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Orylag

 

orylag, developed in France by the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), is the product of 15 years of scientific research. It is the trade name for a fantastic new breed of rabbit, created by natural genetic mutation. The work of the INRA has been not only to crossbreed species, but also, by establishing an extremely strict schedule of conditions and specifications to optimise well-being conditions in order to create two products at the top of their range. A more industrial process would certainly not have allowed such a result.

INRA has been successful in its efforts: the whole animal is used - its meat has received various awards for its excellence (including a “Coq d’Or”, and awards from “Mouvement Français de la Qualité” and “Fondation Pierre Sarrazin”), and its fur is exceptional, both technically perfect and ethically acceptable. The meat, due to its particular texture and cooking qualities, is much sought after by Michelin star chefs (including Michel Bras and Anne-Sophie Pic, who has just been nominated best chef of the year…), poulterers and butchers, has had a lot of positive press, and has received various awards for its excellence. It is considered to be one of the best gastronomic product on the market, both for its succulent taste and for its dietary qualities – Orylag is low fat and rich in omega 3. As for the fur, it is used by well-established international designers, who are more and more concerned by environmental issues and are therefore putting forward this ethical product.

Orilag


With regards to the way orylags are bred, the main concern is the respect of the animal and the whole process is subject to draconian rules. Annual production is extremely small, and is currently limited to 100,000 animals, from 20 carefully selected breeders. Farms are small and the method of breeding is still very traditional – very much that of a cottage industry rather than intensive farming. It combines animal comfort, a well balanced and natural diet, and a longer life, hence the superior quality of both the meat and the fur. Breeders have to comply to strict EU rules and regulations, mainly established by veterinarian services, and the whole process is subject to constant controls.

Animals are kept with their mothers until they are in age to be separated. The litter is then kept together until they reach an age when it is better for them to be kept individually – they reach a sexual maturity which make them more aggressive towards each other, and if not separated, they would become subject to stress. The aim is to maintain the breeding environment as peaceful as possible, music is even played in the background so that intervention by human doesn’t stress the animal. Breeders are always on site to provide a constant care, and farms are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis – a good hygiene being really important to maintain a good balance between the animal and its environment. Facilities are twice as big as required industry standards, temperature, hygrometry and ventilation are rigorously controlled in order to avoid any unnecessary stress to the animal. Reproduction is not intensive, females are allowed to rest in between reproductive cycles. Animals, as “poulets de Bresse” do, live much longer.

No animal is killed at the farm, they remain in the care of the breeders until the last minute and are delivered by them to abattoirs which work closely with, and follow the rules of, veterinarian services (D.S.V.). These abattoirs are subject to regular controls. In order to keep them in a stress free environment, the cooperative, which regroups all the breeders, manages the animal transportation from the farm to the abattoirs. The cooperative uses its own vehicle, which, again, is constantly disinfected and checked by the veterinarian services (D.S.V.).

During transportation, each animal is put in individually partitioned crates, ensuring again that the process is as stress free as possible. Crates are immediately loaded into the vehicle, and transportation time never exceed 1.5 hours, as all the farms are located in the same area and at close proximity to the abattoirs.

The entire process is extremely rigorous and ensures that animals do not have to wait until they are put to sleep.

At the abattoir, animals are put down following extremely strict standards set by European regulations, and each can be traced. All animals waiting to be killed are visually separated from the ones which are already dead. Each animal is carefully examined by a specially trained person in order to check its sanitary conditions, and is then put to sleep using a specifically designed an regularly controlled device. It is important to stress at this stage that the fact that the fur is going to be used ensures that this process is done by hand rather than by a less humane mechanical process.

This method, duly authorized and under close control from the veterinarian services, ensures that the animal doesn’t suffer at all throughout the process. It is subjected to a specific step from the abattoir, in line with HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and follows the European rules and regulations on hygiene (178/2002, 852/2004, 853/2004, 2076/2005).

The breeders, all concerned with the well being of the animal throughout the whole process, have made sure that control measures are put in place not only by official services, but also by their own organization (National Institute for Agronomical Research - INRA, Chamber of Agriculture, Cooperative of orylag breeders). This is made possible by the fact that they control the entire process, from beginning to end.



Orilag Orilag



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