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Burning bunnies for biofuel?


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rabbit-in-cloverThe Swedes, those latter-day descendants of bloodthirsty Vikings, have found a new use for rabbits: heating fuel. According to Der Spiegel, stray rabbits in Stockholm are being shot, frozen and then shipped to a heating plant to be incinerated.

In the Swedes’ defense, the bunnies are a menace; a plague of wild and stray pet rabbits is devouring the city’s parks. Some 3,000 have been killed thus far this year, down from 6,000 last year, Tommy Tuvunger, a professional hunter who works for the city, told the German news magazine.

Converting the rabbits to fuel is the company Konvex, a subsidiary of the Danish company Daka Biodiesel, which makes automotive and heating fuels from vegetable and animal oils and fats. The Swedes have a variety of similar efforts, including turning slaughterhouse trimmings into biogas, a methane fuel that runs taxicabs in Linkoping in southern Sweden. And in the U.S., ConocoPhillips and Tyson have joined forces to make biofuel from pork and chicken fat, which is otherwise consumed as pet food or turned into cosmetics or soaps.

Such efforts have given rise to parody, including a prank in 2007 wherein members of the leftist activist group The Yes Men, masquerading as executives from Exxon Mobil, attempted to convince an audience of oil industry types that "Vivoleum"—a proposed fuel to be made from dead people—was the fuel of the future. "We need something like whales, but infinitely more abundant," said Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum masquerading as Shepard Wolff of Exxon. Of course, making biofuel from human fat is illegal in the U.S.

Bunnies, despite a felicity for breeding, are not quite abundant enough to be a reliable fuel so Stockholm also ships dead cats, cows, deer and horses to the plant for processing, Tuvunger told Der Spiegel. No word on whether the remains of man’s best friend are also keeping Swedes warm this winter.

Image: © iStockphoto.com / Mariya Bibikova





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  1. 1. MCMalkemus 3:38 am 10/15/2009

    Why leave carcasses to be eaten by worms, when they can perform a more useful function? The rabbits are going to be killed anyway. While we’re at it, let’s get over our cultural taboos and start burning dead people too. The land they take in graveyards will only be forgotten in a few hundred years anyway. Your house may be on top of a forgotten graveyard. I donate my dead body to biofuel, how about you?

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  2. 2. Mariana Fulger 3:42 am 10/15/2009

    What species will do the same with humanity?

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  3. 3. MisterA 5:52 am 10/15/2009

    Looks like us vegetarians are going to freeze,

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  4. 4. doug 1 6:56 am 10/15/2009

    Ah… a little bit of the old "life out of balance" song and dance. Sad enough that rabbits, famous enough for their unrestrained reproduction, are a municiple nuisance instead of supporting either human or animal predators. Sounds like the islands around Stockholm could do with a major increase in their population of foxes…or coyotes.
    In the mean time the issue of the day, energy; it’s source and supply, over-rides any perspective, as people think only in terms of what frightens us into near paralysis; in this case the twin horns of a man-made (or man-imagined) dilemma where we either freeze to death due to lack of fuel, or we cook to death in a suffocating furnace of co2.
    In all likelihood, long before it becomes all that serious, we will, unless prevented by ill-conceived legislation and short-sighted and fear-driven leadership, discover that our percieved shortage of fuel is due to our failure to develope ways to use the super abundant energy offered by space based solar energy or hydrogen fusion.
    People of the world, get a grip and hook into the benefits of science and engineering.

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  5. 5. real conservation 9:33 am 10/15/2009

    Where the heck is peta when you need them?

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  6. 6. joef 10:14 am 10/15/2009

    Not only is the shipping probably using more energy than is generated but by burning the bodies to create biofuels they’re releasing additional, unneeded carbon into the atmosphere. A thermophilic compost system can turn the carcasses into nutrient rich soil rather efficiently and could be put towards growing more food or mulching the vegetation in those city parks they are trying to preserve.

