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Rabbit Adobe 0708

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 6 months ago
Rabbit Adobo


By: Lauren Bell


Description and Rationale



In the Philippines the leading cause of death is heart disease; however, health experts believe that this can be prevented by a change in diet and lifestyle. Also, statistics show that many Filipinos suffer from hypertension and diabetes. Again these serious diseases are related to the current diet that is found in the country, particularly in the cities.




How does a high fat diet affect the average Filipino’s health? How does heart disease occur? What is the connection of heart disease and a high fat diet? What are some ways in which we can change the diet to make it healthier and cheaper for less fortunate Filipinos?




What did a original native Filipino diet look like that had not been corrupted by colonization and industrialization? Is there a difference in the longevity of mountain dwelling tribal Filipinos and those of the more “modernized” city dwelling Filipinos? Might there be a change in the mortality rate of the modern Filipino if there was a return to a more native diet and way of life? How could the current popular Filipino dishes be changed to reduce the amount of fat in the diet? What is a better substance for the Filipinos to use instead of fatty pork meat?




The purpose of this project will be to research other possible lean meat sources that could replace the fatty pork that makes up a high percentage of the meat content of the Filipino diet. I will conduct a trial experiment of the acceptability of a new type of lean meat. Then I will use this information to develop a more healthy/practical dinner dish that can also be used as a source of income for the family.




It is hoped that this will enable the average Filipinos to have a longer lasting life and quality of life. They will be able to conserve money on medicine and other medical affairs, but also they may be able to work for a longer period of time which could bring some families out of poverty.




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Common Names and Synonyms


Oryctolagus cuniculus is also called the New Zealand rabbit. In Japan it is called the Japanese white rabbit, whilst in Europe it is just plainly called the European rabbit. It is also known as the Lepus cuniculus as it has a short furry tail, and extended ears and back legs. People may also call it the domestic rabbit.







Kingdom: Animalia


Phylum: Chordata


Class: Mammalia (mammals)


Order: Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares, pikas)


Family: Leporidae (rabbits)


Genus: Oryctolagus (European, domestic, New Zealand rabbit)


Species: O. cuniculus







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Morphology and Physical Description




The New Zealand rabbit has a very well rounded body. It also has a slender but muscular face with round cheeks. The rabbit has two sharp incisors on the top and two on the bottom. These teeth grow continuously throughout the rabbit’s lifespan. The New Zealand rabbits have two “peg” teeth that are positioned behind the incisors on the bottom. This is one of the things that distinguishes them from rodents because the rabbits only have two teeth on the top and bottom. The feet of the rabbit have two different sizes: short feet at the front and long feet at the back. This is because they use them to help them move around. To move they use the power from their hind legs in a hopping movement, enabling them to move fast. The rabbit has thick fur padding on the hind feet to dampen the shock of rapid hopping. The toes are web shaped for the sake of the hopping movement, to keep them from spreading apart.   




The New Zealand rabbits have long ears that stick straight up into the air and, unlike their body, the ears have only a little bit of hair on them and so you can see straight though, seeing the pink skin. The most noticeable characteristic about the New Zealand rabbit is its beaming eyes. They have a scale of pale pink to a very bright ruby red color. The rabbit skeleton is light and only makes up 7-8% of the body weight. Bucks, which is the name given to the male New Zealand rabbit, can weigh from eight to ten pounds and the female can weigh anywhere from nine to twelve pounds.Females can also beclassified by having a dewlap or not. This is a flab of fur below the chin that is pulled for nesting during pregnancy.When a rabbit is slaughtered and dressed it turns out to be 50% of its live weight. 








