Captain Hoppity and Sergeant Flopsy up there might become the new trendy protein at your local Whole Foods, and the powerful and influential (nope) Bunny Lobby is not happy about it.
The company is currently product-testing rabbit meat for sale at locations in Northern California and DC. They'd like to reassure everyone that they have, in fact, done their research, and the animals are not being mistreated:
"For many years, lots of customers have requested that we carry rabbit," reads the release. "But first we needed to ensure the rabbit we sold would be consistent with [Whole Foods Markets'] high animal welfare standards."
Some of Whole Foods' standards include group pens for the rabbits, because they like to socialize in groups; continuous access to drinking water, feed, roughage, gnawing blocks etc.; treatment when the rabbits are injured; and allowing mother rabbits to nurse and recover before being re-bred.
I have to say, those sound like some pretty ethical farming practices, especially considering the horror stories you hear out of factory farms. It's not enough for the House Rabbit Society, however, who are staging a day of action tomorrow in protest.
It's important to note that rabbit is a staple food in many cultures. They're not exactly a threatened species (quite the opposite in a lot of countries), and if you look at it logically, there's absolutely no reason we should be eating cows and sheep and pigs and chickens, but not rabbits — other than the fact that rabbits are significantly cuter than the others on that list (which, to be fair, they REALLY are). There are no restrictions on rabbit meat in the US; you can order it online and through meat suppliers the same way you could other popular meats. It's also become a popular restaurant dish — unsurprising when one considers the prevalence of rabbit as a foodstuff in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.
At this risk of making it so that Callie won't talk to me any more,* I'll admit that I had rabbit once. I was 13 and didn't have a huge amount of choice (the other option, and I am absolutely serious here, was squirrel), but...OK, it was actually really good. There. I said it. Bunnies are delicious. I am horrible.
* You might be wondering why I have sympathy for Callie but not Mark, here. Given the stuff Mark has made me look at (there are photos that he couldn't print for some of those weird sex stories, and for some reason I was given the dubious privilege of being sent them), a discussion of the relative tastiness of bunnies is the least he can endure in penance.
Image via djem/Shutterstock.