WARSAW, Poland – The Polish government is encouraging citizens to go forth and multiply like rabbits.
The health ministry of Poland, which has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, has put out a short video praising rabbits for producing many offspring.
The YouTube video shows rabbits munching on lettuce and carrots while a rabbit "narrator" reveals the secret of their big families — exercise, a healthy diet and little stress. The brief appearance of a human couple enjoying a romantic picnic hints that a little romance might help, and a wine glass turned upside down suggested an anti-alcohol message.
Viewers are told: "If you ever want to be a parent, follow the example of rabbits."
It is the latest step by the conservative government in this mostly Catholic country of 38 million to reverse a shrinking population. European Union figures show that Poland's birth rate was 1.32 children per woman in 2015. Only Portugal had a lower fertility rate, though the figures in Spain and Greece were almost as low as Poland.
The Health Ministry said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was trying to encourage Poles in their reproductive years — between the ages of 18 and 45 — to adopt a healthy lifestyle that would improve their reproductive health.
It also said it was seeking to raise public awareness of the issue in a way that "did not offend anyone and was not vulgar."