Animal Rights Activists Face Off Against WeHo Deputies as They Protest Whole Foods Rabbit Meat

Mon, Aug 18, 2014   By Staff    68 Comments

Animal rights activists faced off against Sheriff’s deputies as they staged a demonstration on Sunday in front of the Whole Foods grocery store in West Hollywood to protest the grocer’s decision to sell meat from domestic rabbits.

Whole FoodsThe demonstration was one of more than 40 around the country. About 20 activists rallied in the parking lot outside the Whole Foods store at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Fairfax. They carried signs and chanted “Whole Foods has blood on its hands!” Demonstrators also collected signatures from shoppers.

The demonstration was an effort to raise the issue before Whole Foods actually makes rabbit meat available at its Los Angeles stores.

“Whole Foods calls rabbits ‘fryers’ and that tells you everything you need to know,” said Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast director of Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), who has been active in West Hollywood animal rights issues.

“Rabbits are not ‘fryers’,” she said. “They are beloved companion animals. Whole Foods is going to face a sustained boycott and protest campaign if they think they can get away with the sale of butchered companion animals in our city. We are the folks who successfully stopped LA pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits from cruel commercial breeding factories. How can we allow Whole Foods to sell them dead?

“We want the names and USDA license numbers of every single dead rabbit supplier so we can examine their facilities and inspection reports. We plan to enact legislation to make the sale of butchered companion animals illegal in our city. The sale of dead rabbits is simply barbaric and Whole Foods is not in step with LA’s progressive stance regarding animal protection.”

The West Hollywood participants said the manager of Whole Foods demanded they move away from the front of the store and to a corner of its parking lot. She said they also were confronted by an unfriendly group of Sheriff’s Department deputies. Davis said a Sheriff’s Department sergeant, whose name she did not obtain, told her that she and others couldn’t demonstrate in the parking lot in front of Whole Foods because it is private property.

“They came up and bullied us,” she said. “They had no idea of the law and what we were and weren’t allowed to do.”

Davis said she told the deputies about a 2007 California Supreme Court decision that allows assembly on private property for the purpose of boycotting a store but that none of the deputies was aware of it.

Davis also said the sergeant continually asked her why she opposed Whole Foods selling rabbit meat and what was wrong with that. She said she replied that she didn’t have to answer his question to exercise her right to  demonstrate.

A video of Davis’ conversation with the deputies was posted on one of the protestor’s Facebook page.

The West Hollywood part of the “National Day of Action and Awareness to Protest the Sale of Rabbit Meat at Whole Foods Market” was organized by CAPS and the Bunny World Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit rescue organization and rabbit advocacy group.

In a press release, the protestors said that 2.5 million households now live with pet rabbits. They also said that a phone survey conducted of 39 Northern California Whole Foods stores revealed that only one of the store managers interviewed were aware that they were selling meat from domestic rabbit breeds. Most believed the meat came from either wild rabbits or from New Zealand.

Whole Foods has responded to consumer complaints with a letter claiming “sensitivity to the issue,” while touting the “highest standards” for large scale rabbit meat production and slaughter with “the goal of creating standards for other companies to follow.”

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West Hollywood Magazine

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  1. Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYsWed, Aug 20, 2014 at 11:50 am

    @Flores Street: stop expecting them to respond with rational thought. “Animal Rights” activists can sometimes be the worst kind of fanatic: they won’t change their mind and they won’t change the subject.

    You are absolutely on point that their activism is self-indulgent. And I, for one, find it ridiculous that this website has spent more time and energy talking about apartment buildings and cross walks and privileged white protest than on the events at Flores.

  2. Gayle RobisonWed, Aug 20, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    The rabbit rights advocates seem to be blissfully unaware that humans have been killing and eating rabbits, both wild and more recently domestic, for tens or more likely hundreds of thousands of years. And here in the US we still do have the right to eat the legal protein of our choice.

    Veganism has reached the point of being a fanatical religion. We need to stop this nonsense in its tracks before these people take away our right to consume any animal products whatsoever. That IS their goal.

    I rarely eat meat, and at least 95% of my meals are vegan, but I deeply resent these people trying to tell me or anyone else what to eat.

  3. Lynn RussellWed, Aug 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Agreed. Although I find them less than credible, they are annoyingly disruptive and dangerous on several levels. If one views the two videos it would appear as though their main spokesperson Carole Raphaelle Davis insinuated an endorsement of their goals and behavior by John D’Amico, current mayor of Weho. While his endorsement would not be surprising, perhaps this should be laid at the feet of Mr. d’Amico as a decision and policy maker. Ms. Davis goal’s seem to be exposure of any kind and at any cost.

  4. Rudolf MartinWed, Aug 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    We already have an arbitrary social contract by which we agree that eating our Top 2 companion animals is somehow barbaric. Can we extend this contract to the 3rd most popular companion animal? Sounds like a reasonable suggestion to me. Hardly a radical one.

    Of course abundant hypocrisy exists. Cows and pigs are extremely intelligent and gentle, sentient creatures as well. Nobody is suggesting introducing hypocrisy and arbitrariness into our society. It’s already there and will remain.

    The argument that people all over the world/ the country/ in europe /all throughout history eat rabbits is hardly a justification. I could make a case against gay rights or for drug addiction with that line of argument. It’s silly.