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Getting Food


The New Zealand rabbit is known as a herbivore because of the kinds of food it eats such as different types of grasses, tress, buds, bark and roots. As for the gardeners, they know them to eat lettuce, cabbage, root vegetables and different types of grains and pellets. Even though the diet of the New Zealand rabbit is relatively low in nutritional value, it is one of a few rabbit species that reingests its faeces. Food that is stored in the caecum in the large intestine is passed out of the body and then re’eaten. The rabbits depend on this process to get some essential nutrients that are only released after bacteria have worked on the stomach contents. If breading rabbits, then this is the amount of pellets in grams that should be given each day to the doe’s: normal doe’s 100gms, Pregenant doe’s 160gms, breastfeeding doe’s 350gms.





Most rabbits produce lots of babies(kittens) each year. The doe is taken to the buck’s cage for mating as the doe’s are very territorial. The female rabbit is fertile all year round. The gestation period lasts about 28 to 31 days. Rabbit’s can produce up to seven young about four or five times a year.




In addition, females exhibit induced ovulation, their ovaries releasing eggs in response to copulation rather than according to a regular cycle. They can also undergo postpartum estrus, conceiving immediately after a litter has been born.”






A little kitten is born blind, naked and helpless. Rabbit mothers are mostly inattentive towards their young and usually never really there. They only feed them once a day for only a few minutes. This is not unusual for rabbits as their milk is one the most nutritious of the entire mammal kingdom. Therefore, the young can grow very quickly and within about a month the kittens are already weaned. The male rabbits (bucks) do not help in caring for the young at all.





Environmental Factors



The habitat in which a O. Cuniculus rabbit likes to live is on dry areas near sea level, that has soft sandy soil. They can then make burrows easily. They also may live in busy fields because of the cover that it provides and even in forests. Cultivated land was also a place in which they could be found. Modern plowing techniques destroy the rabbit burrows. Especially in Europe the O. Cuniculus has had to find a way to share the land with the humans by living in parks and gardens and even cemeteries. Because of human activities, especially when it comes to the spread of agriculture, this has really helped the rabbit species to colonize new areas.




Rabbits have been introduced into the wild by humans and this has caused problems for the agriculture because of their appetites and the rate in which they breed. Because of this, hunters have used shooting, fences and snaring. Diseases which were most effective were the diseases called Myxomatosis and Calicivirus. In Australia, rabbits are considered to be pests. Land owners are told to control the rabbits that are on their land. If rabbits are not controlled, they completely eat out parcels of land, which causes soil erosion.




When farming rabbits, these are the requirements that should be put into play: optimum temperature is from 10-25 ℃, ventilation is also required so that the temperature can be controlled and remove ammonia. Housing of rabbits is very important and heat stress will cause major rabbit mortalities and reproduction failure. The cage for the rabbit should be 45 cm high and quite long , the thickness of the wire mesh should not be less than 2.5 mm wide. There must be some kind of wood placed in the cage so that the rabbit has a place to get off the wire as the wire can bruise their paws and cause much damage. There can be a tray down under the cage that can catch the faeces so they can be used for plant fertilizer. 




Diseases in rabbits are very common and if a rabbit is infected and dies, then it should be removed quickly from the cage as you don’t want the disease to spread any further. Some of the diseases that rabbits are susceptible to are as follows: Pasteurella, Coccidia, Myxoma and Calcivirus. 





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Origin and Distribution


O. Cuniculus species during the last Ice Age were confined to the Iberian Peninsula and small areas of France and North West Africa. Nowadays, because of human actions and adaptability of this species, the New Zealand rabbit lives on every continent except Antarctica. 



Importance to People



The New Zealand white rabbit is bred for its excellent fur and meat. New Zealand rabbit is not only a domestic pet. The rabbits that are fryers are slaughtered at 2 months and the others that are sold a little later are called roasters. Rabbits that have the thickest fur are skinned and used to make fur coats and trimmings. Those rabbits that have less thicker fur are skinned and used to make felt hats and glove linings. In the United States, the New Zealand rabbit is the number one rabbit meat eaten.  Because rabbit meat is popular in other countries this could also mean that it could be introduced into the Philippines and then supply poorer Filipinos with a livelihood project.




