CEBU

Briones: Rabbit, anyone?

On the go

A three-ounce serving is said to contain 28 grams of protein, more than beef or chicken.

It also contains more than four milligrams (mg) of concentrated iron and provides a wide range of minerals, including 204 mg of phosphorus and 292 mg of potassium.

For the diet-conscious, a serving contains only 147 calories.

“I heard their meat is really nutritious and rich in protein and other vitamins,” said Central Visayas Agriculture Director Salvador Diputado.

Diputado, of course, is referring to the commercial viability of rabbit meat as an alternative to pork.

Yeah. The same species as Bugs Bunny of the Looney Toons fame, easily identifiable by its long ears, fluffy tail, large hind legs and two pairs of sharp front teeth. It’s a bundle of cuteness that hops around, prompting people to slip into baby talk.

Although don’t be deceived. Fans of Monty Python might well remember the killer rabbit of Caerbannog that preyed on the unsuspecting fictional characters of Arthurian England.

But joking aside, Diputado has a point.

Cebuanos may soon need to find another source of meat now that the African swine fever has found its way into Mindanao, forcing the Capitol to ban all pork and pork-related products from the provinces of Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro (formerly Compostela Valley) to protect Cebu’s P11-billion hog industry.

A similar ban on pork and pork-related products from Luzon has been in place since late last year.

According to Angie Veneracion of agriculture.com.ph, “rabbits were brought to the country after World War II by the US Peace Corps and some religious missionaries to help alleviate the problem of food scarcity brought about by the devastation of war.”

Veneracion might have overlooked the fact that the archipelago’s Spanish conquistadores were fond of rabbit meat, which would explain why, while I was doing research for a food article in the early 2000s, I chanced upon a rabbit recipe that was popular among Spanish households in pre-war Cebu although I can’t remember the source.

At any rate, Filipinos, Cebuanos in particular, need to wean themselves off a pork-dependent diet. That means eating smaller portions of lechon at gatherings or buying liempo only once a week.

It’s no secret that the leading causes of death in the country are diseases of the heart and the vascular system although it may not be fair to solely blame pork for this. There are, after all, other factors.

Still, it may be high time that we look for other sources of nourishment.

Rabbits, I heard, are easy to raise and breed profusely. They also taste like chicken.


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