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raising meat rabbits

Raising Meat Rabbits

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Meat is murder; delicious and nutritious murder. I don’t know any vegans with functioning testicles and at the same time, I firmly believe that if you can’t kill your own meat, then you don’t deserve to eat it. This is why I’m raising my own meat rabbits.

We live in a decadent era where most people are completely disconnected from the reality of their food. I believe that being so insulated from death leads to a form of mental illness. Death is a part of life and to live means you must kill. If you’ve ever seen what happens to a field when “vegan” products are harvested, then you know that death is a part of all forms of food production. Tilling the soil alone will kill hundreds if not thousands of field mice and moles in one acre.

I find it ironic that many vegans and vegetarians will screech over the murder of animals that have a shorter lifespan than a year in nature; meanwhile they are silent or confused when 300 year old trees are felled to clear more land to produce their trash food. From a logical perspective it is much better to utilise the quick turnaround on meat production than to clear more land for soy production. We don’t even have enough farmland in this world to provide the world with a vegetarian or vegan diet; let alone the damage this diet has on human health. 

I recommend anyone who has these illusions on the human dietary requirements to watch a season of the TV Series, Alone. It puts the difficulty of human existence on full display. Animal protein and fat are the most essential needs along with balancing the caloric expenditure equation. I’ve successfully converted vegetarians and vegans by recommending that show when I don’t have the time or energy to argue my position. 

Even if you are weak and you delegate your responsibility to an assassin on an assembly line; eventually you should experience this task. If you eat meat regularly; you should have an in-depth understanding of that process which will give you an appreciation for the meat, the animal, the farmer, and the butcher. Reconnecting with food production will improve mental and physical health. For me, I prefer to do it myself. I feel that it is important to actively participate in the production of the meat I eat. 

Now I do not have the time to slaughter and butcher all the meat I consume. This is due to having another job (2 actually) along with my family responsibilities. The economic machine requires and rewards my skills in other areas, but I still firmly believe that everyone should be able to kill and butcher an animal. In the same way that you cannot have someone lose weight on your behalf; somethings you need to do yourself. 

Many dream of raising their own meat animals but very few know where to start. To complicate things, most of us don’t have the land or resources required to support the growth of large animals. What do you do if you never had any experience in raising, slaughtering and butchering your own meat? What is a good entry level animal to try?

The answer in meat rabbits. If you can find the fortitude required to dispatch a cute fluffy bunny and fry it up for a scrumptious meal, then you can raise your own meat. I’ve raised rabbits since I was 13 years old. I had pet rabbits since I was 5 years old. I like rabbits as pets, and I enjoy caring for them. They are uncomplicated pets and require very little.

So now you’re asking; what kind of psycho would raise fluffy bunnies for meat? The answer is; many of your ancestors. Raising meat rabbits was practiced in Rome, with rabbit hutches being found during that time. That means there was a degree of domestication as early as 2000 years ago. Later on, many monasteries bred rabbits for meat as early as 600 A.D. creating many of the modern breeds we have today.

I raise a French breed called Silver Champagne Rabbits. They have this name for their pelt which has a very neat colour. They are born with black fur but as they grow the pelt turns to a silvery colour. This makes it easy to know when they are ready to be slaughtered, the pelt turning from black to sliver is the sign they are fully developed. They usually weigh five kilograms when fully grown. This breed isn’t the largest, but it has one of the best meat to bone ratios when comparing rabbits. Silver Champagne is much better suited to outdoor living than other common meat breeds like a New Zealander or California rabbit. Those breeds have pink eyes that are not great in sun exposure. 

Rabbits are very hardy in general; keep their cage clean and they rarely get sick. I’ve only had one rabbit die from illness in all my years of experience raising rabbits. They only require water and grass or pellets each day for energy input. They also need hutches to protect against predation and it is an added benefit to provide them with a run. Most meat rabbits can be happy in a cage that is roughly a meter squared. You could even raise meat rabbits in an apartment.

In the beginning I would recommend buying kits (baby rabbits) and raising them for 18 weeks until you slaughter them. Breeding rabbits yourself requires a little more understanding of the details and things that can go wrong. Also, you need more infrastructure to maintain a buck and doe. It is much easier to buy kits and grow them out and the equipment required is very simple. To start; get a cage, waterer and feed to promote growth. Care for your kits until they have grown to their full size. This portion is as easy as that. One small tip; don’t name them and buy more than one. This will make it easier to slaughter later if you are new to this. Having multiple ones reduces the connection with a single individual rabbit and avoiding names should seem obvious. 

