Illegal to Kill Animals to Eat?

Many animal welfare agencies in cities are against raising animals for food within city limits. Do you know of any such regulations in your area?

| October/November 2012

  • Meat Rabbits
    Rabbits breed and grow so quickly that one pair of healthy does (females) can produce more than 600 pounds of meat in a year.
    Photo By Fotolia/meryll

  • Meat Rabbits

In your June/July 2012 issue, you made the editorial comment, “Rabbits are a great meat source for country or city homesteads” (Dear MOTHER).

Many animal welfare agencies in cities (SPCA, Humane Society, etc.) are against raising animals for food within city limits. On the TV show Animal Cops on Animal Planet, cities such as Detroit, Houston and Miami have all had residents arrested and taken to court on animal cruelty charges for harboring animals that would ultimately be butchered for food.

Therese Todd
Salisbury, Maryland

Readers, if you know of an incident like this in your area, please tell us about it by posting a comment below. — MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Cheryl Saurer
2/6/2013 9:17:32 PM

I enjoy rabbits as pets, and while I would never use them as meat, I have no objection to others raising these gentle, intellegent and social creatures for food consumption. What I do, however, object to is the fact that because they are raised for meat,that they are treated as a "piece of meat." For these organizations to have been called on a scene and then respond by arresting individuals on cruelty meant that there was a legitimate claim. Unfortunately, many that raise these animals, that have no voice and are quiet in circumstances of suffering and neglect, cast them in a small cage with wire flooring with no shelter from extreme cold and heat should of course be accountable for their actions. Please don't excuse those acts of cruelty just because an animal is raised ultimately, as you say, for food.

9/28/2012 2:51:18 PM

My family takes in rescued farm animals. In our experience, humane organizations such as local SPCAs and humane societies are not "against" people raising animals for food within city limits, except when there are zoning issues. The animals that are confiscated by humane organizations are primarily taken for reasons of neglect. For example, one of our goats was being raised for meat by a person in an urban area, but he was not being fed properly and by the time the SPCA got involved, was severely malnourished. Another example is the group of banty chickens we got from another local SPCA. They too were being kept in city limits, but by a hoarder (over 60 lived in her house, free roaming, along with many other types of animals.) They all have leg and foot deformities caused by unclean living conditions and the raging cases of scaly-leg mites that went untreated for so long have caused many of them to suffer toe necrosis and loss. Two of our pigs were strays- found by different people in urban residential areas. One was a baby, still with her umbilicus attached, found on a sidewalk in a neighborhood near Buffalo- not the work of a responsible owner. These organizations don't have the time or money to go after people who are treating their animals well. They do, however, intervene in cases of neglect. It appears that many perhaps well-intentioned people who want to raise their own animals for food in situations like this just don't know how to properly care for them. Then, like with stray dogs and cats, others are left to deal with the sick, strays, and unwanted.

Kevin McElheny
9/27/2012 10:09:06 PM

After reading this article I came across this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper today. A demonstration on rabbit butchering was canceled for this weekend, after animal rights, etc groups raised a storm. It appears that the there was no "official" pressure to cancel, just that from the electronic/social media crowd.


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