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Bunny barbecue? More turn to rabbits for meat

Bunny barbecue? More turn to rabbits for meat

BLACKFOOT, Idaho - As cattle prices rise, some are eyeing rabbits as a cheap alternative for food.

The rabbit barn at the Eastern Idaho State Fair was packed this weekend with more than 400 rabbits, many of which are raised for meat.

"Our economy has been tough for people to ... buy the beef or the type of meat they want," said Lawrence Weeks, who raises rabbits and serves as Assistant Rabbit Superintendent for the State Fair.

"You raise them up until the babies are 4 1/2 to 5 pounds. I kill them at 5 ΒΌ," said Weeks.

Matt Rosenberg of Lewisville raises rabbits with his 9-year-old son, Carson. This weekend, one of their rabbits took home the best in show title.

"A lot of people say it tastes like chicken. It has its own distinct taste," said Rosenberg.

Rosenberg said in recent years the demand for rabbit meat has steadily risen.

"Doomsday preppers, all of the prepper movement is really going big into the rabbits because they're a small animal, you can raise them in the backyard," said Rosenberg.

"A lot of people will raise them in their garage," said Weeks.

Jolyn Cotant, who has raised rabbits for the past five years, said she doesn't eat them.

"We have some that we keep at our house that are pets -- that are strictly pets and they just run around our yard," said Cotant.

But with time, Weeks said rabbit meat will only grow in popularity.

"One rabbit will produce more than one -- more meat in a year faster in a year than a steer will," said Weeks.

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