FOR years rabbit was regarded as “poor man’s chicken”.

It was last eaten widely during the World War II, when other meat was scarce, but sales are up 20 per cent on last year at Marks & Spencer, which has led to the appearance of game cuts, such as rabbit loins and pheasant and rabbit casserole on supermarket shelves.

Pheasant sales are also up, by 30 per cent, venison by 92 per cent at Waitrose, while partridge sales are up by a massive 234 per cent.

Whether these increases are due to the recession or have come about due to the influence of “celebrity” chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Fergus Henderson, who encourage the use of game as well as “nose-to-tail” dining, is not known.

It could well be a mixture of both.

Game is relatively cheap in comparison to mainstream meats such as beef, lamb and pork.