SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Whole Foods Market's sale of bunny meat (same breed as pet rabbits) is drawing widespread criticism. In a statement from SaveABunny and the House Rabbit Society, over 70 businesses, humane societies, animal rescue groups, and over 10,000 people, have already petitioned Whole Foods Market to immediately stop the sale of rabbit meat. On August 17th, protests will be held outside 40+ Whole Foods Markets 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, says, "Other stores look to Whole Foods Market to emulate their success. 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 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 nonprofit rescue organization and recipient of the prestigious ASPCA "Angels In Top Hats" award, questions Whole Foods' claims of "customer demand." Says Ms. Schaaf, "Whole Foods has jeopardized its brand image and betrayed the trust of their loyal customers with PR 'green-washing' and a lack of transparency to customers and employees about the type of rabbit meat being butchered. Whole Foods is killing and selling the meat of 8 week old baby bunnies that are barely weaned. They are still deeply connected to their mothers and siblings. There is nothing humane about this."
A survey conducted of 39 California Whole Foods Stores revealed that only one of 39 store managers interviewed knew they were selling domestic rabbit meat. Most believed the meat came from either wild rabbits or from the country of New Zealand.
Whole Foods declined to explain the contradiction in their decision to kill rabbits while promoting products not tested on the same type of rabbits. Whole Foods Executives response to consumer complaints is a form letter claiming "sensitivity to the issue", while touting the "highest standards" for large scale rabbit meat production with "the goal of creating standards for other companies to follow."
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 a 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 that rescues abandoned rabbits, finds permanent homes for them and leads educational and research efforts on proper rabbit care. For more information, visit www.rabbit.org
SOURCE SaveABunny; House Rabbit Society