Germany's top rabbit breeder Erwin Leowsky irked by Pope Francis'
Germany's top rabbit breeder Erwin Leowsky irked by Pope Francis' "don't breed like rabbits" comment.Creative Commons/Timur

Pope Francis, who advised Catholics not to "breed like rabbits," miffed the community of rabbit breeders who accused the Pontiff of not knowing much about the tiny mammals.

During an interview on board his flight from Philippines to Italy, following his week-long Asia trip, Pope Francis, alluding to family planning, had advised Catholics to "stop breeding like rabbits".

Recollecting an interaction with a pregnant woman who already had seven children through caesarean sections, the Argentinian Pontiff said, "That is irresponsibility!"

"Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits...but no," Reuters had reported the Pope as saying.

While the comment was publicised by media outlets, mostly in a good light, rabbit breeders seem to have taken offence that the Pope compared Catholics who have more children than they can handle, to rabbits.

Erwin Leowsky, the president of the German Rabbit Breeders Association, was quoted by The Telegraph as saying, "He should really think harder about giving up expressions like that and allow people to use contraception instead. I think it would be much more appropriate than saying such stupid things."

Leowsky explained that the compulsive intercourse of animals is existent more in wild animals rather than domestic ones like rabbits that are bred in captivity.