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  #1  
Old 11/08/10, 04:35 PM
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Selling rabbit meat?

Does anyone here do direct sales of rabbit meat from your farm? I can't seem to find any laws on it here in AR.

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  #2  
Old 11/08/10, 04:43 PM
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IN GENERAL....rabbits tend to fall under the same laws as chickens. Since there aren't a lot of home butchering rabbit farmers, rabbits often fall through the cracks. Here is Wisconsin it's pretty much "up to 1000 lbs per year" (or might be animals...can't remember). After that you need a license.

to sell OFF the farm (farmer's market, restaurants, etc.) we need the animals processed by a USDA licensed butcher.

I found the Wisconsin regs on the Wisconsin government site..then followed links down to our Agricultural laws. You can also contact your local Ag Extension agent to get the appropriate laws for your region.

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  #3  
Old 11/08/10, 04:46 PM
 
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It's really hard to sell rabbit meat because they aren't seen as livestock by the USDA. However you can sell the meat if you have it processed at a USDA inspected facility, and if you have the option to rent a meat locker (at the facility). It's really hard because, for processors, it requires a special license to process rabbit. I know it's weird. They are only looking at rabbit as a "pet" because people own them in areas as pets that don't allow livestock (i.e cities). They cannot stop you from selling rabbits that are alive as meat if the buyer does the deed themselves. There are ways around it though. I don't do this myself because I don't want to be busted. You could sell them the rabbit and say the butchering is a gift. :/
It's up to you. If any of the information isn't correct please correct me.

Also I might add that if you're busting out enough rabbits that actually make you a profit you can go about butchering yourself. This will only be possible if you have the correct licensing (which might be costly) and a place that is not in your home where you can do the deed. Of course it will be inspected and has to be up to their codes.

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Old 11/08/10, 05:12 PM
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Our state doesn't have any laws and like you mentioned the USDA doesn't see them as livestock so no real law there either. Kind of silly really. A lot of people eat rabbit around here and we have sold it to friends. It should fall under poultry laws I think.

We already sell through a local Farmer's Market and we can sell any kind of poultry that we butcher here with no inspections at all. Not sure how or if we want to add rabbit though since no law doesn't necessarily mean nobody will go after us.....

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  #5  
Old 11/08/10, 05:59 PM
 
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http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/arcode/Default.asp

Type in "meat" into the search. You can also look up "poultry".

I wish our state had a website like this. Our search engine stinks!
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  #6  
Old 11/08/10, 06:13 PM
 
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I've spent the last week looking this stuff up... Interestingly enough, HT is one of the sites that pops up for info on this, along with Pat Lamar's website, and PRMA, both of which have disappeared into the cyberspace landfill...

It seems as though most states aren't sure exactly how to classify rabbits, so if you want to sell to the public, you need to have them butchered as a USDA-inspected processor's, even though they do not fall under USDA regulations... Seems like a lot of people are going about it by selling the rabbit "live", adding on a processing fee (what the butcher charges), and offering "free delivery", meaning you buy the rabbit from them, pay the butcher fee, and they'll deliver the rabbit to the butcher for you and pick it up packaged, and you just have to come pick it up from their house. I think that's easy for most large setups because they take a large group of rabbits in at one time.

Most states seem to allow you to butcher your own (up to a certain # or lb) if you're just killing them for yourself, and some have this same clause if you're selling to the public. But once you "go big" you have to have it done at a USDA facility... Too bad the govt hasn't figured out exactly how to treat rabbits on the books. It would be a lot simpler for people to figure out!

And try looking up actual processors to see what they pay for fryers and what their rules are... *lol* If you find any info on that, let me know! That search seems to be more impossible than the first.

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  #7  
Old 11/08/10, 06:18 PM
 
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Have you ever considered selling to Pel-Freez? They are located in Arkansas.

http://www.pel-freez.com/

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  #8  
Old 11/08/10, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bunny Ranch View Post
http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/arcode/Default.asp

Type in "meat" into the search. You can also look up "poultry".

I wish our state had a website like this. Our search engine stinks!
It is telling me to sign in. I have already searched the Health Dept's site and checked in with the U of A ag law center. There just isn't a law on rabbit.
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  #9  
Old 11/08/10, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bunny Ranch View Post
Have you ever considered selling to Pel-Freez? They are located in Arkansas.

http://www.pel-freez.com/
I want to sell directly to the public so I can make some actual money on them, I raise mine on pasture and Pelfreeze has all sorts of rules including an air conditioned barn and hutches only.

I can't find any meat processing places that do rabbits here.
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Old 11/08/10, 07:37 PM
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We don't have rabbit laws here in MO, either.

It's not regulated, we don't have to take it to a USDA butcher or anything.

