H.C.R. NO.


















     WHEREAS, only fifteen percent of Hawaii's food supply is grown locally, and the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan identifies the goal of doubling local food production by 2030; and


     WHEREAS, due to Hawaii's remote location and reliance on imported food, Hawaii's food security is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and disruptions of the shipping and food supply; and


     WHEREAS, by replacing only ten percent of the food Hawaii currently imports, an estimated $313,000,000 dollars would remain in the State; and


WHEREAS, in many countries and regions around the world, rabbit meat is a widely consumed, commercially-available protein source; and


     WHEREAS, rabbits have a high rate of reproduction, early maturity, rapid growth rate, high genetic selection potential, efficient feed and land space utilization, and high-quality nutritious meat; and


     WHEREAS, rabbit meat is lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories than beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey with comparable protein levels; and


WHEREAS, developing a rabbit meat industry in Hawaii may contribute positively to Hawaii's sustainability goals, allow for increased food self-sufficiency, and support economic development and more diverse product lines for Hawaii ranchers; and  


     WHEREAS, demand for rabbit meat in the United States is gradually increasing due to increasing demand from restaurants and consumers interested in sustainable and exotic meats; and

     WHEREAS, producers on the island of Hawaii are successfully cultivating rabbits for subsistence consumption, but lack a regulatory framework that would allow for the commercial sale of the rabbit meat; and


     WHEREAS, according to title 9 Code of Federal Regulations part 354 entitled "Voluntary Inspection of Rabbits and Edible Products Thereof," the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not mandate the federal Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to inspect the slaughter of rabbits, and the inspection is voluntary and subject to fees and charges by the FSIS; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Health, pursuant to section 11-50-31, Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR), allows for the sale of game animals, including mammals such as rabbits, that are commercially raised for food; provided they are raised, slaughtered, and processed under a voluntary inspection program conducted by the agency that has health jurisdiction, or a routine inspection program conducted by an agency other than the agency with animal health jurisdiction; and


     WHEREAS, there is currently no USDA voluntary inspection program in the State of Hawaii, and there is no comparable state voluntary inspection program for the inspection of rabbit meat for commercial sale; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii has no routine inspection program for game animals allowing rabbit meat producers to commercially sell their product as an approved food source under the Department of Health's administrative rules; and


     WHEREAS, establishing a state voluntary inspection program that would meet the federal requirements is costly and would require additional state funds, personnel, and facilities; and


     WHEREAS, establishing a routine inspection program for game animals under state agencies may also be cost-prohibitive; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Health has previously amended section 11-50-31, HAR, to allow for the commercial sale of field-dressed wild game animals; provided the animals receive a postmortem examination by an approved veterinarian or veterinarian's designee; and


     WHEREAS, the lack of a clear and specific process for the inspection of rabbits commercially raised for food is a deterrent for producers to cultivate rabbits for intrastate commerce; now, therefore,


                BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirtieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2020, the Senate concurring, that the Department of Health is urged to amend its administrative rules to allow for the commercial sale of rabbit meat for consumption; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Health consider adopting a rule similar to section 11-50-31, HAR, that would allow for the commercial sale of rabbit meat for consumption; provided that the rabbit herd receives inspections by a veterinarian who holds a valid license to practice in the State of Hawaii; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department of Health is encouraged to consider including other game animals, as defined in section 11-50-2, HAR, in its amended rules; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Health and Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture.







Report Title: 

Rabbit Meat; DOH; Commercial Sale; Inspection; Veterinarian