Why the rabbit groups' action against Whole Foods is more than just species-specific outrage
This weekend, rabbit protection groups around the country will be holding outreach events outside of 40 Whole Foods locations in order to raise awareness about the fact that Whole Foods is now selling rabbit meat.
I just got an email from a colleague and fellow animal advocate who asked me to clarify our reasons for targeting Whole Foods, rather than say, a fur farm. She asked, "Is it just the thought of pets being eaten that's so troubling? I've been reading a lot of articles about it and keep finding myself torn between supporting the protest because I support any protest of meat and wanting to say that they're targeting the only company that enforces welfare standards and provides vegan options. What are your thoughts? Is this an issue of species-specific outrage?"
Since I know other vegans/vegetarians and animal advocates have similar questions, I thought I would turn my response into a post here.
We've looked closely at Whole Foods' new standards (see here for a close analysis) and the reality is they are not very humane at all. In between all the nice language about the rabbits being able to live in group housing, there are so many exceptions and qualifications for the producers that it is clear that the growers still have the leeway to raise the rabbits much the same way as they have already been raised. The cage sizes for the babies is still the same inadequate size, females can still be kept isolated, and babies are still weaned at a ridiculously young age.