Once they’re fully grown it is time to slaughter the rabbits. There are a few options for dispatching rabbits. The simplest is breaking the neck with the hands by twisting the head quickly  and holding the body. This method requires no equipment but a bit of skill. The next option would be to have a small club used to strike at the base of the skull which would stun the rabbit; giving you time to hang it by the feet and slit the throat. I used this method for the longest time. The third option is the make a rabbit popper that holds the head securely to a wall and with a sharp tug on the body you can break the neck. The final option which I use now requires the investment in a spring loaded bolt gun. This fires a piece of metal into the brain of the rabbit and kills it instantly. I use this method the most now since I bought a bolt gun last year.  

No matter how you choose to dispatch the rabbit, make sure you are quick and effective. Practice on a stuffed animal before doing it to make sure you don’t fuck it up. Listening to a rabbit scream as it dies is not a pleasant experience. Skip the learning curve and do it right the first time. Make sure everything is cleaned well and sanitised before you begin the process and wash your hands and tools between each phase of dispatching, skinning, and then butchering.  

Once the rabbit is dispatched, it is time to hang it by the “ankles” and bleed it out. You will need a good sharp knife for this. It is best done immediately after killing the rabbit because the heart is still pumping which will speed up the process of blood letting. I do this over a sink in my laundry room. Once the blood drains, a process which takes a few minutes, it is time to begin skinning. There are plenty YouTube videos and I would recommend you watch many versions before you attempt any of this yourself. Once you’ve skinned the rabbit you can cut off the head and put that with the parts you intend to throw away. You can tan the hide yourself and keep it if you like. There are many methods and recipes to do this. 

Removing organs is the next part which is messy work but relatively simple. The important thing is to remove the rectum properly so that you don’t contaminate the meat. Once I’ve used my knife to pull out the anus of the animal, I then only use my fingers to remove the entrails. This reduces the chance that I will rupture the stomach while disembowelling the animal. Once you get to the liver and kidneys you want to inspect those for any white spots. If they have them then the meat is already contaminated with parasites and you should not consume the meat under any circumstances. In domesticated animals, I have never seen this so if it happens then something went terribly wrong. I highly doubt this will happen to anyone reading this but it is good information to know. Continue removing all the organs and then you will have a carcass ready to be washed in water and split into edible pieces. It would take too long to describe the options you have at this point so I will encourage you to watch lots of YouTube to help you decide how you want to section your meat.

I’ve also taken the meat, deboned it and ground it up for sausages or breaded nuggets. I vacuum seal them in bags and put them in the freezer. They are ready-to-go-easy-meals and very quick to cook. Rabbit meat can replace any recipe that asks for chicken. It is the best grass fed white meat due to its better nutritional value, especially compared to chicken. I also find that it maintains its moisture better than chicken when you cook it and the back straps are similar to chicken breasts. 

Many think that starvation from rabbits is a real thing; this would also occur if someone only ate chicken and nothing else. Eating only one item will cause a nutritional deficiency and eventually kill you. The human body was designed for variety of meats, fats, and vegetables and fruit. If you only eat rice or pasta; you will also eventually starve to death! Rabbit meat is an excellent source of nutrition and protein, but it cannot be your only source. Add some eggs and you are set, as I wrote about in the article on laying hens

If we want anything to be done better than it is; it is our responsibility to step up and do it. This is true in all things including our meat production. Relying on a system that despises you is unwise. Have the skills you need to survive no matter what chaos occurs in this lifetime. It is good to develop a relationship with your food and know where it comes from. Even if you do this once in your life I would highly recommend it. Europeans have raised their own animals since forever and it should be a tradition we maintain. The food quality is better this way and you become more resilient as a radical who is protesting simply by existing. 

Appreciate nature and the bounty it provides. Don’t be afraid to get a little blood on your hands.

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Oh this is fantastic, sounds like a perfect compliment to chickens

You’re right, rabbits and hens sound like a very productive and low-resource livestock combo.

I feel an urge to watch Velveteen Rabbit now

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