Partnering with Cargill, one operation makes big changes, improving its animal welfare principles and developing a creative food security program.
Rabbit meat is an excellent source of easily digestible protein, containing less fat and fewer calories than similar portions of both chicken and beef. Though it supplies a key source of nutrition in households around the world, the rabbit industry was challenged to address public perspectives on animal welfare and develop new solutions accordingly. Supermarket chains in some areas began to seek suppliers of “floor-raised” rabbit meat. To address the new market preferences, Tetrabbit Ltd., a family-run rabbit supplier based in Hungary, looked to Cargill for help.
Cargill’s commitment to animal welfare and responsible supply chains made it the ideal partner to guide Tetrabbit through the development of a program responsive to consumer concerns. Cargill invited the owners of Tetrabbit to visit its Minneapolis, Minnesota, headquarters to meet with senior leaders from its animal nutrition business. Tetrabbit’s leaders learned that the goal was to engage with its business partners, inspiring the supplier to develop a certification program called RELAX RABBIT.
The new brand directly responded to consumer concerns: the RELAX RABBIT label certified that products were “floor-raised,” or raised in group stables where they had more space to roam and socialize. RELAX RABBIT products also came with a photo and signature of the farmer who tended to the animal, guaranteeing it was raised in a hygienic stable and humanely processed.
The changes were a major success, enabling Tetrabbit to expand its business. Farmers participating in the program now represent about 36% of Tetrabbit’s total production, and the claim “good meat from healthy animals” has allowed the company to serve new markets in Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Cargill continues to deepen its commitment to Tetrabbit by finding new ways to collaborate. The two companies have a research partnership in which Cargill provides feed and professional training to Tetrabbit’s backyard rabbit farming program, focused on helping economically disadvantaged families build successful businesses and, in time, thrive.