A youth uses his pillow case as a bag to collect rice that has shaken loose from a food cargo truck waiting to enter the port in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.
A youth uses his pillow case as a bag to collect rice that has shaken loose from a food cargo truck waiting to enter the port in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Ariana Cubillos

Venezuela urges eating of rabbits

VENEZUELA'S government has launched a scheme encouraging people to breed rabbits and eat them as a way of countering frequently chronic food shortages and growing child malnutrition.

The government of Nicolas Maduro - who has been accused of moving towards a dictatorship - says the so-called Rabbit Plan will help boost food availability.

Mr Maduro's adversaries dismissed the idea as nonsensical, Reuters reported, insisting the real problem was a failed model of oil-financed socialism that was unable to survive after crude markets collapsed.

Mr Maduro said US sanctions on him and more than 20 of his officials had exacerbated the crisis.

The Trump administration also recently banned US banks from buying newly issued bonds from Venezuela's government and the state-run oil company, PDVSA.

"There is a cultural problem because we have been taught that rabbits are cute pets,” Urban Agriculture Minister Freddy Bernal said during a broadcast with Mr Maduro this week, Reuters reported.

"A rabbit is not a pet - it's two-and-a-half kilos of meat that is high in protein, with no cholesterol,” Mr Bernal said.

Mr Maduro's critics mocked the idea.

"Are you serious,” asked Henrique Capriles, a state governor and two-time opposition presidential candidate. "You want people to start raising rabbits to solve the problem of hunger in our country?” - INM



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