Where I blab about bunnies and encourage your bunny (and other animal) stories.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Restaurant menus

I got this wonderful email from a BunnyBlab reader...

Hi, I just discovered your website!!! How exciting. We (my husband included) love our 'little' Nellie so very much, I don't know what in the world I would do without her. She is a Netherland Dwarf who is QUEEN of our home.

What I am really writing about though, is something else entirely. I have become quite upset recently with the addition of 'rabbit' to many upscale restaurants here in the Northeast. It is just disgusting to me to even think about. I have written letters about this and called various restaurants. However, it requires a larger effort. Do you have any thoughts on this? They are pets, not food. Just as a cat or dog---one would never find 'cat' or 'dog' on a menu in America. We really need some effort on their behalf. It degrades them and places them in a lowly category. Help!!
--Emily C.

Here was my response:


I'm so glad you wrote me about this.

I couldn't agree more with you. My husband, Paul, and I wanted to go someplace for my birthday last year in Boston -- some place kind of swanky. So we tried Hammersley's, a place we've been saving for a special occasion. You guessed it, no sooner did we sit down than Paul opened his menu and saw rabbit on the menu and we were up and out and looking for a new place. We had to hit almost 5 more restaurants on the street before we found one without lagamorph on the menu. So that's how we deal with it -- I usually check the menu ahead of time, but sometimes we forget and then Paul has taken to looking at menus first. We get up and walk of plenty of restaurants (not only here in the Boston area, but in California, Florida, etc.) if they have bunny. It's disgusting, you're right.

I could understand a little bit if it were only French restaurants or only restaurants in rural areas, where rabbit is actually part of the cuisine and heritage. I still wouldn't eat at those places, but I feel like if it's a cultural thing, who am I to judge, even if I love rabbits as animals and not as meat sources? But it's not just those places, it definitely seems to be more prevalent in "normal" nice restaurants, as you've mentioned. I'm not aware of any formal motion to pull rabbit off menus, but I'm sure interested in any if you come across it. I think the best thing we can do is to walk out at this point. Spend our money at places that choose not to butcher the brothers and sisters of our beloved pets.

There is an entire industry of rabbit farms, where the animals are kept in conditions no loving creature should be confined to, just to be grown and slaughtered for their meat. In a country where cows, chickens, etc. are not rare, I'm at a loss as to why this occurs.

Riding the line of yick vs. acceptable, my brother and his wife and 2 kids have a pot-bellied pig. For 17 years, she's been a loving and wonderful (if misunderstood) part of our family. We all still eat pork and bacon, though. And we try not to think too much about where it came from. I suppose everyone has known an animal at some point who has had a loving heart, only to have a similar meat served up on their dinner plate. This is, after all, the way of life on farms. Although those animals do not live in the home and are not awarded "family member" status, as pets are.

I think the difference with rabbits is that us rabbit-lovers are just insane about our bunnies! :-) That and they are very popular -- the 3rd most common animal in shelters in the U.S., if that's any indication.

Let's vote with our wallets to frequent the places that don't degrade themselves to serving rabbit meat. And keep calling! You never know when it'll make a difference!

BTW, I've had 2 ND mixes, one of which was just full of little attitude -- just like Napoleon!


Wanna weigh in on this issue? Comment on this post and let your thoughts be heard.

Do you have a way for restaurants to get our beloved pets off their menus? I'd love to hear about it.

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