Plate 1. Sicily Spencer of Kirbyville (left) and judge Lisa Jennings of Protem (right) inspect “Emily,” a 10-week-old New Zealand White. Jennings is current Missouri director of the Havana Rabbit Breeders Association.
by Joshua Heston
“Oh, look at the cute bunny!” For a large number of folks, the history, culture and science of rabbits are absolutely unknown.
Rabbits are small mammals (not rodents) in the Leporidae family. Traditionally raised for meat and fur, rabbits make excellent show animals.
There are a surprising number of breeds each high quality show rabbits selling for more than $200 apiece. There are Havanas, Rex Rabbits, Mini-Lops, New Zealands, Angoras, just to name a few. Colors are often divided into categories like Black, Blue, Broken, Red or White.
Rabbit-raising is serious stuff, far-removed from the simple Easter rabbit imagery. Rabbits require proper care, good feed and the correct handling processes and more.
It’s good to see an organization like 4H continuing education in the responsibility and ability to properly care for all critters.
It builds character.
Originally published June 30, 2013
Rabbit breed list:
• American • American Fuzzy Lops • American Sable • Angora – English • Angora – French • Angora – Giant • Angora – Satin • Belgian Hare • Beveren • Britannia Petite • Californian • Champagne D’Argent • Checkered Giant • Chinchilla – American • Chinchilla – Giant • Chinchilla Standard • Cinnamon • Creme D’Argent • Dutch • Dwarf Hotot • English Spot • Flemish Giant • Florida White • Harlequin • Havana • Himilayan • Holland Lops • Hotot, Blanc de • Jersey Woolys • Lilac • Lop – English • Lop – French • Lop – Mini • Mini Rex • Mini Satin • Netherla
nd Dwarf • New Zealand • Palomino • Polish • Rex • Rhinelander • Satin • Silver • Silver Fox • Silver Marten • Tan • Thrianta
Original 1918 4H Pledge:
My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service, And my Health to better living, For my club, my community and my country.
— Otis E. Hall of Kansas
4H Taney County Animal Show, 2013
Thanks to the hard work of folks like Cassandra Nebena, Ken and Kimberly Dixon, a handful of supremely qualified judges and a growing number of dedicated kids, the 4H program in Taney County is making a comeback. Despite the tourism in our area, agriculture still plays an important part of our economy and culture.
It is a valuable place for these kids to share, to learn, and to be recognized for their efforts. Raising animals is hard work, requiring everyday responsibility, dedication and education. It is work which teaches us a great deal of science, compassion, common sense and a sense of reality far removed from most “reality” TV shows.