New Zealand white rabbits are also used in laboratory testing; over one million have been used. The scientists use them because they react similarly to medications and diseases as humans do. These rabbits are used in pharmaceutical laboratories and also in cancer research. New Zealand white rabbits have been used to help finding drugs for diabetes, diphtheria, tuberculosis, cancer and heart disease. Also, skin creams and cosmetics and special diets have been used and tested on these rabbits.     






Survivability and Endangered Status



The survivability rate of the New Zealand rabbit is very high as it adapts very easily to many environments. Although the New Zealand rabbit has lots of natural predators, such as snakes and wild dogs, because of its high reproduction rate due to the female being fertile all year round and producing lots of kittens, there is not much chance of the rabbit going extinct. The New Zealand rabbit has been introduced into the Philippines solely as a pet, but from what has been found out this rabbit can be used for meat and it may just take some physiological help to have Filipinos eating the rabbit as a source of meat.


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Potential Solutions


What possible changes can be made in the Filipino diet to make it  healthier but practical for poorer Filipinos? Through the findings so far, it has been found that by adding rabbit meat into the their diet . Filipinos can enjoy a leaner meat that can be reproduced very easily. This may also provide a livelihood project for the poor community by allowing them to reproduce multiple times a year which will not only increase their intake of meat but also allow them to sell some of  the rabbits to pet shops. Education could also play an important role by encouraging Filipinos to eat less fat in their diet and exercise more therefore reducing  the rate of heart disease in this country.



Possibility 1   Education on Reduction of Fat Intake



In today’s world there are many people now who are concerned about their weight and who are trying to find simple ways in which they can cut down on how much fat they eat. Here is a simple idea of making a movie that shows how to make pork adobo with not as much fat. In this video all that would have to be done is the simple step of showing how to cut off all the fat on the out side of the pork and then cooking it.  This short clip can be shown on the TV’s at Mercury Drug Store as people are walking in and out or waiting to be served.






1.        Filipinos will start taking notice and realizing that what they saw on TV maybe really does work and could help them with their fat issue or heart disease.


2.        This may also encourage them to adapt this method of trimming fat in other parts of their diet.






1.      Not everyone has the opportunity to see the video, because it is only those who go into Mercury Drug that will see it.


2.      Some Filipinos think that the fat is what gives the meat flavor, and so they won’t eat it without the fat because it wont have flavor that way.






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Possibility 2   Biking into Health



Recently I have noticed the vast amounts of people biking, this is due to the raise in the price of petrol. If people started to learn from others and start riding bikes home rather than just sit in a car or ride a jeepney or bus,they could increase their fitness and hence reduce their risk of heart disease. A way this may be more appealing is by having the government paint a line a metre or two off of the side walk for bikers then the danger factor will be reduced. 




1.      More Filipinos will lose weight faster and hence reduce the risk of heart disease.


2.      It is a lot cheaper for the family compared to those who are still driving and paying for fuel or pamasahe.


3.      This will reduce the amount of gas and fumes that are put into the air, which would reduce the pollution.






1.      Filipinos may argue back and say that there is too much pollution to bike and they don’t want to get sick.


2.      Also people may be afraid that their bikes might get stolen at their work and then they would still have to take public home.






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Possibility 3   Use of Rabbit Meat to replace Pork



Rabbit meat is a very healthy, nutritional meat that will really benefit the lives of the poorer communities in the Philippines. This meat can also be used as a livelihood project that will enable Filipinos to not only feed their tummies but also sell them to pet stores and make money from it. The meat of a rabbit is just like that of a chicken and is very lean so it is good as a healthy meat. Rabbits are a good source of meat and should be introduced into the Filipino diet. So by replacing the pork to rabbit in dishes such as adobo we can change the amount of fat intake of the Filipino.





