Venezuela’s new plan to beat hunger: Breed rab­bits

Arab News - - COFFEE BREAK -

CARA­CAS: Venezuela’s govern­ment this week urged cit­i­zens to see rab­bits as more than “cute pets” as it de­fended a plan to breed and eat them even as the op­po­si­tion says this would do noth­ing to end chronic food short­ages. The “Rab­bit Plan” is an ef­fort by the govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro to boost food avail­abil­ity. Au­thor­i­ties have also taught cit­i­zens to plant food on roofs and bal­conies of their homes. Maduro’s ad­ver­saries dis­miss such ideas as non­sen­si­cal, in­sist­ing the real problem is a failed model of oil-fi­nanced so­cial­ism that was un­able to sur­vive af­ter crude mar­kets col­lapsed. “There is a cul­tural problem be­cause we have been taught that rab­bits are cute pets,” Ur­ban Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Freddy Ber­nal said dur­ing a tele­vised broad­cast with Maduro this week. “A rab­bit is not a pet; it is two and a half ki­los (5.5 pounds) of meat that is high in pro­tein, with no choles­terol.” Maduro’s crit­ics lam­pooned the idea. Pet rab­bit Lola is pic­tured at the bal­cony of an apart­ment in Cara­cas, Venezuela Septem­ber 14, 2017. “Are you se­ri­ous?” asked Hen­rique Capriles, a state gov­er­nor and two-time op­po­si­tion pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in a video to re­sponse to Ber­nal. “You want peo­ple to start rais­ing rab­bits to solve the problem of hunger in our coun­try?” Rab­bit con­sump­tion is com­mon in Europe and to lesser ex­tent in the United States. The an­i­mals are more ef­fi­cient than pigs and cat­tle in con­vert­ing pro­tein into ed­i­ble meat, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion. But rais­ing rab­bits in sig­nif­i­cant quan­ti­ties in con­tem­po­rary Venezuela would be dif­fi­cult.

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