Rabbit meat pushed as healthy alternative
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - November 9, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  An Architect-entrepreneur is starting an advocacy to promote rabbit meat as meat alternative to the growing health-conscious market.

Daryl Garcia and husband Jose, opened their first BunnyChon outlet to introduce the healthy and clean rabbit meat to Cebu’s dining market.

Located at The Market by Sugbo Mercado food bazaar in Mandaue City, the unique food stall branded as “BunnyChon” sells rabbit meat cooked in traditional Filipino dishes.

“Many do not know that rabbit is one of the healthiest meats available,” said Garcia.

Aside from providing a healthy meat alternative, the promotion of rabbit meat is also helping farmers particularly in her hometown in Calubian, Leyte.

“For farmers to grow them well they only need to invest time in feeding them. There’s no need for huge capital,” she said adding that growing rabbits for meat purposes do not require huge properties or farm lands, “they can even grow rabbits in their backyards.”

The Garcia couple was encouraged to start off the business after participating a seminar by the Cebu Organic Agriculture Cooperative in June 2019 on rabbit farming.

“We were there to learn more about (rabbit) farming but we learned more than that. We were told it can be an alternative meat, a healthier one,” said Garcia.

“We also did our own research,” she added and found out that rabbit is one of the healthiest meats around because it is rich in protein, but low in cholesterol, calories and sodium.

She added that growing it requires minimal investment as rabbits only eat fresh hay, thus, it can be sustained.

Garcia said they have given out rabbits for farmers to breed and they buy the rabbit meat from them to support the BunnyChon business.

One rabbit for instance (depending on the size) can be bought from P400 to P600.  A female rabbit can produce six to 12 rabbits.

Starting off a food stall that serves rabbit meat is one of the ways to raise awareness of the many benefits of rabbit meat, while providing additional livelihood and additional income for farmers.

Since the BunnyChon food stall was opened in September this year, the business is giving a “money back guarantee” option for diners.

Rabbit meat is well known for its high protein content. A three ounce serving of rabbit meat contains 28 grams of protein, more than beef or chicken. It is also a concentrated source of iron. A serving contains more than four milligrams (mg). It also provides a wide range of minerals. The highest levels include 204 mg of phosphorous and 292 mg of potassium. The calories in rabbit meat are low. A serving contains only 147 calories.

At present, BunnyChon serves roasted bunny, sisig, crispy lechon, lumpia, meat balls, siomai and caldereta all made from rabbit meat. She also plans to expand the food option to offer burger, pasta, embutido, among others.

The business however noted one challenge. It is on the sustainability of the rabbit meat supply, aside from making diners try, she noted.

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