PALAKKAD: The Animal Husbandry Department will urge the Central Government to make necessary changes to the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and registration of food Businesses) Regulation, 2011, in which ‘rabbit’ has been inadvertently classified under the ‘animal’ category, said Animal Husbandry Department Director Dr N N Sasi.
Dr Sasi told ‘Express’ that since the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, was framed at the national-level, the regional tastes and preferences were largely not incorporated.
The government would write to the Centre
to make the necessary changes at the earliest. Food Safety Commissioner T V Anupama said that their office will also seek necessary amendments in the Act it had serious ramification on the rabbit-rearing sector.Scores of rabbit farmers in the state were dismayed after the Food Safety andStandards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a circular banning the culling of rabbits, dogs, camels and cats for meat purposes.A number of schemes has been mooted by the Agriculture Department and the Animal Husbandry Department to promote rabbit rearing in the state. Financial assistance has also been routed through agencies like NABARD.Kudumbashree state programme manager Dr Saleem said that in districts like Idukki and Thrissur, there were many farmers who had taken up rabbit farming. Kudumbashree has also evinced keen interest in devising special schemes to promote rabbit farming to produce and sell value-added products like burgers and cutlets through its food outlets.
Former Animal Husbandry Department deputy director Dr N Shudhodhanan said that broiler rabbits reared in Kerala were different from the wild hare. He said that broiler rabbits were usually reared in Kerala and Haryana.
A similar issue had affected the quail farming in the state when the Forest Department had banned the rearing or culling of quails by classifying these birds under the Wild life Act.Subsequently, the state government had taken up the matter with the Centre, contending that Japanese quails were being reared by the farmers, which was exempted from the purview of the Act. He said that ‘Soviet Chinchilla’ breeds were reared in Kerala, and it was promoted to counter protein deficiency among the people. Rabbit rearing was also promoted as self-employment ventures.
There are livestock management training centres of the Animal Husbandry Department in every district, he said.