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Rabbit meat rarely comes from wild rabbits. It might be sold as game, but the rabbit meat available in supermarkets and the like almost always comes from rabbits who were farmed intensively, in conditions just as bad as those of battery chickens. In Europe, one of the main producers is France.
The worst excesses of battery chicken farming have now been banned in the EU. Rabbits, however, have no such protection. These intelligent, sociable animals are crammed into tiny wire cages with no opportunity to exhibit any natural behaviour. They suffer enormously during their brief lives, and then are slaughtered in conditions less regulated than those of other farm animals.
Rabbits do not deserve this and France should not be allowing it. Ask the French government to take the lead on rabbit welfare and, at the very least, introduce minimal regulations for rabbit farms.
We the undersigned ask that you take immediate action to improve conditions for farmed rabbits. No animal should be subject to factory-style farming conditions, but rabbits are particularly sociable and sensitive, suffering enormously when kept in tiny, dirty cages.
As one of the largest producers of rabbit meat in the EU, France is in a position to take the lead on improving welfare conditions for these much neglected animals. Battery cage have been banned for chickens; it is high time they were banned for rabbits.
The EU will no doubt eventually get round to introducing this legislation, but France needn’t wait. Introducing rabbit-specific legislation now will also make things easier for farmers in the long run, and means they can sell their meat as “high welfare”, something that cannot be said for the rabbit meat from any other country, including Spain, Italy and the UK.
The minimal requirements for rabbits include space to hop, bedding and the opportunity to dig. Outside pens are therefore far more appropriate than ranks of wire cages.
Please take the opportunity to show that at least one country in the EU cares about the welfare of its farm animals.
Thank you for your attention.