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4-H'rs take part in Rabbit Barbecue Contest

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eleven-year-old Julie Smith readies her ingredients for the 2010 Clay County 4-H Rabbit Barbecue Contest Monday. Julie is the daughter of Dilia and Eric Smith, Brazil. [Order this photo]
The sweet smell of barbecue filled the air at the Clay County 4-H Fairgrounds Monday afternoon.

Ten 4-H'rs manned their grills in anticipation of the 2010 Rabbit Barbecue Contest.

Eleven-year-old Julie Smith was competing in the event for the first time.

"I'm a little nervous," Julie said as she prepared her ingredients.

Julie's mother, Dilia Smith, is originally from Columbia, South America. The family recently spent time in her native country and Julie was inspired to try the contest.

"She's part of the rabbit group and wants to do a little bit of everything," Dilia said. "And she loves to cook."

Dilia said Julie practiced her Columbian-style recipe (on chicken) recently and had her father serve as taste-tester.

"He loved it," Dilia said.

Clay County Rabbit Club Director Greg Burns said the 10 competitors in this year's contest is more than last year.

"We're trying to promote more than just showing rabbits," Burns said.

In only his second year as director of the club, Burns said the competitors have to cook the rabbit and are allowed to also serve one side dish. All of the food has to fit on one platter, which is tested by three judges.

"It can be any kind of recipe," Burns said. "And they have two hours to cook the rabbit."

Burns added barbecue sauce is not a mandated ingredient.

The competitors are judged from five criteria, including equipment (five points), starting a fire (five points), controlling fire (five points), safety (six points), timing (14 points), doneness (25 points), appearance of finished product (25 points) and taste of finished products (25 points).

A total of 100 points are possible to score in the contest. Competitors are deducted two total points for every five minutes gone past the end time.

Judge Jenna Smith said the Rabbit Barbecue Contest was a first for her.

"I have never judged a food competition," she said. "But I think it's unique. It seems like the kids have a lot of fun."

Smith added she had never eaten rabbit before, but had heard it tasted like chicken.

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NO!! Don't eat the Easter bunny!

-- Posted by millertime on Mon, Jul 19, 2010, at 2:34 PM

Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity....nooooooooooo!

-- Posted by LastSanePerson on Tue, Jul 20, 2010, at 9:48 AM

So let me get this straight. The kids raise these bunnies, then they slaughter and cook them? And that doesn't bother them? As a kid or even now as an adult, I could never have known an animal and then turned around and killed and eaten it. I would think that would be really upsetting to a child. I'll bet those bunnies were a lot prettier and happier while they were living and breatheing, then being killed and tossed on a grill. The again, they couldn't have been loved or they wouldn't have ended up on someone's plate. Sad, sad, sad..........my kids would have been horrified.

-- Posted by sshalimar16 on Tue, Jul 20, 2010, at 10:49 PM

This story really makes me sick. How can anyone love a rabbits and take care of it and grow it into a beautiful animal and then barbeque it. How can you turn your feelings off like that. I love rabbits and have rescued 47 of them. I really don't like 4 H. It takes children and makes insensitive people out of them. How can anyone eat a rabbit. That is like eating a dog or a cat. Learning how to cook rabbits does not make you a good shower of rabbits. It is totally disgusting.

-- Posted by H.T. on Tue, Jul 20, 2010, at 11:27 PM

The kids are provided a dressed rabbit to cook, same as going to the store and buying a chicken. Unless you are a strict vegan this is simply a part of life. I know we all like to think our food comes from a grocery store all wrapped up in plastic but that isn't the truth.

The 4-H program is an excellent program for kids to get involved in. They are taught to care for their animals. I suggest you all get to know your facts before you speak. Maybe you could go to the fair and ask one of the kids and see for yourself.

-- Posted by localgal on Tue, Jul 20, 2010, at 11:55 PM

Get to know our facts before we speak? I am not stupid & I know quite well where my food comes from thankyou and I certainly dont eat my pets. What is with you people? Teaching kids how to cook & eat rabbits? Shouldnt you be teaching animal compassion? Teaching them to learn about animals and how important they are to us instead of eating them? How about showing our cats & dogs then we will bbq them. Trying to promote more than just showing rabbits. I really thought showing rabbits was cruel but you guys take it one step further dont you. No rabbit should be bred, shown or eaten. They are gentle creatures who make lovely pets and I just dont understand why you want them on your plates. Not enough other meat around for you? I mean, we eat everything now as it is. Leave the bunnies alone to be bunnies. Humans, so selfish & heartless...

-- Posted by BunnyLuv39 on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 12:45 AM

Do you rabbit murdering, rabbit eating people not see anything WRONG with what you are doing? You are breeding these magical, loving little animals, then killing and eating them, and teaching your off-spring to do the same. If this practise sounds fine to you, then you are seriously mentally and morally compromised. I hate to think what your kids will turn out like, the same as their parents no doubt. What a selfish mob you are!

-- Posted by Colleen Fox on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 5:41 AM

BunnyLuv39 and Colleen Fox: do you eat any kind of meat? You can make a pet out of anything, there simply is no difference. No one animal is more "magical" that the other; I am sure that many people feel the same way about cows or goats or chickens as you feel about rabbits. In fact, ask a Hindu if he thinks that eating a cow is cool. What about squirrel, or goose, or turtle? People right here in Indiana eat those.