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  7. 7. galaxy_man 10:44 am 10/15/2009

    This is like something out of an occult horror film.

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  8. 8. no_worries 12:59 pm 10/15/2009

    i laughed so hard my tears came out… :)

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  9. 9. Mr.Tie 1:25 pm 10/15/2009

    is the carbon footprint for burning a rabbit lucky?

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  10. 10. Soccerdad 2:21 pm 10/15/2009

    I can’t believe that burning a rabbit produces more BTU’s than it consumes. Like humans, rabbits are mostly water. Water will need about 1000 BTU’s per lb to be converted to steam. After the water is gone, I wouldn’t think there is too much combustible material left to generate more heat than it took to evaporate off the water in the first place.

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  11. 11. sb1020 3:00 pm 10/15/2009

    Cmon guys, its not permanent. plus as we all know Rabbits do breed…..alot. I grew up working on the family farm until i got to the university and I can tell you if one city is using Rabitts for heating, the bunnies wont vanish.

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  12. 12. ashwes 3:08 pm 10/15/2009

    how ridiculously cruel

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  13. 13. ashwes 3:08 pm 10/15/2009

    how cruel

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  14. 14. Michael Hanlon 5:02 pm 10/15/2009

    See what happens when we lose "Gourmet Magazine" and all the creative ways to present ‘Boonie flambay’? It all goes to pot.

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  15. 15. jack.123 5:58 pm 10/15/2009

    What’s up in smoke,doc.

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  16. 16. paulatro 9:57 pm 10/15/2009

    "No word on whether the remains of man’s best friend are also keeping Swedes warm this winter." There is no way I would allow the Swedes to treat my wife that way!

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  17. 17. paulatro 9:58 pm 10/15/2009

    "No word on whether the remains of man’s best friend are also keeping Swedes warm this winter." I would never allow those dreadful Swedes to treat my wife like that!

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  18. 18. Michael Hanlon 11:08 pm 10/15/2009

    Why are they destroying a possibly very productive generator of Bio fuel pellets? Cage ‘em. Feed ‘em weeds. Collect the excrement and burn that! Apply the Perdue/Tyson model to the problem. When the "generators are past prime production age, sell the meat to the public. Rabbits love cages,unlike chickens.
    And one Rabbit wearing a fine vest and smoking jacket was seen to run off shouting, "I’m late. I’m late." before jumping down the hole.
    Sounds like Jonathan Swift’s solution to the Irish baby problem.

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  19. 19. Michael Hanlon 1:38 am 10/16/2009

    Energy expended:
    .1)Make the bullets.
    .2)Drive to where the population needs thinning.
    .3)Drink coffee to keep warm.
    .4)Make the gunpowder that propels the bullet.
    .5)Freeze (???) the carcass.
    .6)Ship the frozen body.
    .7)Thaw the frozen body.
    .8)Drive off the water fron the body.
    .9)Combine the remaining carbon with oxegen from a tree.
    .10)Cut down the tree.

    This is probably going to come down to a situation where at a heated exchange about the efforts to rid the municipality of the vermin, a smarmy bureaucrat snidely said they’re burned to help the global warming problem rather than owning up to having to take harsh methods in applying steps to control desease. Damn ‘PigMonkey’ pols (with gratitude to Pastis and his ‘Pearls before Swine’ Comic strip).

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  20. 20. MIKE 52 SMITH 4:54 am 10/16/2009

    SHAME ON YOU HAVE SOME COMMPASION

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  21. 21. MIKE 52 SMITH 4:58 am 10/16/2009

    SHAME ON THE SWEDS LEAVE THE WILDLIFE ALONE HOW WOULD THEY LIKE TO BE HUNTED

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  22. 22. jack.123 8:16 am 10/16/2009

    I believe people would change their minds,if the rabbit population around them was running amok,eatting everything in their vegan diet,and if they are not a vegan’s then they are hypocrite’s,what better way to be green than to be part of the life cycle around you.I can think of no better way of doing that ,law allowing, than plinking a rabbit,with a pellet rifle,or catching it with a snare.Skin it,of course killing first,then gut it,throughly wash it inside and out,then place it in a large bowl of salt water over night,in the refrigerator,then put in a crock pot, with a can of cream of mushroom soup,or however else you might want to do it.Then enjoy.Its amazing what people will eat when their hungery enough,there are many around the world who would love to have rabbit stew,rather than go to bed hungery,because something like rabbits wiped out their crops.I suppose alot people, feel the same way about insects which is included, in half the worlds diet,and would starve with out it.The only thing cruel about what the Swedes are doing is that they are wasting the meat.The reason they are having a problem is because,the natural predator/prey scheme is out of balance.

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  23. 23. Anstor 1:06 pm 10/16/2009

    it’s so hard for me to understand why people use biofuel to generate power? maybe bunnies are kinda trouble in Sweden, but people could find another access to fix this pro? but why this terrible method? it’s called bloodthirsty.

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  24. 24. rockjohny 12:43 am 10/17/2009

    I LOVE STOCKHOLM, A WONDERFUL CITY!

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  25. 25. Quinn the Eskimo 1:02 am 10/17/2009

    Now we see, by example, just how the Swedes defeated the Nazis so fast back ’40.

    Oh, wait … Never mind.

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  26. 26. Michael Hanlon 1:37 am 10/17/2009

    Take one from story 1 and one from story 3, mix together with this one and you’ve got a solution. Have Gates buy all the bunnies and get Virgin to fly that meal to the hungry. ($200,000 for 10 minutes in space indeed!) Stockholm is near Oslo. They could hop over and pick up their Nobel Culinary Prize easily

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  27. 27. Michael Hanlon 3:52 am 10/18/2009

    Edit: one from story one and one from story four (4). I apologize because you have a drinking problem and I get distracted when you do that W.C. Fields imitation. We’re trying to be serious here. Do you know how many fleas are supported by that rampant rabbid rabbit population? Well, neither do I. But think about it! Millioms or is it Megas over there? of fleas carrying gawd knows what kinds of viruses. I hope the hunters are wearing proper protective apparel when handling those feral creatures.

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  28. 28. jack.123 8:32 am 10/18/2009

    Did anybody else notice the ads running at the bottom of the page?Hitler would have loved them.Imangine bunnies powering tanks.

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  29. 29. Michael Hanlon 8:05 pm 10/18/2009

    Frozen bunny pellets as ammo, no better yet , frozen bunny carcasses as artillery shells. Seventy years and the Swedes’ military is finally catching up.

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  30. 30. taffazull 2:30 am 10/20/2009

    Wonder how much energy is consumed and carbon dioxide released during the manufacture of the bullet used to shoot the rabbits and their further prcessing

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  31. 31. Compressor 3:46 pm 10/20/2009

    Hilarious. Maybe they would be better off selling to the gourmet industry in exchange for carbon credits ;)

    Would the comments be the same for an ugly animal, maybe even snakes (i know, i know – snakes would need something to eat besides plant matter….)

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  32. 32. Rob Aid 6:27 pm 10/20/2009

    Robots, scientists already construct robots that generate energy by "eating" different species (flora and fauna)

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  33. 33. Rob Aid 6:31 pm 10/20/2009

    Robots will, scientists already develop robots powered by consuming different species from flora and fauna.

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  34. 34. Michael Hanlon 7:42 pm 10/20/2009

    Good idea to sell to the gourmet industry. Each skinned , gutted and de-boned morsel could come in its own fifty pound chest made of real oak wood. Win-win. Puts some to work preparing the gleaned food source, some to work axing the trees, making the lumber and assembling the ikea box and even more of us can be put to work making fun of it all. I feel shameless.

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  35. 35. Bops 8:49 pm 10/20/2009

    Somebody should burn the Sweds for fuel. They seem to be the real Problem. Like they can’t stop them from over breeding. I sure there’s a better solution.

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  36. 36. eoleen 12:18 am 10/21/2009

    The dead whatevers are being incinerated, not "burned for fuel". It takes a lot of energy to incinerate – i. e. cremate – a corpse. It is done as a public health matter, not because there is any heating value in dead bunnies.

    Another way of getting rid of the corpses safely would be to drop them into the ocean in a location where sharks would eat them. The cost there would be the transportation.

    Now if only a Stockholm restaurant would put hasenpfeffer on the menu…

    (from Wikipedia: Hasenpfeffer (also spelled hasenfeffer) is a traditional German stew made from marinated rabbit or hare. Pfeffer is not only the name of a spice, but also of a dish where the animal’s blood is used as a gelling agent for the sauce. Wine or vinegar is also a prominent ingredient, to lend a sourness to the recipe.)

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  37. 37. pelican64 12:34 pm 10/21/2009

    The rats in New York city would likely heat up half the place. But let’s not treat this article’s title with any degree of seriousness. Dead animals laying around in urban areas is a health hazard , that’s the reason for burning them. Rabbits are rodents after-all.

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  38. 38. montrose 2:34 pm 10/21/2009

    This is reminiscent of the movie, "Soylent Green"

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  39. 39. Michael Hanlon 3:43 am 10/22/2009

    Like I said on 10/14 (Does this fjord have an echo toggle on button?)
    .Soylent Amber Fuel is dead people.
    .If we hew all the trees like the suggestion in a newer observation blog, then the green canopy will be at our ankles and the world will be over run with bunnies. Good thing the Swedes are testing eradication methods for the rest of us!.

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  40. 40. bnovak123 10:57 am 10/22/2009

    Such a waste of good food. Bunnies are delicious.

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  41. 41. Dr A Burns 11:42 pm 10/22/2009

    Perhaps they should starting killing dogs too, after the recent report that an average dof has twice the carbon paw print of an SUV. When will the man caused climate nonsense end ?

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  42. 42. maschwab 12:35 am 10/23/2009

    Rabbits have the same Trouble as Tribbles.
    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/The_Trouble_with_Tribbles_%28episode%29
    <img src=http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/memoryalpha/en/images/thumb/f/fa/Kirk_surrounded_by_Tribbles.jpg/292px-Kirk_surrounded_by_Tribbles.jpg>

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  43. 43. jojo 4:41 pm 10/23/2009

    I have heard that many bunnies are greedy and don’t pay taxes. They should either start paying their fair share, or they should be burned for fuel.

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  44. 44. Michael Hanlon 11:36 pm 10/24/2009

    Does the acclaimed Swedish Health Care Program provide Vets for the bunnies?

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  45. 45. zek 9:11 am 10/29/2009

    This is stupid, why don’t they eat them?

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  46. 46. zek 9:13 am 10/29/2009

    This is stupid, why don’t they eat them?

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  47. 47. zek 9:13 am 10/29/2009

    This is stupid, why don’t they eat them?

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  48. 48. zek 9:14 am 10/29/2009

    Stupid waste, why don’t they eat them?

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  49. 49. zek 9:15 am 10/29/2009

    Apologise for multiple posts, I had scripts turned off and it wasn’t showing.

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  50. 50. Michael Hanlon 12:36 am 10/30/2009

    Thank Gawd we don’t think of lobsters as cockroaches of the sea.

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  51. 51. TheWolfHowling 12:11 pm 05/24/2013

    I do not know exactly understand how exactly this would work because wouldn’t the rabbits bodies contain too much water to be burnt efficiently? Or are they like hanging them outside to dry in the sun like laundry?

    Or are the rabbits just a cheap, readily avalible feedstock that’s being used in some kind of fuel producing process and it’s that fuel that’s being used for heating? Like for anaerobic digestion to produce methane-rich biogas, or to produce biodiesel

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  52. 52. TheWolfHowling 12:16 pm 05/24/2013

    Either way, it gives new meaning to the term ‘Bunny Boiler’

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