Scientists tell us we need to start eating bugs.
The booming global population is straining the world’s supply of meat, and the planet just can’t handle any more livestock, which already contributes one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The United Nations has been studying the problem and concluded that entomophagy—the proper term for consuming insects—could be key to future food security.
We should take a closer look at rabbit.
Like insects, rabbit is plentiful in the wild.
Nobody knows just how many billions of rabbits are out there. There are too many to count, and with their notorious fertility and reproduction rates the population is a fast-moving target. Wild rabbits are found on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica, and overpopulation is a frequent complaint.
Raising rabbit is light on the environment.
You can get six pounds of rabbit meat from the same feed and water that it takes to produce one pound of beef, and it can all be foraged. In one year a single doe can produce ten times her own weight in the meat of her offspring. And they’re true locavores— rabbits and the grasses to feed them are found in all 50 states. They’re cleaner, quieter, and easier to butcher than cows, chickens, pigs, or sheep, and their droppings make the best fertilizer of the bunch.
Rabbit is a healthier meat.
Rabbit meat is lower in fat and more protein-dense than beef, pork, lamb, or chicken. There’s almost no cholesterol but lots of healthy fatty acids. And the timing couldn’t be better for introducing a new food into our diets. In recent years we broadened our palates with forays into snout-to-tail dining: we happily spoon marrow out of roasted beef shins; relish the gelatinous succulence of simmered pigs’ feet; and we don’t bat an eye at oxtail and pork jowl. Is rabbit really such a stretch? The meat is delicious— lean and mild-flavored, like a slightly sweeter, slightly gamier chicken. And like chicken, rabbit is a kitchen chameleon that takes well to a multitude of seasonings and preparations.
We’ve always had an uneasy relationship with rabbits as food. They are cute and fluffy and starred in our Saturday morning cartoons. They bring us chocolate at Easter and are the third most popular pet in the country, after cats and dogs. But if you think about it rabbits are no cuter than baby lambs, and we make room on our plates for them.
We need to get past our rabbit squeamishness.
It shouldn’t be that difficult. Especially when you consider the creepy-crawly alternative.