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Rabbit meat: valuable nutrition or too-cute-to-eat?

By F. Leroy, M. Petracci

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Rabbit meat is a component of traditional diets, often incorporated into iconic dishes of regional cuisine. Its consumption can be traced back to the ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean and beyond, well into the Palaeolithic era. Even though it has been representing considerable nutritional and cultural value for millennia, a decline in consumption is now noticeable. Specific categorial dynamics are at play, related to the various superimposed roles of rabbits as livestock, game, pests, laboratory animals and pets. Their perceived cuteness in particular can lead to emotional responses that are hard to reconcile with the sensitivities of the post-domestic paradigm. Such effects compromise the acceptability of rabbit meat in contemporary Western societies that are typified by problematic human-animal interactions and a disconnect from the food chain. Young and urban populations in particular now seem to have difficulties facing the notion that food production requires the killing of animals. As a result, a traditional food source risks becoming irrelevant despite its high nutritional value and potential for sustainable meat production, due to reasons that are emotive rather than rational.

Publication Title World Rabbit Science
Volume 29
Issue 4
Pages 239-246
ISBN/ISSN 1257-5011
DOI 10.4995/wrs.0.12663
Author Address Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.frederic.leroy@vub.be
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal production
  3. Consumers
  4. Food quality
  5. Food science
  6. Food supply
  7. Laboratory and experimental animals
  8. Meat.
  9. Meat animals
  10. Meat production
  11. Nutrition
  12. open access
  13. Reviews
  14. slaughter
  15. urban areas
  1. open access