Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Easter Bilby: An idea whose time has come

In Australia, rabbits are considered vermin—unwelcome European invaders that eat more than their fair share of roughage. So for its icon of Easter, Aussie conservationists have lobbied hard to ordain the bilby, a ratty-looking native marsupial, as its purveyor of choice for holiday eggs. When you think about it, it makes much more sense for an animal with a built-in pouch to do the job. What are humans teaching their children about mammalian reproduction by leading them to believe that bunnies lay eggs?

Australian confectioner Darrell Lea has boosted the cause by manufacturing and selling chocolate Easter Bilbies, and the company donates some of its profits to the national Save the Bilby Fund. The candy has chompable-ears that should still satisfy the bloodthirst of any chocolate-bunny converts. Sales of chocolate bilbies now reportedly outnumber chocolate bunnies 8 to 1.

I worry a little, however, that the Fund might be inadvertently hurting the potential proliferation of the bilby by stating that, "When the baby bilby is born, it looks like a baked bean with legs." I suggest that Aussies keep those babies away from America's New Englanders. Otherwise, the Boston Baked Bean may take on a whole new texture.

To see chocolate bilbies being made, click here.

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