The Venezuelan government on Wednesday urged its citizens to eat rabbits to avoid starvation in the midst of a severe food crisis.
President Nicolas Maduro unveiled "Plan Rabbit" at a meeting with his agriculture minister, Freddy Bernal, that was broadcast on Periscope, CNN Money reported. The plan is a government program to distribute rabbits to communities across Venezuela to breed and eat. Maduro noted that rabbits breed quickly and are a good source of protein, but not cholesterol.
Generally, Venezuelans do not eat rabbits and see them as pets.
"The rabbit isn't a pet, it's only two and a half kilos of meat," Bernal stressed in the streamed announcement. He then invoked President Donald Trump to push the program.
"Trump's attack against the Venezuelan people is an opportunity to revise and change cultural consumption patterns," he said.
Venezuelan opposition leaders immediately slammed the move.
"Are you serious?" asked former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles in a video response. "You want people to start raising rabbits to solve the problem of hunger in our country?"
A 2016 study found that three-fourths of Venezuelans had lost almost twenty pounds on average over the course of the year. Meat is particularly scarce in the South American nation, with citizens even resorting to butchering zoo animals, according to police.
Most economists agree the mass hunger is the result of socialist government policies spearheaded by former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and Maduro, his successor. Chavez instituted price controls on many food items, which helped lead to shortages and massive inflation.