat.

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browncoat
Post 3

@umbra21 - There are several barriers to rabbit farming in many developed countries. There are quite a few rabbit diseases around that have been introduced to wild populations to cull them so they don't interfere with farmland. It's not like farming cows or sheep where you can be relatively sure that your animals won't encounter a wild version of themselves in the fields.

umbra21
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - I was an aid worker for a while and we were told to push rabbits as a meat source as much as possible. They aren't just healthier nutritionally, they are also one of the best feed-to-meat ratios of any domesticated animal (aside, perhaps from insects, but that's another story) and they mature more quickly and have more offspring pound for pound than any other farm animal.

The only problem is that most rabbits don't survive very well in hot weather and most people who would benefit the most from them live in tropical or desert climates.

I also think that people in more developed countries are only familiar with rabbit meat from wild game, which tastes very different to domesticated rabbit. I hate to use the cliche but it's very much like chicken when raised domestically.

lluviaporos
Post 1

Rabbit meat is so low in fat that there is actually a condition called "rabbit starvation" where people who have become lost in the wild and only ate rabbits became sick because they weren't getting enough fat.

I know that people see them as being cute pets, but I've never understood why rabbit didn't become more popular as a meat source in the developed world. It's rather delicious, particularly if it's prepared properly and it's not like they are difficult to raise.

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