Hath not a rabbit the capacity to feel?

"I am not meat."

Whole Foods Market recently began a pilot program to sell rabbit flesh in its stores. Rabbit flesh is being sold in 5 out of 12 geographic regions, including our Midwest region. Rabbit protection groups from around the country have been in dialogue with Whole Foods Corporate about this issue, but at this point they have been unsuccessful in their efforts to get Whole Foods to reconsider rabbit flesh sales.

You may be wondering how the sale of rabbit flesh warrants protest when so many other equally-sentient animals are tortured, killed, and sold as food everyday. Here are the key points that the House Rabbit Society would like you to consider:

  • Whole Foods is artificially creating the demand for rabbit flesh by awarding large financial grants to rabbit farmers.
  • They are sourcing from rabbit farms in Iowa and Missouri, the two states that have passed Ag-gag laws that make it illegal for undercover investigators to document abuse behind factory farm walls.
  • Rabbits (like poultry) have almost no protections under the law. Farmed rabbits suffer horribly from birth to slaughter.
  • None of us wants to see an entirely new animal flesh successfully marketed and consumed.
  • In comparison to some other farmed animals, rabbits are very small in size. As they are so small, many more individuals will die to satisfy a manufactured interest in eating rabbit flesh.
  • Rabbits are the third most popular companion mammal in the United States and are regularly rescued and sheltered alongside cats and dogs. By creating a culture of violence against rabbits, Whole Foods will make every aspect of helping rabbits in rescues and shelters harder.
  • Whole Foods is trying to normalize the idea of eating a popular companion animal.

The Rabbit Advocacy Network is organizing a Day of Action for Sunday, August 17th at the Whole Foods Market in St. Paul, 30 Fairview Avenue South, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. You are welcome to attend this peaceful demonstration with the goal of 1) informing customers of this pilot program and 2) urging shoppers to speak up to Whole Foods by filling out comment cards, speaking to management, sending emails, or writing letters. You are also welcome to sign the petition.

This cause presents an opportunity to show rabbit-lovers and Whole Foods shoppers that we don’t draw distinctions between how we treat one species and another, whether they be dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, fishes, cows, pigs, turkeys, or any other sentient being. Widening our circle of compassion beyond those animals that we know, we begin to understand how all are deserving of our kindness.

For more information about the upcoming demonstration at Whole Foods Market, contact Amy Ramnaraine, the local contact for the Rabbit Advocacy Network, at oneshanti@visi.com.

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