Why are we no longer eating rabbit?

The Flemish Centre for Agro and Fisheries Marketing, let's call it the VLAM, is launching a new campaign to encourage the consumption of rabbit. Fewer and fewer people are eating rabbit and this has its reasons.

Today the average Belgian will consume barely 250 grams of rabbit a year. The figure has halved in only a decade and a half. In order to encourage people to eat rabbit once in a while instead of chicken or beef the VLAM has launched the 'Week of the Rabbit'. The organisation is eyeing young families that often see rabbits as pets rather than as food fit for the table.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries many people kept rabbits as pets but in the end the animals ended up in the pot. Rabbit meat was cheap and sometimes the only meat that would end up on people's tables in a whole month. Rabbits then were fleshy, meaty and corpulent animals. Today's pets are lean and cuddly and don't invite you to put them on your plate. Another problem seems to be that beef and chicken can be cut up so that you no longer recognise the animal. This is far less the case for rabbit.

Belgians over 50 still regularly eat rabbit. They are familiar with the meat and know how to prepare it. Young people believe it takes too much time and are not familiar with the taste because they have hardly ever eaten it.

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