Dr Yemi Popoola, a livestock scientist at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has urged Nigerians to embrace production and consumption of rabbit because of its numerous benefits.
Popoola gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He said other livestock species such as cow, goat and sheep take longer time to mature, cost more to feed and slower to reproduce, unlike rabbits.
Popoola said developing countries like Nigeria that have a shortage of animal protein could benefit by switching to rabbit meat as a food source.
“In many countries, this product costs roughly the same as chicken, which means that the price is not a barrier.
“Rabbit meat is more than just a delicacy, the meat is white meat, which means it is healthier and it nourishes the body with nutritional values like proteins, iron and phosphorus.
“Its low-calorie content almost equates it to a balanced meal that meets the optimal health goals.
“As compared to beef and pork, rabbit meat is relatively low on saturated fat as consuming high amounts of saturated fat subjects one to greater risks of coronary heart diseases due to its high cholesterol content,” he said.
According to him, rabbit meat adequately gives the body a required protein that is an important building block for essential muscle strength.
With such strong muscles, he said, the body generates more energy to build and maintain other tissue types.
Among other benefits derived from rabbit meat, he said, was brain development, as part of the reasons it is recommended for the young and old.
He recommends rabbit for pregnant women, nursing mothers, youths, the elderly and even sports enthusiasts.