Richmond’s House Rabbit Society plans protests at Whole Foods stores over rabbit meat sales

The House Rabbit Society is set to hold peaceful protests at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide Sunday to oppose a recent decision to sell rabbit meat.
Photo courtesy of the House Rabbit Society.

The Richmond-based House Rabbit Society (HRS) has planned protests at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide on Sunday to oppose the company’s recent decision to sell rabbit meat.

HRS, a national nonprofit rescuing abandoned rabbits, has also called for a boycott of Whole Foods stores over the decision, saying rabbits should not be consumed because they are the “third most popular companion mammal” behind cats and dogs.

Protests are planned at more than 40 stores nationwide (full list here). A protest planned for the Berkeley Whole Foods at 3000 Telegraph Ave. will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Organizers are asking fellow protesters to “bring photos of your happy bunnies at home to show customers what bunnies are like.”

“Your goal is to inform customers of Whole Foods’ decision, let them know what wonderful animals rabbits are, remind them how popular rabbits are as pets, and let them know that the company’s “humane standards” in terms of how the rabbits are being raised and killed are really just greenwashing PR,” HRS said.

In June, Whole Foods responded to HRS’ concerns by publishing a blog post entitled “Why is Whole Foods Market Carrying Rabbits?” The post defended the company’s treatment of rabbits and stated that rabbit meat is having a resurgence in American dining, adding that it is healthier and more sustainable than other meats. According to the post:

“At a time when buzzwords like ‘organic,’ ‘local” and “sustainable’ are driving the market, rabbit is ripe for resurgence. According to Slow Food USA, rabbit can produce 6 pounds of meat using the same amount of food and water it takes for a cow to produce only 1 pound. Not to mention the health benefits. Rabbit is a lean meat that is higher in protein but lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than many other meats, including chicken, beef and pork.”