Boycott Whole Foods

Jun 25, 2014 by

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House Rabbit Society, along with SaveABunny and other rabbit rescue groups, is calling for a boycott of Whole Foods to protest Whole Foods’ decision to sell rabbit meat in their Northern California stores, as well as a handful of other locations.

We estimate that there are anywhere from 6-9 million pet rabbits in the United States, and we know that they are America’s third most popular companion mammal.

This compares to 886,841 rabbits slaughtered by USDA inspected facilities in 2002, and in 2007, that number was 979,563.  Since the USDA only inspects about 25% of rabbit processors, those numbers are at least three times higher, and Whole Foods aims to increase them yet further.

Whole Foods, a store that is shopped at by millions of consumers who care about animals and don’t want them harmed, will now be adding, for the first time ever, a widely beloved pet to their meat cases in order to bring in the profits of those shoppers who have requested them. The rabbits raised for meat are exactly the same as the rabbits living in our homes, snoozing on our couches, begging for treats in the kitchen, and trading nose bonks with the family cat.

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Rabbit operation at True Grass Farms, purchased by Oz in 2013

These are the rabbits who will be bred over and over (Oz Farms, one of the growers who will be supplying Whole Foods in Northern California, brags that “one rabbit can produce up to 320 pounds of meat in a year in just a small area” – Press Democrat, June 20, 2014) until they are spent, while their babies (called “fryers”) are slaughtered, with no protection from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, screaming in pain.

(There are two preferred methods of killing rabbits before their throats are slit–one involves smashing them on the head with a blunt object like an iron bar, and the second involves pulling on their body while snapping their head back, breaking their neck. Neither are foolproof, nor are they painless. They are slaughtered at 9-12 weeks, when they reach 5 pounds, or 2.5 pounds “dressed,” which means butchered.) Oz makes $7.99 for each of the rabbits that they raise, kill and sell (Press Democrat, Jan. 2, 2014).

Image courtesy of Amy Litchfield-Kennedy and Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue

Image courtesy of Amy Litchfield-Kennedy and Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue

With Whole Foods, a major national retailer, adding rabbits (or “rabbit,” as the company’s spokespeople call them, in an attempt to objectify and depersonalize them) to their meat cases, they will make it easier for other major grocery stores to do the same, thereby creating a new demand for rabbit meat and vastly increasing the numbers of these animals being raised and slaughtered around the country, at the exact same time that meat consumption in the United States is on the wane.

We are calling upon our members, supporters, website visitors, and social media followers to make as much noise as possible at as many Whole Foods stores until the company stops selling rabbit meat.