I’ve never found it easy. Looking at an animal down the barrel of a rifle, their neck at the edge of my knife, or in my hands, helping it calm before the impending death. Depending on the animal there seems to be, at times, a sense of sacrifice. There is something primal that they can connect to, something that I will likely never know, when they seem to accept the circumstance. And then again there is a point where my heart pounding with adrenaline, calms. When suddenly this live animal turns into food. I start thinking about the different dishes I want to make, the cuts to put on salt, what to do with the scraps.
Harvesting rabbits is not an easy task, however it is quite simple. As far as animal harvesting goes, rabbits are one of my favorites. Death is quick, not as violent as some animals, and start to finish can be done with a single tool: a sharp knife. My goal when killing any animal is to bring death quickly and decisively. All in all, harvesting animals on the farm where they have spent their entire life and knowing how they are most calm are two of the best tools. You cannot bring death quickly or decisively to a panicking pig, a skittish rabbit, or a flailing chicken.
Our rabbits have so much to offer. Unlike chickens, which have a period of rigamortis, rabbits can go from the back yard to the oven within an hour. Rabbits really are the key to fresh meat. Our rabbit livers are large and delightfully mild, not to mention their kidneys and hearts that are soft little morsels of offal that do not disappoint. In addition to all these tasty treats, our rabbit hides are oh so snuggly and will soon be made into lovely slippers and gloves.
We recently hosted our rabbit harvesting class where we showed folks our process to slaughter as well as butchery when the rabbit becomes a meat product. We made a tasty rabbit liver pâté, as well as a tarragon-cream braised loin. Join us in the spring for our next rabbit class or this coming Sunday for our turkey harvesting class!