If we wanted to, I assume we could take it to the Farmer's Markets and such, or keep selling the occasional rabbit off the farm to friends.

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  #11  
Old 11/08/10, 09:07 PM
 
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If you contact you local extension office they could give you great advice.

http://www.uaex.edu/ouachita/

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  #12  
Old 11/15/10, 01:15 PM
 
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in texas you can offer rabbit meat live and offer to process for no extra money to get around any usda laws

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Old 11/15/10, 02:28 PM
 
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First off, you'll find all of my old "Commercial Rabbit Industries" web site information right here as a "sticky" on this forum, but it's titled "Raising Rabbits" or some such silly thing. It will show 0 replies because I won't allow replies to mess it up. It's a LARGE file.

Secondly, MOST (not all) states only require STATE-inspected facilities, and not USDA facilities, but I don't know about Arkansas. Since Pel-Freez is USDA, then it could be that AR requires meats for resale purposes to be processed in USDA plants. "For resale" generally means to stores and restaurants for resale to the general public. USDA processing is a lot more expensive than using a state-inspected facility.

It is not uncommon to have difficulty finding the correct information you need... even with state and/or government contacts. You COULD try a local butcher shop simply to ask if all meats for resale have to be USDA or processed in a state-inspected facility. If a state facility is possible, they may even know where they are!

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Old 11/15/10, 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the info!

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  #15  
Old 11/19/10, 07:16 AM
 
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I have wondered about this too & figured that if I had them butchered at a licensed butcher shop that it would be legal. I was too chicken to sell meat that was butchered here at home. I just took 14 in to the butcher shop last week. The butcher himself bought 2 & I already have the others sold. A couple weeks before they were ready to go, I advertised in The Trading Post " Taking orders for dressed fryer rabbits, $10 each. " I already had 8 of them spoken for thru the ad, then my friend & my brother both bought 2. This is the 2nd butcher shop I've used since summer. The first charged $2 each, this one charged $1.50 each, but both of them had me take them home whole. I had to cut & wrap them myself.

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Old 11/19/10, 11:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeb View Post
in texas you can offer rabbit meat live and offer to process for no extra money to get around any usda laws
USDA regs only apply when shipping rabbit OUTSIDE Texas. Otherwise, we are regulated by State law. The oversight agency is the Texas Dept. of Health. There is no provision for offering free processing to get around Texas regulations. Even if you do not charge for the rabbit in any way, shape, form, or fashion, you are still obligated to follow the state law. The issue is the safety of the processing....not the fee for processing.

With that said, I sell processed rabbit to friends and family without being licensed and inspected. It's certainly not a big time endeavor and I do NO advertising!
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  #17  
Old 11/23/10, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbithappy View Post
I have wondered about this too & figured that if I had them butchered at a licensed butcher shop that it would be legal. I was too chicken to sell meat that was butchered here at home. I just took 14 in to the butcher shop last week. The butcher himself bought 2 & I already have the others sold. A couple weeks before they were ready to go, I advertised in The Trading Post " Taking orders for dressed fryer rabbits, $10 each. " I already had 8 of them spoken for thru the ad, then my friend & my brother both bought 2. This is the 2nd butcher shop I've used since summer. The first charged $2 each, this one charged $1.50 each, but both of them had me take them home whole. I had to cut & wrap them myself.
Have to ask..so what the butcher did was kill and gut them? Was thinking 1.50 - 2.00 was pretty darn reasonable for butchering and processing.
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  #18  
Old 11/23/10, 02:25 PM
 
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The only problem with using butchers is that the meat USUALLY is "custom" butchered and wrapped for "personal" use, only... AND stamped "NOT FOR RESALE." Be careful!

Pat Lamar

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  #19  
Old 12/01/10, 06:53 PM
 
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I do it all myself from a 12 week old fryer in a cage to a vaccume packed frozen (sometimes quartered) meat carcass.
One of the workarounds I have suggested in the past is:
Theoretically, you dont sell $20 of meat for human consumption, you sell live rabbits for $15 and add offer a processing service for $5... Theoretically...

They look at the ones in the cages, and take home one out of the freezer, and they are always ok with that =)

Finished product, with large banana in the pic for reference:

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  #20  
Old 12/01/10, 09:34 PM
 
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here in NC we are allowed 1000 raised & processed sales within the state lines per calendar year w/o a license, the from 1000 to i think 5000 you need a health inspection and sanitation stamp. over that falls in to usda guidelines.

It varies by state greatly but there is going to be labeling restrictions pretty much regardless of where you live. Your county health department should be able to get you the regulations or point you in the right direction but understand that they are not in the business of making life easy and most are simply looking for more permit fees from what I've seen.

Best wishes,
Ryan

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