Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pandora the Heartless

I have one small glitch in my normally compassionate make up. I'm patient with kids and old people, I fawn over cats and dogs and horses and most animals, I come to the aid of lost travellers and people who've fallen down in the street (as long as they don't smell too bad). I donate to charity. I'm a co-freemason. I organise a book group. I crochet blankets for friends who are having babies (oops that reminds me...)

But there is one thing on this planet that really tests my patience.

I don't like rabbits. (Kath Lockett  look away now - mind you, Skipper was a great rabbit - I will give you that)

Actually, make that two things. I don't like chooks either. (Hens / Chickens / Fowls if you come from outside Australia)

Rabbits and chooks are low down in the food chain. Both make good eating. Both, like their vegetable equivalent, the zucchini (courgette if you're outside Australia) are reasonably pointless - though chooks do make eggs - but that doesn't stop them being pointless beasts.

I would never be cruel to a rabbit or a chook. I would never harm a rabbit or a chook. Both are sorta cute from a distance. But Tasmanian devils and rhinos and crocodiles are cute from a distance too.

If a friend asked me to feed their prize bunny or hen while they were on holiday, I would - of course. But rabbits just don't float my boat.

I remember a friend of mine giving me her children's pet bunny to pat.

"Go on, you love animals." she said, handing the bundle over.
"This isn't an animal. It's modified vermin." I thought to myself.

She asked what I thought.

All I could come up with was "current sauce and akubras".

See, disliking rabbits gets you into trouble.

Problem is, I was raised in the country.

I have fond memories of being a kid, going out at night with the boys from next door, sit on the back of the ute with a spotlight in the back scrub watching Spud and Boog shoot them.(The boys next door had real names, but like all good country boys they went by a silly moniker)

It took me a long time to realise that lead shot wasn't part of what makes up the flavour of rabbit.

I was also raised in the country in a country where in 1859 some bright spark named Thomas Austin from Geelong brought in 24 rabbits from England so he could go shooting. The "little blighters escaped" and from there his 24 breeding rabbits started an infestation that wiped out the natural flora and fauna as completely as the English exterminated the Tasmanian Aboriginals.

It finally took an insidious disease called myxomatosis, an awful, awful disease that basically eats the rabbit from the inside out, to rid the country of 95 % of the 800 million rabbits. However the other five percent seemed to be immune and lives on and bred but at a much reduce rate. Myxo also lives on, in mutant strains. Witnessing a rabbit with myxomatosis was a common sight as a kid. People's pet rabbits caught mxyo as well. No rabbit is truly immune. It hits all rabbits from the Peter Rabbit bunny in the paddock to the prize chinchilla that's bread to show at the rabbit version of Crufts.

You never want to see a rabbit with myxomatosis. It's truly dreadful.

So I've got the block when it comes to bunnies. There was one on Bondi Vet which Dr Chris ended up giving mouth to mouth to just before it shook this mortal coil. How come you never see cats and dogs die on that show - but they'll let a bunny go? For me, emotionally engaging was impossible. I normally sit here watching Bondi Vet with tears in my eyes. But this poor white rabbit, unfortunately mutilated - all I could think was "Why aren't you putting the poor thing down?"

Call me heartless. Call me pragmatic. Maybe in a former life I was tortured by bunnies before they burned me on the stake.

I just don't get what the fuss about rabbits is.

Though MoMo does them well with a current sauce and quince stuffing....

One day I'll tell you my chook stories. I know that my dislike for the domestic hen is the stuff of elongated childhood trauma.


The Elephant's Child said...

You are so right about myxo. Awful, awful thing to see rabbits slowly,painfully dying from it just because an idiot wanted to hunt them. Sigh. And jealous about MoMo - bought their cookbook for the smaller portion's birthday and that is the closest we have been. Wonderful cookbook though.

River said...

I don't mind bunnies, but I don't like them cooked. No matter how they're done, the flesh is always dry, sometimes tough.

Kath Lockett said...

I must say that seeing skinned 'lapin' in every butcher shop and supermarket is rather hard to bear, esp for 12 year old Sapphire.

I do remember eating them as a child, though. Mum kept telling us that it was chicken casserole but the tiny bits of shot found at the bottom of each bowl gave her away!