The current situation in rabbit production in Hungary
At present slaughter rabbit production in Hungary is 6 651 tonnes - less than half of that achieved in the peak years of 1982 and 1991. In 1998 live rabbit production amounted to a total of 13 903 tonnes. This production is exported in its entirety; there is practically no rabbit meat on the domestic market. Previously approx. 90% of rabbits slaughtered were sold to ltaly. At present ltaly accounts for 65-70% of Hungarian rabbit exports and Switzerland for 20-25%. The export of live rabbits practically ceased in 1986. In 1998 export shipments comprised 68% whole carcasses and 32% meat products. The majority of Hungarian rabbit abattoirs are now under foreign ownership or involve foreign partners. The abattoirs work on a one-shift system, at 50% of their shift capacity. Previously 95-98% of rabbits for slaughter were produced on small farms with 5-15 does. Now two abattoirs operate large-scale farms with 10,000 does, and there are approximately 60-70 medium-sized farms with between 100 and 3,000 does; 26% of meat rabbit purchases now originate from commercial production farms.
Angora rabbit production reached its peak in 1988. With an annual output of 190 tonnes of Angora wool, Hungary was then the largest exporter in Europe. The dramatic drop in wool prices has forced production down to a sales level of approximately one tonne per year.
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