A few weeks ago, AnimaNaturalis presented Granjas.org, a new line of research focused on revealing the living conditions of animals on farms.
On this occasion, our undercover team focuses on rabbit farms, to show the terrible reality that they live in all stages of their lives, from birth until they are sent to the slaughterhouse.
In the EU there is no specific regulation for the exploitation of rabbits
Although rabbits are the third most produced species for meat in Europe, with about 180 million animals each year, there is no specific regulation for the exploitation of rabbits, so businessmen and farmers are governed by the general legislation of the Union European on animal welfare, which only defines some basic aspects such as the availability of water, food and disease prevention.
During the investigation, we have verified how the rabbits live crowded in cages with a wire floor, without any type of enrichment and in a space less than the size of a sheet of paper per animal. In these cages they cannot develop natural behaviors such as running, jumping or gnawing. The same types of cages are used for fattening rabbits, pregnant females and their young.
Breeding mothers are artificially inseminated and pregnant 8.5 times in a single year. They are then sent to the slaughterhouse, although their life expectancy could be up to 12 years.
The rabbits are weaned at 32 days, and sent to the slaughterhouse a month later, but 9.45% will die during lactation and 10.35% will die during the fattening phase.
Spain is the country with the highest consumption of rabbit meat in the EU
More than half of the rabbit farms in the European Union are in Spain, with about 3,833 rabbit farms, according to the Register of Livestock Farms (REGA). Catalonia is the region that has the most farms registered in the whole country. In Spain, 38,548,000 rabbits went to the slaughterhouse in 2021.
The per capita consumption of rabbit meat in Spain is of the order of 0.95 kilos per person per year, a considerably low figure when compared to the consumption of other meats such as pork or poultry (ASECU, Spanish Association of Cuniculture). Even so, Spain is the country with the highest consumption of rabbit meat in the EU, and the second in consumption per capita, after the Czech Republic and followed by Italy.
There is a progressive disaffection in the consumption of rabbit meat in Spain and, in general, in all the countries of the EU, but even so, it continues to be one of the countries that consumes it the most. This happens because of the high price, and because more and more frequently, the rabbit tends to be considered as a pet. In Italy, for example, a bill was presented in the Senate in 2015 to prohibit its use as food, although it did not prosper.
You too can help end factory farming, please sign and spread Granjas.org.
- Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación del Gobierno de España
- Commercial Rabbit Farming in the European Union. Reporte de la Comisión Europea del 2017
- Indicadores de la salud entérica del conejo (ISEC)
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