THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has set a standard for the humane and hygienic slaughter of rabbits for human consumption.

“There is a need to ensure the hygienic slaughtering of rabbits to safeguard the health of the consuming public from zoonoses and other hazards including the development of standards for hygienic and humane slaughtering of rabbits and inspection,” the DA said in an administrative order.

According to the order, rabbits to be slaughtered need to be sourced from farms certified for good animal husbandry practice (GAHP).

Meat inspection will be conducted in the slaughterhouse premises by authorized National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) or local government unit (LGU) meat inspectors.

The documentary requirements include veterinary health certificates and shipping permits.

“Only healthy rabbits which are free from any animal diseases, veterinary drug residues, hormones, growth promotants, heavy metals and pesticides and other physical biological and chemical hazards or contaminants shall be allowed to be slaughtered for food,” according to the order.

Rabbits awaiting slaughter must also be handled in cruelty-free conditions, the department said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson