Dutch farmers have found a hot new way to keep rabbits, birds and rodents away from their crops. Tabasco sauce. The new initiative seems to be making everyone happy.
Everyone that is, except for the rabbits, who farmers say jump a meter in the air and run for cover after tasting the spicy American sauce. But farmers say its working. And animal protection spokesman Niels Doorlandt calls it a wonderful alternative to the shotgun.
"This initiative is a perfect example of how you can get rid of the problem without killing the animals or harming them in any way," he says. "It could be possible that the lips of the rabbits are hurt by the Tabasco, but the next time the rabbit will think, 'Don't do this again,' so they won't use their teeth to eat our precious crops."
Local farmers tried other remedies first: garlic sauce and Worcestershire sauce. But apparently nothing keeps the rabbits and rodents away quite like Tabasco. So far, it has been used on lettuce, green beans, barley and wheat, with tests under way on young apple and cherry trees. It takes about five small bottles to spray one hectare of crops.
The Dutch distributor says farmers have had problems keeping the spicy sauce on the crops because of the rainy Dutch climate, but they believe they have solved that problem by mixing the sauce with a sticky substance. The concoction is only sprayed on parts of the plant that are not harvested to spare the taste buds of consumers.
There still needs to be more research before Dutch officials give Tabasco use their stamp of approval, allowing distributors to sell it on a large scale. That is not expected for another year. Meanwhile, the Tabasco company is said to be happy, although they are not advertising this latest use of their product, yet.