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f JJS\T* d for their Prodigious fecundity, rabbits, it might be thought, could well be used to fill mlnf. a ? a lil avera Se New Zealand To thJr a ,"f d - the me *t rationing. niattJr ti ay^a . n lt a PPears a simple start a rabbit farm and, in satisfy the demand for w1 a h£L thlS ty P e a hundredfold. tai «i 2& r , emo . v al of a few outstandmatter would be a simple tJ%&?& 7 ea , t -, is extremely difficult At fu l L n A uckland these days. Few ot the hotels and restaurants have it ?£J heir M. ls of fare - Most of the leading delicatessens receive periodical supplies of fresh rabbits which are sold almost as quickly as they come in. The main thing about rabpits as a food is that they must be fresh and free from disease. Before the war the Auckland meat companies used to handle this line, but it was difficult to organise regular supplies of fresh rabbits. There were heavy losses when they were kept in cold storage and the companies could not depend on a steady intake; in short, rabbits were unprofitable to handle. They went out of the rabbit business and to-dav all the rabbits reaching the Auckland market are secured through two fish merchants.

_ Evidently there was more money m the rabbit trade—from the food production angle—before the introduction of price control over a year ago. The price order fixed prices over different sections of the trade and provided a higher price for export than for the domestic market. If the object was to divert supplies to the export trade it has proved successful because a large proportion of South Island , killing now goes to Britain. Knowing something of Britain's food straits at the moment most New Zealanders will not complain about this.

King Country Trapping One local fishery firm was able to supply the demand here before the price order became effective; it can nro longer do so. It states that the cost of bringing up rabbits from the South Island is such that it cannot be recovered in the local fixed price.' On the other hand, rabbits which have been any time in cold storage are less attractive sellers than fresh rabbits and it is fresh rabbits which are in most demand to-day. Most of the trapping for the Auckland trade is done around Taumaranui and other parts of the King Country. A few trappers are reported active in the Pukekohe district, and some operate in the Far North.

Manpower restrictions have operated detrimentally to some extent among the trappers, but even early in the war, when the restrictions were much less stringent, there was a tendency for trappers to seek more lucrative jobs in the cities. Another factor limiting the rabbit population in closely-settled areas in North Auckland, the Waikato and Rotorua' districts has been systematic extermination undertaken by the various rabbit boards. Then again theer is a fairly high incidence of disease among rabbits and any dealer will verify the fact that provision has to be made for rejected carcases. "We have never known such a keen demand for rabbits as exists at present," commented one merchant. "Despite difficulties we are handling more than ever before, but for every 100 sold we could sell at least 1000." His stocks, he added, were packed in ice in the King Country, railed to Auckland and' distributed; next day. The retail price of rabbits in Auckland is fixed at Bid a lb and is too high, in the opinion of a number of cafe and restaurant managers, to make inclusion of the dish on the menu economical, especially as they are well served with supplies of poultry.

Many people never acquite a taste for rabbit and .would not touch it even if no cattle meat were, available. But it is certain that a good deal more rabbit would be eaten if it could be obtained.

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Bibliographic details

RABBIT MEAT, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

Word Count

RABBIT MEAT Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

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