Success: Whole Foods Stops Selling Rabbit Meat

Target: John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market

Goal: Applaud Whole Foods’ decision to end the sale of rabbit meat.

Major multinational grocer Whole Foods Market has stopped selling rabbit meat in its stores. Thanks to fervent protest from the general public and to a petition by the ForceChange community, the chain has stopped participating in the slaughter of rabbits for food. The company’s remaining rabbit meat will be “sold-through” by January 2016. Certain Whole Foods stores had begun to carry rabbit meat products in 2014 as a “pilot program.”

Widespread consumer complaint led to an investigation into Whole Foods’ source farms. Led by NBC Bay Area, the investigation into the chain’s rabbit suppliers revealed inhumane standards and food safety violations. Inspectors found rabbits confined to small cages, left in cold weather with no shelter from the elements, and no access to water. These conditions were in total breach of the company’s own animal welfare standards of “no crates, cages or tethers.” Unfortunately, the company cited low “sales volumes” as a justification to end the pilot program, showing itself to favor profit over animal welfare.

No doubt, this move is a huge success for rabbits. Indeed, with Whole Foods being a major retailer, selling rabbit meat would have set a damaging precedent country-wide and promoted rabbit as a food product. Rather than add more species to the list of animals it sells for meat, Whole Foods should focus on sustainable food sources instead. Meat production of any kind carries adverse health effects and causes far more environmental damage than plant-based foods. There is also no “humane” way to slaughter an animal who does not want to die, be it a rabbit, a pig, a cow or a chicken.

Applaud Whole Foods’ decision to remove rabbit from its aisles and urge the company to reduce its other meat offerings in order to replace them with humane, healthy and sustainable foods.


Dear Mr. Mackey,

Thank you for taking the reasonable decision of ending your company’s sale of rabbit meat. A recent statement by Whole Foods cites low sales volumes as the reason for removing rabbit from your aisles. However, as you are certainly aware, there are also a number of ethical concerns involved with selling rabbit meat.

An investigation led by NBC Bay Area into your rabbit meat suppliers found animals kept in tiny cages and left out in cold weather with no shelter from the elements and no access to water. These conditions were in total breach of your company’s own stated animal welfare standards of “no crates, cages or tethers.”

This decision is great news for rabbits. Carrying rabbit meat in your stores, and thus popularizing it as a food item, would have resulted in the mass slaughter of these gentle animals. Moreover, raising and killing animals for meat can never be a humane practice, no matter how high welfare standards are. It is additionally unhealthy and unsustainable — animal agriculture now pollutes more than the entire transportation industry. Alongside applauding Whole Foods for taking this laudable step for rabbits, I urge you to reduce your company’s sale of meat items as a whole and replace them with humane, healthy and sustainable plant-based foods.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures

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One Comment

  1. Perfect! Sales of rabbit meat has stopped.
    Sure glad I don’t eat rabbits.

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