If you are in Venezuela and you are keeping rabbits as pets, you are making a big mistake.

The Venezuelan government says you are either hoarding or wasting food.

The government this week urged citizens to see rabbits as more than “cute pets” as it defended a plan to breed and eat them even as the opposition says this would do nothing to end chronic food shortages.

The “Rabbit Plan” is an effort by the government of President Nicolas Maduro to boost food availability.

Authorities have also taught citizens to plant food on roofs and balconies of their homes.

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Maduro’s adversaries dismiss such ideas as rubbish. They say like Nigeria, Venezuela's economy has become solely dependent on crude oil sales.

They argue that the real problem is a failed model of oil-financed socialism that was unable to survive after crude markets collapsed.

“There is a cultural problem because we have been taught that rabbits are cute pets,” Urban Agriculture Minister Freddy Bernal said during a televised broadcast with Maduro this week. “A rabbit is not a pet; it’s two and a half kilos (5.5 pounds) of meat that is high in protein, with no cholesterol.”

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