The rabbit you pet at the Pet-a-Bunny charity event during the June 10 evening Friday Fest in Nappanee could be one of 50 different breeds of rabbits currently recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. There is much to learn about the different breeds during this event, sponsored by Act Nappanee-Wakarusa. Those who stop by the booth will be able to contribute to two charities that help hungry families locally and worldwide while getting to pet some rabbits.
Rabbits are a diverse species with variations in size, body type, fur color and fur type (satin, wooly, regular and rex). Depending on the breed, weights can run between 1.5 to over 20 pounds when full grown. At 6:15 p.m. June 10, in the pavilion at 201 W. Market St., a resident of Harrison Township near Nappanee, rabbit breeder Ryan McBride of MC Rabbitry, will discuss Breed ID and the use of this animal for “food, fur and fancy.”
“As part of the food chain, rabbits compare favorably to other livestock,” notes McBride. “The meat from a rabbit is highly nutritious. The meat is a rich source of protein and is low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. A trio of rabbits — one buck and 2 does — can produce enough progeny in 18 months to result in the meat equivalent to a full-grown steer.”
Rabbit fur is used in arts and crafts, glove making, coat manufacturing, clothing and as decorative accents. There’s nothing softer and warmer than a nice pair of winter gloves and hats that are lined with rabbit fur.
The “fancy” element of rabbits is illustrated by such programs as those offered by 4-H, where kids learn about rabbit husbandry and gain skills of care and responsibility, as well as showmanship. Sanctioned rabbit shows allow ARBA licensed judges to evaluate rabbits against the Standard of Perfection, which is the standard to which rabbits are bred, and to judge other rabbits and determine which one is Best In Show. There is an active group of breeders who work to advance the species. ARBA Convention is held at various locations across the United States annually, where tens of thousands of rabbits come to compete for the prized Fibber Cup in the Open Show and the Oren Reynolds Cup in the Youth Show.
An active member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association, McBride will offer three short presentations at the June 10 Nappanee Friday Fest event: How to Raise a Show Rabbit at 5:30, Rabbit Showmanship Tips at 6:15, and Breed ID: Food, Fur, and Fancy at 7:00.
Rabbits help feed hungry families worldwide and are one of the cornerstones that charity Heifer International uses to help hungry families in developing countries. In addition to accepting contributions for Heifer.org, the ACT Nappanee-Wakarusa booth will also accept contributions on behalf of THE CENTER, a WaNee district charity that provides a food pantry among other services to families experiencing financial stress. Food insecurity in Elkhart County continues, notes Mark Mikel, executive director of THE CENTER. “At our food pantry, demand has increased by 93% in the past two months as gas and grocery prices have increased.”
ACT Nappanee-Wakarusa is an organization of Independent, Progressive and Democrat voters who work to Advance Community Together. For more details, email [email protected]