If the Easter Bunny is determined to get to the Land of the Long White Cloud this year he better watch his back. No doubt the terms and conditions of his contract specify that he deliver hidden chocolate to all the children of the world, including small members of visiting royalty, but does a danger money clause exist? The fact is, bunnies in New Zealand are in grave peril. As pizza toppings go, they have been identified as the next best thing to mozzarella.
Hell Pizza, well-named if you are a rabbit, has developed a new recipe, using the meat from the long-eared lopers. To advertise their debut they have built a special billboard. Broadcasting the fact that the latest pizza is ”New for Easter” it also boasts that it is made from rabbit “Just like this billboard.” Yes, the billboard is completely covered in the skins of the furry creatures. Every inch of it is pinned with pelts.
The company admit that rabbits are “quite cute” but as they are also a notorious pest on both the islands of New Zealand, and provide a delicious meat, they think their solution to make pizza from them is rather ingenious. Ben Cumming, the boss of Hell Pizza, said that it’s “one of the leanest, healthiest meats available.”
By combining the meat with spiced beetroot and horopito relish and then decorating the top with toasted pine nuts and dollops of cream cheese, the Hell’s Pizza chefs say they have created a “beautiful subtle flavor.”
The yummy bunny option is also an environmentally sustainable choice, as they are sourcing from the wild population and helping to eradicate the pest problem. Indeed, they are not officially even called pests, they are called “Unwanted Organisms” by the country’s Biosecurity Act of 1992. You can see why they by-passed that name for the pizza.
Neither does the Easter Unwanted Organism have the same appealing ring to it as the Easter Bunny does.
This particular pizza company, bought out in 2006 by Burger King, has a history of cutting-edge marketing. They once held a promotion for their “Lust” Pizza by sending out free condoms. “Pizza Roulette” in 2012 was a gamble as to which slice contained a super-hot chilli. Most controversially, they published an advert in 2008 that showed the Queen Mother, and recently deceased actor Heath Ledger, both dancing on graves. They did apologise for that one.
They are not apologizing for the rabbit-skin billboard though. They say it was made with skins that are a by-product of a tanning factory and it has all been ethically sourced. Whilst the bold and shocking tactic is not about to convert any vegetarians or lovers of Watership Down and Peter Rabbit, it is certainly eye-catching. Hunting of rabbits is legal at all times and everywhere in New Zealand as long as it is done humanely. Many are also farmed. As value for money goes, one rabbit provides six times more meat from the equivalent ratio of feed and drink to a single cow.
Pizza-lovers in the US will not be able to sample this special Easter treat as yet, but Hell’s Pizza do have branches in Canada, as well as India, Korea and the UK.
Meanwhile, Hell’s Pizza are experiencing a mixed reaction to the controversial anti-Easter Bunny billboard. Some are disgusted and swearing they will never eat there again. The New Zealand Vegetarian Society say they usually appreciate “Hell’s humor” but in this instance they feel they have gone too far and “we do NOT approve of this.” Others are calling it marketing genius and pointing to the immense damage the rabbit population does.
As for the Easter Bunny? As a dedicated professional he will no doubt want to fulfill his distribution duties but it is highly recommended he makes it a quick hop and a skip as he steers through New Zealand this holiday.