    The 2 questions should be: A) Should we as a community continue to exempt some companion animal species from being food? B) If so, do we exempt only the Top 1 or 2 or maybe the Top 3 or 5?

    Personally I’d be happy to extend the circle by a few species. Then again I would also ban veal and foie gras if I was king.

    @Lynn Russell: you must have me confused, I said nothing about the amish.

  5. ProvokedWed, Aug 20, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    The idea of killing and eating any sentient being is unacceptable if we wish to call ourselves a “civilized” culture. It’s not necessary and “meat” is never procured “humanely”. No one wishes to die — There are far to many compassionate options to ever attempt to justify eating rabbits or any other creature.

  6. Felicia D.CrispThu, Aug 21, 2014 at 3:08 am

    Whole Foods is opening a doorway for more cruelty on the scale of China’s dog market. Rabbits are living beings with feelings, capable of love and suffering. There are more than enough animals being tortured, genetically engineered, pumped full of hormones, skinned alive, force fed and even molested on factory farms. The video evidence is there for anyone brave enough to see what happens before the dinner plate .Do we really need more of the same for yet another species of animal? I’m not a vegan and don’t need to be to know rabbits, as do all living creatures, deserve some respect and consideration.

  7. California GirlyThu, Aug 21, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Thanks to these animal activists who expose the cruelty to animals in order to make a difference. Those that don’t agree and think it’s okay to treat animals as if they were exclusively made for our consumption without any regard to the suffering they go through are blind to this injustice. I hope they can open their minds and hearts to realize that causing pain and suffering to ANY animal is never acceptable.

  8. Brian Hamilton (@iBrianHamilton)Sat, Aug 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Why aren’t all these people protesting the slaughter of chickens? Oh, because rabbits are “bunnies” and they’re cute and cuddly.

  9. Janelle DixonSun, Aug 24, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Rabbits are food. Petco sells rabbit m,eat and nobody cares about them. Those activists deserve to be escorted off the property. They are nuts!

  10. miskaffonSun, Aug 24, 2014 at 10:28 am

    There are NO creditable numbers “proving” the claim that rabbits are the “third most popular pet species”. The Animal Rights Activists have been asked again, and again, and again to prove this with numbers from any source other than ranks of their own claims. Yet they have *NOT* done so! There are a great number of us who challenge ARA radicals to prove that the majority of the country sees rabbits as pets and pets only.

  11. SlowMoneyFarmSun, Aug 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Rabbits are not the 3rd most popular pet. Not even close. And the 2.5 million is FAR above what veterinarians say for statistics. That said, rabbit is a lean meat that has been meat long before folks made them pets. And this doesn’t sound like the “peaceful protest” handing out leaflets that was promised. I suppose honesty isn’t a big thing.

  12. Diane SonnenbergSun, Aug 24, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I sure hope there are more animal activists around then people like you…

  13. Jessica MSun, Aug 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I’m glad customers weren’t subjected to their hysteria… And while I don’t plan on buying rabbit (I raise my own) I support people being able to buy humanely and locally raised meat. I also eat quite a few vegetarian meals, but I love a good rabbit stew or clam chowder or steak… I would prefer to be able to purchase locally where ever possible and I like the idea of animals being raised in a stress free healthy environment.

  14. Stephen HurtyMon, Aug 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Silly over entitled narcissist’s never eaten anything unless it came from an overpriced market. They don’t eat meat but they love to eat fake meat lol . probably more people have pet plants than animals but they don’t mind eating tomatoes. They are just trying to show everyone they are somehow enlightened but only proving there stupidity.

  15. Diane SonnenbergMon, Aug 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Someone is showing their stupidity. Why would you even call names at people that are trying to stop the suffering of innocent little creatures??

  16. Anger manTue, Aug 26, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Animal abusers, shut your traps

  17. Lisa Roma GraysonFri, Aug 29, 2014 at 6:10 am

    I am not an animal rights activist but I have a PET bunny in my household so yes I am teed off too like many others, who have had or have a PET rabbit in their homes. thank you and
    someone shared this vid this morning so I agree

  18. rabbit ownerMon, Sep 01, 2014 at 2:31 am

    If you go by numbers, fish are actually more common pets than rabbits. So are hamsters. The only way you count rabbits as the third most popular pet is if you count the “hated” show, 4H, meat farmers and breeders who have a hundred or so head, as pet owners. And call one if them a pet owner and see how that goes down. So where are the boycotts for fish? Where are the pork boycotts for all the people with pot bellied pigs as pets? (And there are a LOT of pig owners, and pigs are much smarter than rabbits, hell they are smarter than dogs. They are the fourth smartest species on earth. And they are delicious.) Rats and incredible pets. Where are the rat owners protesting the killing of rats? I raise rabbits. I have pet rabbits that I love. Im not at all opposed to the eating of rabbit. Its a lean, healthy meat. Itseasy to raise and produces a large amount of meat for a small, urban homesteader. The ARAs are preaching insanity. Probably 80% or so of rabbits in the US are not “house rabbits”. They are not concidered pets. They are considered livestock. But besides that, rabbit has been sold in many pet stores all over the country as part of dog foods and dog treats, why isnt that being protested if they are so adamant? This is nothing more than a publicity stunt, an attempt to solicit more attention and donations and for lobying purposes.

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