Press Release for Day of Action

Aug 16, 2014 by

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2014

Contacts:

Marcy Schaaf , Founder and Executive Director, SaveABunny, Inc.
415-203-2790, marcy.saveabunny@gmail.com

Margo DeMello, Co-author of Stories Rabbits Tell; President, House Rabbit Society
510-970-7575, 505-771-3157, margo@rabbit.org

Animal Lovers Unite for “A Day of Action and Awareness” on Sunday, August 17th, 2014 to Protest the Sale of Rabbit Meat at Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market’s sale of bunny meat (same breed as pet rabbits) is drawing widespread criticism. Over 70 businesses, humane societies, animal rescue groups, as well as 10,000 people, have petitioned Whole Foods Market to immediately stop the sale of rabbit meat. On August 17th, community protests will be held outside 40+ Whole Foods Market locations nationwide (http://rabbit.org/day-of-action-focused-on-whole-foods-august-17/). According to the 2012 American Pet Products Association (APPA), 2.5 million households now live with pet rabbits.

Margo DeMello, co-author of Stories Rabbits Tell (Lantern 2003) and President of House Rabbit Society, an international rabbit advocacy group, considers Whole Foods Market’s action to be one of the biggest threats to the welfare of rabbits in history. Says DeMello, “Other stores look to Whole Foods to emulate their success. If Whole Foods continues their program, millions of rabbits will be killed annually for an artificial demand created by Whole Foods. While their animal welfare standards are minimal at best, Whole Foods Market is sourcing the rabbits in states with Ag-gag laws that restrict outside inspection and verification of standards. The company has not allowed animal welfare advocates to confirm their claims and standards. This should greatly concern their customers.”

Marcy Schaaf, Founder of SaveABunny, Inc., a Northern California-based nonprofit rescue organization and recipient of the ASPCA’s “Angels in Top Hats” award, questions Whole Foods’ claims of “customer demand.” Says Ms. Schaaf, “Whole Foods Market has jeopardized its brand image and betrayed the trust of their loyal customer base with PR ‘green-washing’ and a lack of transparency to customers and employees about the type of rabbit meat being butchered. There is likely higher demand NOT to sell rabbit meat. Whole Foods is killing and selling the meat of 8 week old baby bunnies that are barely weaned and are still deeply connected to their mothers and siblings. There is nothing humane about this.”

A phone survey conducted of 39 Northern California Whole Foods Market Stores revealed that only one of 39 store managers interviewed were aware that they were selling meat from domestic rabbit breeds. Most believed the meat came from either wild rabbits or from New Zealand. Most employees said they were very unhappy about the decision–especially those employees who have shared their lives with pet rabbits along with cats and dogs.

Whole Foods Market has repeatedly declined to explain the contradiction in their decision to kill rabbits while promoting products not tested on the very same type of rabbits. Whole Foods Executives have responded to consumer complaints with a form letter claiming “sensitivity to the issue,” while touting the “highest standards” for large scale rabbit meat production and slaughter with “the goal of creating standards for other companies to follow.”

Lisa Rockwell, who started the petition which surpassed 10,000 signatures, says “I was horrified to see rabbit meat at my local Whole Foods. It was offensive and condescending for Whole Foods Markets to send me a form letter about their standards. Standards are not the issue. They are selling the meat of pet breed rabbits, just like mine.”

For further information, please see http://www.saveabunny.org/stop-whole-foods-rabbit-meat and http://rabbit.org/tell-whole-foods-to-stop-killing-bunnies/.

SaveABunny is an award-winning, volunteer-based nonprofit rabbit rescue organization headquartered in Northern California. The organization specializes in the rescue and re-homing of abandoned, abused and neglected rabbits. For more information, visit www.saveabunny.org

House Rabbit Society is an international, volunteer-based nonprofit organization with two primary goals: 1) to rescue abandoned rabbits and find permanent homes for them; 2) to educate the public and assist humane societies in teaching proper rabbit care. For more information, visit www.rabbit.org