Why Does Vogue Think Whole Foods' Rabbit Meat Is 'Ethical'?

<p>Photo by Dorothy Hatchel of House Rabbit Society</p>

The current issue of Vogue magazine just came out with an article, featured on the cover, called "Hip Hop: Why Rabbit is the Next Ethical Meat."

Rabbit meat is all over the news these days, thanks to Whole Foods' recent decision to begin selling it, and dozens of rabbit rescue and advocacy organizations' work to fight it. Whole Foods' corporate line is that they are simply responding to customer demand, yet it's clear that it's much more than that. They are auto-shipping rabbit meat to stores across the country (contrary to their claim that they are simply testing it in a few limited markets to see how customers respond) in order to create the market, whether the stores want it or not.

So Vogue, not known for their culinary articles, nor for taking a stance on ethical issues, has jumped into the fray with this piece, which claims that rabbits are "the ultimate guilt-free meat." It is certainly true that raising rabbits for meat is less wasteful and better for the planet than, say, cows or pigs, but it's also true that if you care about the planet, eating any animal at all is as wasteful as you can get. While it takes seven pounds of feed to produce one pound of beef, it takes four pounds of feed to produce one pound of rabbit meat. That's still three pounds of food that is thrown away to get one pound of meat, not to mention all of the water that is needed to produce that wasted food.

In addition, far more lives are lost when one eats small animals than when one eats a large animal. Frankly, if we wanted to eat "ethical" meat, we should all be eating whales. At least we would be killing fewer animals. But the question is, does Vogue really care about ethics at all?

After all, Vogue is a fashion magazine, and there is not an issue that is produced that does not feature massive amounts of fur in either its editorials or its advertisements. Fur, as we all know, is not, and cannot be, produced ethically. Fur, whether taken from rabbits, foxes, or minks, comes from animals who spend their lives in wire cages on fur farms, and are then anally electrocuted, suffocated, or gassed to death, so that the readers of Vogue can wear beautiful, expensive fur coats, or dresses or boots that are trimmed with fur. Wild-caught animals are generally caught in brutal steel-jaw traps, after which they are strangled or beaten to death.

It's not surprising that Vogue would take a stand on the rabbit meat issue. They certainly want to encourage the consumption of an animal whom they already encourage their readers to wear. It is surprising that they would have the nerve to lead with the term "ethical," given their own practices.