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rabbit investigation

LCA's Investigation Reveals Extreme Cruelty at the Pel Freez Slaughterhouse in Rogers, Arkansas

LCA' Sam Simon Special Investigations Unit has revealed the true horror of the largest rabbit slaughterhouse in the United States: the Pel Freez processing plant in Rogers, Arkansas. Our investigator worked in the "kill room" as a blood catcher, collecting rabbit blood in vials for medical research. 

At Pel-Freez, workers put rabbits through a torturous slaughtering process that only ends when the mangled rabbit takes a knife through its screaming throat. The dead rabbits are sold for meat – sometimes under the "humanely raised" label – and their brains and blood are sold to biomedical companies.

LCA's investigation revealed cruelty throughout the entire slaughter process:

  • First, workers beat the rabbits on their heads with the dull edge of a knife repeatedly, in an ineffective effort to stun them. Many rabbits funnel to the next stage of slaughter in full consciousness with bloody cross marks on their foreheads.
  • Then, a worker snaps the animal's hind legs and clamps the twitching rabbit into shackles so it hangs helplessly by its feet. Rabbits who were ineffectively stunned in the first step scream in agony as their broken bones rip through their skin.
  • Finally, the rabbit suffers decapitation — often from a dull knife. Instead of a swift death, many rabbits undergo vicious sawing and hacking, drawing out their already barbaric end. Rabbits are normally silent creatures; it takes a lot for them to cry out. Their final screams indicate they are experiencing extreme pain.

LCA files an FTC complaint against a brand packaged by Pel-Freez

On May 19, 2015, LCA filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against meat retailer D’Artagnan, Inc. for deceptive and unfair advertising practices. D’Artagnan is a “gourmet” company that sells rabbit meat packaged at the Pel-Freez slaughterhouse. 

The D’Artagnan website’s rabbit meat page boasts dedication to “best animal welfare practices” and a commitment to partner only with facilities that “raise and process the rabbits humanely.” D'Artagnan sells rabbit meat at a higher price tag, partly because of a promise that the animals are treated humanely. As the FTC complaint points out, consumers willing to pay more for "humane" meat are being misled by D’Artagnan.

Supermarkets are listening

Gelson’s  VICTORY!  After LCA petitioned and protested Gelson’s for selling Pel-Freez rabbit, the chain pulled all rabbit meat from the shelves. Gelson’s Senior Director of Meat and Sead confirmed that all locations have stopped carrying rabbit meat. 

Harris Teeter VICTORY!  Harris Teeter's corporate office confirmed with LCA that they will no longer carry Pel-Freez rabbit meat. They have pulled all Pel-Freez products from the shelves, and stated that they “do not intend to do any further business with Pel-Freez."

Whole Foods VICTORY!  Whole Foods announced they will stop selling rabbit meat. Special thanks to the Rabbit Advocacy Network, SaveABunny, and House Rabbit Society for their tireless efforts to end rabbit meat at Whole Foods.

Bristol Farms After LCA petitioned and protested Bristol Farms, the company discontinued selling Pel-Freez. However, LCA has learned that Bristol Farms now carries rabbit meat processed by a different brand:  De Bruin Brothers/Iowa Rabbit. This company was exposed for animal cruelty by NBC News Bay Area.

You can help end rabbits

Pel-Freez gets away with marketing their products of animal torture as wholesome and healthy alternatives to other meats. Make sure they have to answer for their animal cruelty.

1. Do not purchase rabbit products, such as meat, fur, or rabbits' feet.

2. Remember to adopt, don't shop.  If you or a friend wants to have a rabbit as a pet, please adopt a rabbit from your local shelter.


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