World Rabbit Science 2024-06-28T10:09:09+02:00 Chelo Lario Open Journal Systems <p style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; margin: 0cm 0cm 6.0pt 0cm;">World Rabbit Science is the official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA). One of the main objectives of the WRSA is to encourage communication and collaboration among individuals and organisations associated with rabbit production and rabbit science in general.</p> Effects of supplementing pistachio skins in the diet on growth performance and the fatty acid profile of Biceps femoris and Longissimus dorsi muscles in rabbits 2024-01-12T17:14:06+01:00 George Attard Luigi Liotta Vincenzo Lopreiato Vincenzo Chiofalo Ambra Rita Di Rosa <p>Pistachios, a delicacy food product produced mostly in Sicily, generate significant amounts of skins during processing. This by-product has been incorporated in growing/finishing rabbit diet formulations. Hence, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a 6% pistachio skin inclusion in rabbit grower/finisher diets on the meat characteristics. One hundred and fifty healthy Martini rabbits (male and female) were weaned at 30 d of age and body weight (IBW) of 0.82±0.05 kg. The animals were assigned to one of the two treatment groups to be homogeneous for weight and sex. Diets were as follows: (1) a treatment diet (TRMT) with a 6% incorporation of pistachio skin meal, and (2) a control diet (CTRL) without the integration of pistachio skin meal. During the experimental period (from 30 to 63 d of age), rabbits were weighed individually on day 30, day 42 and day 63 of the trial. Weight gain, daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio were calculated. The loin and hind leg were carefully deboned and the <em>Biceps femoris</em> (BF) and <em>Longissimus lumborum</em> (LL) muscles were minced and homogenised. The treatment group fed a diet with 6% pistachio skins showed no adverse effects on the growth performance or carcass characteristics and did not trigger any physiological or clinical changes or show deleterious effects on the rabbits. Overall, while the total fat quantity did not register as significant in any of the muscles from either diet, significance was recorded with regard to the quality of the fatty acids profile between the two diets and between both muscles. The analysis of the BF and LL muscles of the TRMT group showed a significant increase in monounsaturated fatty acids (3.2, and 3.0%, <em>P</em>=0.008 and 0.041, respectively) and in the polyunsaturated fatty acids groups (4.8 and 3.8%, <em>P</em>=0.032 and 0.023, respectively), and a decrease in the saturated fatty acids group (–7.2 and –6.1%, <em>P</em>=0.014 and 0.020, respectively) compared with the CTRL group. In particular, both linoleic and α linolenic fatty acids registered a significant increase in the BF muscle, while only the linoleic acid registered a significant increase in the LL muscle of TRMT compared with the CTRL group (<em>P</em>&lt;0.05). Although rabbit meat offers excellent nutritional and dietetic properties in itself, this study confirms that it can be further enhanced to be considered as functional through diet manipulations.</p> 2024-06-28T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 George Attard, Luigi Liotta, Vincenzo Lopreiato, Vincenzo Chiofalo, Ambra Rita Di Rosa Short communication: rabbit meat consumption trends in selected Maltese rural areas 2024-03-04T14:15:04+01:00 Francesco Luca Alexander Noel Buttigieg George Attard <p>This study aimed to analyse trends in rabbit meat consumption amongst consumers in selected Maltese rural communities. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that attempts to assess and report on Maltese consumer perceptions and behaviours related to rabbit meat. Data was collected using a survey conducted through random telephone calls. Results indicate that only 19 of the 250 interviewees did not consume rabbit meat. This meat source is perceived as being lean and low in cholesterol, healthier and tastier than other meats, and price does not seem to be an issue. However, this meat is consumed in moderation. Nonetheless, it is an esteemed food item that is generally the main dish on special occasions (<em>fenkata</em>), including the Sunday meal. Thighs are the most preferred part of the carcass and frying/braising is the most frequent method of cooking. An element of mistrust in the supply chain exists, so much so that consumers prefer to source from family and friends that rear rabbits mainly for their own consumption. While rabbit meat consumption is still popular among Maltese consumers, the retail sector marketing rabbit meat needs to be aware of the fact that there is a strong consumer tendency towards lack of trust in the supply chain.