Food Marketing News Whole Foods sells rabbit meat

Published on August 18th, 2014 | by Jill Ettinger


Selling Rabbit Meat Spurs Nationwide Protests at Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods sells rabbit meat

Bunny rabbits are so cute, soft, cuddly…delicious? That’s apparently what Whole Foods customers think —and the chain has begun selling rabbit meat. The move has brought with it a slew of protests at select Whole Foods locations, reports WTVR, the Richmond, VA-based CBS affiliate.

Do Whole Foods Customers Want to Eat Rabbit Meat?

While rabbit meat isn’t going to be sold at every Whole Foods location (yet), stores throughout some of its busiest regions in the Mid Atlantic, Northeast and Northern California, will all be offering rabbit meat to customers. And nonprofit House Rabbit Society, an international animal welfare organization, isn’t happy about it.

“Nationwide protests were staged this weekend in response to the Whole Foods Market decision to sell rabbit meat in select stores. Some people say eating a rabbit is like eating a pet,” reports WTVR.

In a statement released by Whole Foods, the company says the rabbit meat will be meet the strict animal welfare standards already in place for all of its other animal products. “Whole Foods Market is sensitive to the companion animal issue and we understand this product won’t appeal to everyone,” Spokeswoman Katie Malloy told WTVR. “However, for those customers who have been asking us to carry rabbit, it’s our job to make sure we offer the highest-quality product from responsible sources. A number of shoppers have been asking Whole Foods Market to carry rabbit for years but conventional raising practices do not meet our rigorous animal welfare standards.”

Rabbit meat has become popular among urban farming operations as rabbits are animals that can easily be raised in small yards or gardens. But critics of the practice fear factory farming conditions similar to those in the production of other animal products, which come with not only ethical welfare issues, but environmental concerns as well. Rabbit meat also elicits a reaction similar to that of veal, which Whole Foods is currently selling from ‘humane’ veal ranchers. Yes, rabbits and baby cows qualify as meat options, technically, but is that really what Whole Foods’ customers want? Only time will tell if bunnies have as much salability as carrots.

Rabbit image via Shutterstock

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About the Author

Jill Ettinger is co-director of Eat Drink Better. She is the senior editor at and A focus on food, herbs, wellness and world cultural expressions, Jill explores what our shifting food, healing systems and creative landscapes will look, sound and taste like in the future. Stay in touch on Twitter @jillettinger and .

10 Responses to Selling Rabbit Meat Spurs Nationwide Protests at Whole Foods Market

  1. barbats says:

    what a bunch of flippin idiots..

  2. Becky Striepe says:

    I think it’s so interesting that people are fine with the slaughter of a cow or pig but not a rabbit. If you don’t want to eat bunnies, how do you justify killing other animals for food?

  3. Bunnymom says:

    Eating rabbit meat is disgusting. Would you eat a dog or cat. They are pets, you asshole foodies!

  4. disqus_BNbEfrPmXP says:

    I don’t understand what’s the problem with rabbit meat. Rabbits have been raised for there meat since medieval times and hunted long before that. If my local Whole foods carried rabbit I would certainly give it a try.

  5. Jamie Peterson says:

    No bunnies please in Whole Foods. I didn’t know this was happening! I go and get my quinoa, oils, pastas,cakes, etc. for my family regularly. Please Whole Foods take this item off

    • Abby says:

      If you don’t like it, you shouldn’t eat it. It is not up to you to determine other’s options just because you are squeamish about it. If you choose to not eat meat that is your prerogative, but others make equally health conscious and ethical choices to do otherwise. Rabbits, in my opinion, are almost a better meat option – they currently could be considered an invasive species as their population has been allowed to spiral out of control since we’ve destroyed the habitats of all their natural predators. Granted, Whole Foods is probably not selling hunted rabbits (which would be amazing) but they are trying to provide a variety of protein options for consumers and I think that’s a great thing. As for rabbits being pets – that is a cultural trend. In most other countries, rabbit and other small game are frequently eated. Heck, in most of America rabbits are considered food first and pets second.

  6. Ned Hamson says:

    No longer a meat eater for past 30+ years but… The meat you choose to eat, is culturally determined to a large extent. The problem for all of us is the industrialized approach to “farming” of veggies, fruits, marine life, insects, mammals, reptiles, and birds. Overgrowing for profit means overlording over the environment and in the end we pay with famine and disease as the natural system does its job of re-balancing what we have unbalanced. Raising bunnies, grasshoppers, clams, snails, fruit bats, or quail and sparrows for eating on too large a scale is no better that plowing up millions of acres of land not suitable for wheat or corn – as the dust storms in China now attest to the failure of its and Russia’s virgin land pushes. And the dust storms of the US when similar land was mishandled and the way fracking is being mishandled now.

  7. blueyes48 says:

    We raised and sold our meat rabbits for years. I would like to emphasize that farm raised rabbits are not pets, and are not Cute Fluffy Bunnies. We raised them in an ethical manner, and they enjoyed their lives, but we raised them for meat. Humans are no different than the other animals who depend on wild rabbits (not the same genus) for food. So get over your childish delusions, and stop trying to tell others what to do.

  8. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Healthy recipes, good food: sustainable eats for a healthy lifestyle!

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