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Spain. Farmers blame “hybrid rabbits” for destroying crops

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In 1,400 Spanish municipalities, farmers and their crops are threatened by ‘hybrid super rabbits’. The animals are supposed to multiply quickly, are very voracious and can even climb trees, according to local media. A million hectares of fields are affected by the new plague, the losses so far are estimated at 800 million euros, the farmers and breeders’ organization COAG announced on Tuesday.

– There are so many rabbits in the fields that they do not allow the crops to develop, they eat up all our crops and cause huge losses Julian Barco, member of the young farmers association ASAJA in Madrid, said. “The situation is catastrophic, it’s almost a ruin for us,” he added. Farmers have been demonstrating against the “plague” in the streets of many cities in Catalonia, Aragon and Castile and La Mancha for weeks, demanding the government develop a nationwide strategy to tackle the problem, reports EFE.

“Rabbit from Jurassic Park”

The media write about a “rabbit from Jurassic Park” in the Spanish countryside. According to the COAG, the species originated from the interbreeding of wild rabbits with domestic rabbits, which are released into the field by irresponsible residents when they no longer want to care for them. The farmers’ organization also blames the government for allowing the rabbits to spreadwhich were supposed to be food for endangered species, such as lynx. Rabbits were transported to sparsely populated areas and vaccinated against diseases, leading to their evolution and “the situation is out of control”, describes Javier Fatas from the COAG board.

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In a Twitter post, the organization said: “Today at 16:30 we have a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture to analyze the unprecedented #conejos plague that is ravaging the Spanish countryside. More than 1,400 municipalities in 10 autonomous communities have been affected. One million hectares affected and 800 million losses “

Hybrid rabbits are supposed to be “improved” versions of wild rabbits, behaving differently from native rabbits.

They have a high reproductive capacitymore litters per year, and the number of litters is 12 to 14 each, while in the case of wild rabbits – from three to four. They are very voracious and can even climb treeswhich was previously unbelievable, said Fatas, quoted on Monday by the portal 20minutos.es.

Spanish agriculture ministry denies existence of ‘hybrid rabbits’

During protests in Lerida in March, farmers threw live rabbits at the door of the building of the government’s climate action body, the FAADA animal protection foundation said. On Tuesday, COAG representatives met with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture in Madrid to remedy the situation. Ministry of Agriculture however, it denied the existence of “hybrid rabbits”, the plague and the “emergency” and accused farmers of wanting to subsidize drought losses. – There is always an increase in the rabbit population in the spring. It is true that they can do a lot of damage and there are many specimens of these mammals. Now they feed on crops because drought and herbicide abuse have destroyed natural pastures, said environmental consultant biologist Francisco Martin Barranco, quoted by 20minutos.es.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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