</p> 2024-06-28T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Francesco Luca Alexander, Noel Buttigieg, George Attard Selection of artificial warrens following the restocking of an endangered keystone prey 2024-01-18T23:36:17+01:00 Cláudia Encarnação Helena Sabino-Marques Paula Pinheiro Sara Santos Paulo Célio Alves António Mira <p>The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is an endangered species native to the Iberian Peninsula, playing a vital ecological role in Mediterranean ecosystems as prey for several threatened predators. Conservation efforts have been implemented to halt its decline, with a particular focus on the Iberian rabbit subspecies (Oryctolagus cuniculus algirus). Many conservation programmes involve restocking and habitat management, including the construction of artificial warrens to provide essential refuge sites. In this study, we examined the use of four types of artificial warrens (logs, Mayoral®, pallets and tubes) by a restocked Iberian rabbit population within a fenced park in southern Portugal. We investigated the factors influencing warren use, basing our analysis on faecal pellet counts at the entrances of artificial warrens. We analysed spatial and temporal patterns in warren use using a generalised additive mixed model. Additionally, we determined the efficiency of each type of artificial warren by computing the ratio between the costs of building the warren and the level of warren use by the rabbits. Our results indicate that Mayoral, tube and log warrens are significantly less used compared to pallet warrens (Logs: β=–0.171±0.041; Mayoral: β=–0.149±0.058; Tube: β=–0.240±0.071). Moreover, pallet warrens were found to be more cost-effective compared to other types analysed. Furthermore, rabbits preferred artificial warrens surrounded by a higher proportion of shrubs (β=0.132±0.037). Artificial warren use exhibited seasonal variation, declining gradually during the winter and early spring, and recovering in late spring, coinciding with the expected breeding peak. Based on our findings, we recommend the implementation of pallet warrens in rabbit restocking programmes to provide immediate shelter and breeding sites for the released rabbits. Furthermore, artificial warrens should be strategically located near shrub patches to facilitate safe access to vital resources such as food and water.</p> 2024-06-28T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Cláudia Encarnação, Helena Sabino-Marques, Paula Pinheiro, Sara Santos, Paulo Célio Alves, António Mira Consumer perception of supplementing rabbit diets with seaweed to reduce antibiotic use in rabbit production in Spain 2024-03-25T18:06:12+01:00 Sabela Al-Soufi Carlota Vivero-Saavedra Ana María Pernas Marta Miranda Marta López-Alonso <p>Rabbit meat consumption has gradually decreased in Spain and rabbit production systems face some challenges related to high mortalities caused by gastrointestinal diseases, which are difficult to control owing to limitations on antibiotic use. The inclusion of seaweeds in the rabbit diet as prebiotics can potentially reduce the need to use antibiotics, as already observed in other types of livestock. The aim of this survey was to study the rabbit meat and seaweed consumption habits of the population of a municipality in Galicia (NW Spain) and the willingness of the population to choose seaweed-fed rabbit meat over other rabbit meat, to determine whether this new product would be accepted by consumers. Rabbit meat consumption, despite being minoritarian, is more frequent in the surveyed population compared to other regions in Spain, and great importance is attached to home-produced rabbit meat. Most respondents have a positive image of rabbit meat and highlighted its nutritional value. The acceptability of seaweed-fed rabbit meat was high, as two thirds of the respondents stated that they would choose this product over other types of rabbit meat. Most respondents agreed about the environmental benefits of this feeding strategy, highlighting the reduction in antibiotic use and the higher quality of the product as benefits. Nevertheless, this strategy should be properly communicated, to guarantee its success in attracting environmentally concerned consumers.</p> 2024-06-28T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Sabela Al-Soufi, Carlota Vivero-Saavedra, Ana María Pernas, Marta Miranda, Marta López-Alonso Pastured rabbit systems and organic certification: European union regulations and technical and economic performance in France 2024-05-12T18:52:05+02:00 Thierry Gidenne Laurence Fortun-Lamothe Yayu Huang Davi Savietto <p>In the European Union (EU), organic rabbit farming (ORF) remains uncommon (≈50 farms), found mainly in France, and to a much lesser extent in Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Italy. As rabbits are herbivorous, ORF is based mainly on grazing. This review summarises information on the functioning and performance of rabbit farming systems in France, with organic certification and/or access to pasture. Recent studies have quantified the grass intake (30 to 80 g dry matter/d/rabbit) and growth rate of rabbits on pasture (15 to 30 g/d). ORF has an extensive production cycle with a mean of 2.7 parturitions per doe and per year. The main concerns for the farmers developing ORF include available land and managing health and feeding. However, in France, a herd with 40 does on 4 ha (of pastures and complementary crops), can provide a halftime minimum salary. Since January 2022, a new regulation on ORF is applied for all EU member countries that recommends a maximum use of pasture but nevertheless allows farmers to keep a herd with 40 does on only 200 m² of pasture. It also does not require rotating rabbits on the pasture between batches of animals, wich increases the risk of parasitism. A smartphone application (GAELA) was recently developed to assist with daily management of rabbit farming, and to build a database of technical benchmarks to support the development of organic and pastured rabbit farming in France.</p> 2024-06-28T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Thierry Gidenne, Laurence Fortun-Lamothe, Yayu Huang, Davi Savietto