"I make samples and take them to the hotels and restaurants around the city to convince them that they can add rabbit stew in their menus and we can supply them with the meat,” she says.
Don Mersiovsky, president of the TRBA, began raising rabbits when he was a 9-year-old 4-H student in Belton. Living in the city, rabbits were the easiest animal for him to raise. He's been raising them ever since. Where rabbits rank on the list of most popular animals for 4-H students to raise depends on the part of the state, Mersiovsky said."In areas that are more urban, where there are a lot of subdivisions and neighborhoods, you're usually going to see more rabbits," he said. "They're not as big as other livestock, but you can learn the same life skills and the same sense of responsibility that you get with any other animal. You have to take care of it and make sure it's healthy and well-fed. You have to learn the right way to do things."We have a lot of physically-disadvantaged kids who show rabbits. You don't have to be physically fit. Some of the special needs kids find rabbits a lot easier to handle, and they're not as scared. We've had kids with cerebral palsy and one with muscular dystrophy. It's a good way for them to learn the same life skills as anybody else."
A youth who had taken up rabbit rearing as an excellent means of self-employment, is leading a content life now.
The answer is, perhaps surprisingly, that rabbits do not actually contribute to pet overpopulation. Despite being very prolific breeders, pet rabbits are not overpopulated in the United States, so breeding them does not present the same moral concerns associated with the breeding of cats and dogs.
The only reliable figure for rabbit abandonment comes from a 1997 shelter survey that estimated 43,519 rabbits abandoned in US shelters in 1996. This estimate does not come from any rescue group or animal rights group, as they all claim they have no information about shelter numbers, but rather from an individual who did it himself. And from Rabbits Annual 1998-99 "Fewer rabbits are being dumped because people know how to care for them." Paige Parsons HRS educator.