Interview with Dr. Nelsen




1) Why did you choose to bread Rabbits?


            a. For the poorer community, who had limited space


·         Produce a lot of meat


·         Don’t make noise


·         Waste products don’t smell and can be used as fertilizer


·         Size is big (4-5 pounds)


·         Productivity- about 4-5 litters a year and 5 babies per litter.


      b. Tribal people


    • They eat anything




2) Is rabbit meat healthy?


            a. Yes, it is very low in fat




3) How have Filipinos responded to the rabbit meat?


            a. Shocked at the notion of eating rabbit meat.


            b. Don’t want to kill and eat a rabbit.




4) What is the process for growing rabbits?


            -Food? Area? Money?


            a. Good and bad


                        -have to be fed and given fresh water every morning and night.


                        - the person who does the job of looking after the rabbits has to be more responsible than the people who look after chickens as                      they are in danger of being  eaten by dogs.




5) Are rabbits marketable?


            a. Yes, pet shop solution


                        - the pet stores buy them at 3 weeks of age for 100 pesos each


            b. No, people will not eat them because they just are not used to it




6) What health risks are there with a fatty diet in the Philippines?


            a. Stroke:- high blood pressure, smoking.





Action Step:




            On the 26th of April, a Saturday night, I made chicken adobo and rabbit adobo. I separated them into two different containers and took them to church the next day. I asked 5 average Filipinos to try two adobo dishes without telling them what kind of adobo they were. First, I gave them the chicken adobo and rice and then after they were all done with that I gave them the rabbit adobo. Once they were finished the rabbit adobo, I asked them what they thought it was, no one answered with rabbit. So I told them what it was and surprisingly none of them had a negative attitude towards it. Many of them said that even if I had told them it was rabbit they would have eaten it. Here are some pictures of the process and following is the survey questions and answers.






Survey and Responses




1. Did you like the meat?


            a. Everyone answered yes, and 2 out of the 5 people liked it better than the chicken.


2. Did the 2nd adobo taste different to the first adobo? If so how?


            a. 2 people answered no


                3 people answered yes, because it was less salty, softer than the 1st and taste’s better


3. What kind of meat do you think it is?


            a. 3 people answered Chicken, 1 person thought it was Pigeon or Quail and the last person thought it was duck or turkey.


4. Was the second adobo chewy?


            a. 1 answered No, and the other 4 answered yes.


5. What was the texture of the meat like?


            a. Juicy/like chicken/like goat meat


6. Would you recommend this adobo dish to your family and friends?


            a.  All answered ‘YES’








1.      By just having a pair of rabbits you will be able to reproduce a lot of meat and also you can sell them to the pet stores who will buy then for 100 pesos.


2.      They are a healthy type of meat that you don’t have to cut fat off of.


3.      Rabbits just need to be given food and water everyday and then they will be fine.


4.      They can be kept in a cage and their feces can be used as fertilizer.






1.      Filipinos think it is very strange to eat rabbit meat, and they don’t want to because it seems unclean.


2.      There is not as much meat on rabbits as there are on chickens, even though it looks the same chickens actually have more. For poorer people, when you are trying to feed a big family you have to think about how much food you can actually get from one rabbit.








Possible Future Directions:




When talking to some of the Filipinos that helped me with my experiment, there was one who does not have that much money and liked the taste of the rabbit. She said that she would be interested in getting involved with the rabbit growing. I can see many possible opportunities for this experiment to blossom into many different livelihood projects.






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Nelsen, Dr. Person Interview. 26 April 2008.




“Meat Rabbit Farming.” CSIRO LIVESTOCK INDUSTRIES.2002. 3 May 2008 <http://www.csiro.au/proprietaryDocuments/CLIrabbitInfoPack.pdf>






New Zealand Rabbit.” Animal World. 2008. 4 April 2008








New Zealand white rabbit.” Wikipedia. 2008. 10 April 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_white_rabbit>




Oryctolagus cuniculus, European rabbi.” Animal Diversity Web. 2008. 10 April 2008






Philippines: Mortality Country Profile.” Mortality Country Fact Sheet. 2006. 4 April 2008 < http://www.who.int/whosis/mort/profiles/mort_wpro_phl_philippines.pdf>








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