BIÑAN, Laguna - The local government unit (LGU) here is encouraging its residents to try rabbit farming to boost their livelihood and also as an alternative to pork and chicken meat.
The Biñan City Rabbitry, launched in March, 2021, offers free rabbit-raising manuals, seminars, and information to anyone who wants to venture into rabbit-farming. The facility also provides free vitamins, electrolytes, and stud services for those who have already started breeding rabbits.
Biñan City Rabbitry manager Acel Reyes told the Manila Bulletin that rabbits are low maintenance, easy to manage, and are prolific breeders. Rabbit meat is also rich in protein, low in fat, and high in nutritional value, making it one of the healthiest meats.
Christopher Allan Silva, one of the residents who attended the LGU's rabbit-raising seminar, said he has high hopes that rabbit farming will become a lucrative source of income.
"Since bago pa lang ako sa industry, bago ko pa lang nararamdaman ang epekto nito sa kabuhayan namin. Mukhang malaki ang maitutulong nito sa pang araw-araw namin na kabuhayan (Since I'm new in the industry, I have yet to experience its full effect on our income. It seems that this will help us immensely in the long run)," Silva told the Manila Bulletin.
At present, rabbit meat costs P400 to P450 per kilo. Standard pricing for rabbit meat has yet to be established locally. The LGU hopes to get more residents into rabbit farming to boost supply and make the meat more affordable for consumers.
Hesitation over rabbit meat consumption
Rabbit meat is a diet staple in other countries, particularly in Europe. In the Philippines, however, many are still new to the idea of accepting rabbits as food.
"Since kinalakihan ng mga tao na ang rabbit ay pet lamang, may mga Biñanense ding tutol sa pagkonsumo into. (Since many people grew up knowing rabbits as pets, there are residents who are against the consumption of its meat)," Reyes said. "Ika nga nila, 'gabay sa baguhan, respeto sa nauna' (As they say, 'guidance for the rookies, respect for the old-timers')."
Despite the initial hesitation, some residents are starting to appreciate rabbit meat and a few have tried processing it to make tapa (cured meat), longganisa (sausage), and sisig.
The LGU is in the process of building a slaughterhouse and a rabbit restaurant in Biñan Organik Farm to give breeders a stable client to sell their produce to. Breeders can also sell rabbit manure to the farm, which may be used as vermicast for organic farming.