In August, 2014, Rabbit Advocacy Network, with the help from lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project, placed a Freedom of Information Act request with the USDA to get records from the slaughterhouse inspections done at the Iowa Rabbit, LLC slaughterhouse in Jewell, Iowa, where the rabbits who are killed for Whole Foods Markets are slaughtered.

At that time, we received 10 pages of information, much of it redacted, relating to what the USDA inspectors found at the slaughterhouse from January until July 2014. This is how we learned about the numbers of rabbits who arrived at the facility dead (38 in one day), who were “condemned” at the facility as too sick or hurt to slaughter (although they were killed anyway), and the numbers of rabbits who died while awaiting slaughter. This information pointed very clearly to the terrible conditions in which the rabbits were transported to slaughter, and the terrible conditions that they endured while awaiting slaughter. (The USDA inspection report doesn’t speak to the suffering that the rabbits endured while being slaughtered, however.)

Because the report was redacted, we had no way to know, however, how many rabbits were actually slaughtered at this facility per day, week or month. We sent in an appeal in November 2014 to request more information, including the numbers of rabbits who are actually “processed” at that plant, and our request for those numbers was denied, as the USDA, siding with Iowa Rabbit LLC, sees this information as proprietary.  That denial can be read here and here.

Why is the USDA colluding with Iowa Rabbit to hide this information? How many rabbits are dying at Iowa Rabbit to provide Whole Foods with profits?

Read the inspection report here.

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