The kind of meat we eat really does come down to the culture we were born in - dogs and horses and guinea pigs are food-worthy in some parts of the world. Does that mean it's wrong? People eat what they have available to them; in some places, the only protein people can get is from bugs. Here in the land of plenty, we have lots of choices - and it's too easy for us spoiled Americans to get judgmental when someone makes a different choice than we would make. I bet that if you got hungry enough, you would eat whatever meat you could catch. You simply do not know what hunger is.

I can assure you that many of the rabbits are not used for meat. But you simply are a hypocrite for thinking badly of those that eat rabbit if your sink your teeth into a cow or chicken. So if you are a vegetarian, you have the right to follow your conscience and I respect that. If you are not, you have not a leg to stand on - and I suggest you stop bashing people that in the end will process the meat that you choose to eat.

-- Posted by localgal on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 10:33 AM

Localgal i dont eat meat, i dont wear fur & i dont use products tested on animals or with their ingredients, so i am not a hypocrite. Have you seen the way the dogs & cats are slaughtered in china? Or having fur ripped from their bodies while they are alive, then left to die in agony? have you been to the slaughter houses or the factory farms? probably not. How about the hunters that kill animals just for fun or for a trophy? I stand by what i say. We are eating & killing everything.They consume so much meat in the us & uk & other countries & that is why they are all so fat & unhealthy, dying of cancer & heart disease. Serves them right. The size of the meat cuts are revolting. Animals abuse is at an all time high & humans think they have the right to treat them however they please. I thankgod I was raised to love, not eat them. There will be no animals left soon so what then, eat each other?

-- Posted by BunnyLuv39 on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 5:25 PM


Like I said above, I respect your right to be a vegetarian. I also will not argue that there is abuse in the meat industry that can be improved. Ironically, people who get their meat from local farmers are not supporting the "factory farm" industry - and the local farm families are the ones who participate in 4-H.

Outside of animals that are protected and just used for the fur industry, we are not going to run out of animals - they reproduce, especially those used for meat. We would have a serious deer overpopulation problem without hunting.

I have to keep to the subject of eating animals for clarity sake. Everything has to be kept in balance, overdoing it on anything is unhealthy. You are putting animals before people and almost wishing them harm if they eat meat ("dying of cancer & heart disease, serves them right"), that is simply wrong. Animals eat animals, after all. We all need protein, and although you can live without meat it also is part of a balanced diet.

Like I said before I respect your beliefs, but making generalizations about people who eat meat (and about the 4-H program) is simply overkill.

-- Posted by localgal on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 6:48 PM

I wasnt wishing people harm for eating meat. I meant the people who overdo it. I have seen some serving sizes for 1 person and its enough to feed an entire family. To me, that is ridiculous and when they do develop an illness through poor diet they regret it. I would not wish a disease on anybody, but if you keep stuffing your face with all this meat & it happens then yes, serves you right. Bit like smoking I think. You know the risk but you just keep doing it.Isnt it funny how you say serious deer overpopulation or any animal overpopulation for that matter. We have a human overpopulation and some cities are choked, you cant move in them. Maybe we should kill them off as well? Same thing isnt it? Our country here is getting so full of immigrants that all our land is being taken to build infrastructures etc to fit them in. Where do the animals go? I know, we will eat them all to make way for more selfish humans. Of course animals eat animals. That is nature. The cruelness that humans inflict on animals is not nature.

-- Posted by BunnyLuv39 on Thu, Jul 22, 2010, at 5:14 AM

What a bunch of cry babys, go eat some meat and shut the hell up ! I have a place for all animals right next to my mashed potatos

-- Posted by Thorn44 on Sat, Jul 24, 2010, at 12:38 AM

We have a place for rednecks like you to. Straight down the toilet bowl...

-- Posted by BunnyLuv39 on Sun, Jul 25, 2010, at 1:52 AM

Will 4-H sponsor a puppy barbecue next? There's no ethical difference between that and a bunny barbecue. Both require that compassion, empathy, and respect for sentient beings be thrown out the window so that greed and violence can rule the day.

Rabbits are amazing animals - they have an insatiable curiosity, they form lifelong friendships, and their joy - when they're given a chance - is infectious. How horrible not to respect any of that, and to kill these beautiful creatures for some transient pleasure that can easily be fulfilled through peaceful means.

Our companion rabbit who has lived with for eight years is a beloved part of our family, and reading this story made us sick. Imagine having a beloved Labrador Retreiver and reading a newspaper article in which 4-H girls excitedly slather barbecue sauce on cooked puppy tails and legs.

We can stop this cruelty. None of us needs to eat meat. That debate is long over. Sparing lives and showing kindness is far more rewarding than destroying them, and it's the right thing to do, and the right thing to teach. We're supposed to follow the golden rule, be humble, and have mercy. 4-H can start by respecting the lives of those who most depend on our mercy.

In the meantime, I'm compelled to speak for and defend the victims of callous disregard.

-- Posted by garyloewenthal on Sat, Aug 7, 2010, at 1:04 AM

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