Jun 25, 2014

The Richmond-based House Rabbit Society is calling for a boycott on shopping at Whole Foods Market Inc. over an apparent decision to sell rabbit meat at its Northern California stores.

On Wednesday, the House Rabbit Society sent a letter to Whole Food CEO John Mackey urging the popular supermarket chain to stop selling rabbit meat.

After cats and dogs, rabbits are the “third most popular companion mammal,” the House Rabbit Society argued, adding that even those without a pet rabbit find it “abhorrent” to eat the animal.

We’re awaiting a response from Whole Foods on this matter. Below is the letter sent by the House Rabbit Society to Mackey:



  1. What a ridiculous and misguided campaign. Just because some folks see rabbits as pets doesn’t mean others aren’t entitled to view them as a food source.

    Rabbit meat is high in protein, low in fat, part of a healthy diet, and delicious! Some people view chickens as pets, and goats, too. Does that mean we should stop eating them? Goats, BTW, are the world’s number one source of animal protein. Even more than swine.

    Andronico’s and Berkeley Bowl have been selling rabbit meat for years with no issues.

    Some view horses as pets, yet others view them as domesticated work animals, and others as food.

    It seems this is an incredibly class-based argument — don’t eat animals that we progressive, white, Berkeley liberals don’t want you to eat. These rabbits, like the pigs, chickens, cows, ducks, goats, and most of our fish and shellfish, are farm raised with the goal of being consumed by humans.

    I fully support this organization’s petition to Whole Foods to stop selling rabbit meat as it is one private organization lobbying another private organization. But I hope Whole Foods will not buckle under pressure from this small minority.

    PS – In many parts of the world, cats and dogs are considered food. For better or worse, the idea of having animals as pets is very much a Western construct. Just look at Iran, which has banned the keeping of pets by households because it is decadent Western behavior. Now isn’t that a better fight to have than with Whole Foods?

    Tony Fairfax | Jun 30th, 2014
  2. So you’d be ok with dog and cat in the meat case too?

    Mike H | Jul 4th, 2014
  3. Tony, You answered your own response. This is” western construct”. We dont eat pets here. So if you would like to eat pets I advise going to a less civilized area so you can hunt your rabbit ,dog, cat or goat to eat instead of having it farmed inhumanely.

    Heidi Hallowell | Jun 30th, 2014
  4. So are you the arbiter of what animal is a “pet?” In your examples of rabbit, dog, cat, and goat, these are animals that some people and cultures regard as pets, and others as food. It is not a matter of who is more civilized or not, but what is culturally relevant and accepted by an individual who chooses to consume one of these animals.

    As studies have shown, cats and dogs are far less “intelligent” than we would love to believe. We have attributed human feelings/emotions/intelligence on them because it makes us feel better as their caretakers.

    Tony Fairfax | Jun 30th, 2014
  5. Who cares who sees what animal as a pet in any part of the world? By your logic dogs and cats are the only pets that matter then, right? The pet rabbit community is far larger then you will ever know Tony. Your cultural references are irrelevant here and does not change the fact that rabbits ARE in fact one of the most popular house pets in this country, and are NOT a necessity to slaughter and consume. This NEW rollout (still in its initial implementation phase) by WF offends way more people than it will attract. So hell yes the rabbit community is going to speak up and fight now while there is an opportunity to put pressure on them to retract this ridiculous move. I’d bet if puppy, kitty or guinea pig carcass were being sold whole-bodied at the supermarket you would not hesitate to be the first in line.

    Marmi | Jul 4th, 2014

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.