The Real Reason You Should Be Eating Rabbit

The world has changed a lot in the last calendar year, but among the plethora of new normals like social distancing and wearing masks are some norms that haven't changed, like the relatively low proportion of rabbit meat in the typical North American omnivore's diet. But why? If you go by the evidence, people should really be eating more rabbits.

It might sound like a strange question, but keep in mind rabbit meat is lean, full of nutrients, low-waste, and, compared to other animals that are used for meat, it's also an environmentally friendly option (via Eater). In fact, according to Lisa Webster, co-owner of Maine's North Star Sheep Farm, "Rabbits have such a small footprint on our world, and the manure is great for compost for our garden... There's zero waste, and it's nutrient dense. It's really a tremendous protein." Rabbit meat might even be the answer to the rising price of pork in the Philippines (via Vice). So, why aren't we eating more of it? The answer is simpler than you might think.

The real reason rabbit is rare

Humans have been eating and domesticating rabbits for between 10,000 and 20,000 years (via Discover Magazine). So, why is it still so rare? Because we see bunny rabbits as pets rather than livestock. After all, "rabbits are the third-most-popular pet in America," and this perception can understandably make the idea of eating them less appealing (via National Geographic).

Or, perhaps we just can't get past the adorable images of rabbits in popular media. For instance, in a Quora post asking the question, "Why don't Americans eat more rabbit meat?", one answerer wrote, "Nope. Just like I won't eat dog or cat, I am not eating Thumper, Flopsy, Mopsy, Peter Cottontail, Brier, or Roger. Nope. Unh Unh. Ain't happenin', no way, no how, nope. Fergeddaboutit" (via Quora). The comment had 463 upvotes. 

Maybe the way to turn rabbit back into a popular meal lies in changing that perception. We could try focussing on the more negative depictions of our floppy-eared friends (like the "foul, cruel, bad-tempered" monster of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," or more recently, Signor Scratchy, the evil witch's familiar from "WandaVision" (via CBR). Or, maybe the climate will make the switch for us. Only time will tell.