A survey to assess the knowledge and attitudes of students at Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB) towards the consumption of rabbit meat
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As Uganda strives to meet the 40kg meat consumption per capita as recommended by the World Health Organization to minimize susceptibility to diseases and other malnutrition disorders, rabbit meat could be a good alternative given that it is a highly nutritious, white meat. The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge and attitude of COVAB students towards the consumption of rabbit meat. A total of 100 students were randomly selected to respond to a structured questionnaire in a cross-section study. Results showed that 80% of the respondents were male, and 20% were female. All the respondents (100%) were undergraduates pursuing their first degree. Respondents were mostly Baganda (40%) and Banyankole (30%) and the majority were Christian (85%). Most students (81%) were knowledgeable about rabbits and rabbit meat. The majority were knowledgeable about rabbits being herbivores (91%), rabbits existing in a variety of breeds (100 %) and diseases affecting rabbits (80 %). The media (radio, television and newspapers) was reported as the main source of information on rabbits and rabbit meat for the majority of respondents (50%), followed by the internet (25%). This could be, attributed to the variety of media channels currently accessible as well as the growing extension of internet services country-wide. Results showed a strong and statistically significant (p=0.000) association between students’ attitudes and their knowledge of rabbits and rabbit meat. Results also indicated that students' attitudes and knowledge had a strong and statistically significant (p=0.000) association with the consumption of rabbit meat by the students. This implies that the attitude and knowledge of the students probably influence their consumption of rabbit meat. In conclusion, the students of COVAB knew rabbits and had positive attitudes towards rabbits and rabbit meat. The student attitude and knowledge were found to be strongly associated with the consumption of rabbit meat. This study, therefore, recommends that more youths like these students be encouraged by rabbit production promoters to take part in the rearing and production of rabbits as a business. The media should continue to be used by the stakeholders to conduct sensitization and training on rabbit production to improve people’s knowledge and attitudes towards rabbit meat consumption .