Winter Bunnies

Got a lovely gift upon my return from Africa: baby bunnies!

I had forgotten that on New Year’s Eve, I put mama Sasquatch into Mr. Bunny’s cage. He’s my new buck, and I just love him. He’s such an enthusiastic eater–munches down all the grass and vegetable stalks from the garden. Likewise, he was quite an enthusiastic suitor, glad to see Sasquatch and spend some quality time with her.

A month later, out came the little ones.

Only four of them. Last spring, Sasquatch had 8, so I wonder if it’s the new buck, or perhaps that it’s winter and still a little bit cold. As you can see, one of the babies is white! An albino. Which is funny because when I was in Africa, I heard there’s a cult surrounding albinos. That witch doctors believe they will bring money. In fact, it’s become a problem with albino people getting kidnapped. Anyway, I hope my little white one will bring good luck to Ghosttown Farm.

Speaking of rabbits, there’s a bunch of rabbit-related activities going on in the Bay Area.

Meatpaper magazine and OPEN restaurant are hosting a series of rabbit-related celebrations, calling it rabbit week.

East Meats West II
You might have heard about our exciting November events in Brooklyn with our friends at Diner and Diner Journal. We collaborated to produce an amazing rabbit feast, and now, the Diner folks are flying west for a rabbit redux so you, too, can taste the magic!

Chefs Chris Kronner of Bar Tartine in San Francisco and Sean Rembold of Diner in Brooklyn team up to create a 4-course dinner featuring Devil’s Gulch rabbits. There will be signature cocktails and wine pairings. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Pasternak’s fund to help the community in Haiti that they serve.

February 22
Two seatings, 6pm and 9pm

Bar Tartine
561 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

There are two spots left in the rabbit hide tanning class March 6 and 7 at Ghosttown Farm with Tamara Wilder. Email me: if you want to register. It is not a class for the faint of heart.

Also, I’m teaching a raising rabbits class at the Biofuel Oasis March 21.

Also, I was featured in Good Magazine, talking about rabbits and urban farming.

Yay bunnies!

61 responses to “Winter Bunnies

  1. This is one of those times when I wish I hadn’t left the bay area…..I’d love to take a bunny class.

    I mean rabbit class. I think I’d have an easier time dispatching a rabbit rather than dispatching a bunny. Bunnies are pets; rabbits are dinner.

  2. Yay bunnies! Had them for a while out here in the woods but the pen security was defeated first by a fox and a second time by owls.

    Not fair to the little guys who aren’t equipped to defend themselves. So no more bunnies for me.

  3. Just read your article on the last page of Eating Well magazine. I’m so excited to find such an interesting, well written resource. I’m nuturing my inner-farmer and feel like my dreams of urban farming can be a reality. I bought your book online and can’t wait to read it.

    Thanks so much!

  4. Novella, I am glad we have someone like you amongst our ranks. The courage to do the things you do and succeed and spread the word of urban farming. We all need inspiration and you are doing a great job of that. Keep up the good work!

  5. I bought your book today and will have finished reading it by tomorrow. I am over the moon about your ideas and passions and vision, but … it just seems wrong to list the dates and times when the rabbits will be eaten directly below their images. I’m tender hearted about meat consumption as a rule, so if I have to look into it’s eyes – I’m done for! How soon can we join your CSA? πŸ˜‰

  6. you are a horrible, horrible person

  7. I think you are one sick individual to be posting all these pictures of you hugging animals when you have no remorse in butchering them afterwards that is twisted, I rescue bunnies and you kill them for some publicity and a couple of bucks in your seminar..You are heartless and have no conscience What’s next? You gonna suggest some hunting events in NYC too?

  8. ghosttownfarm

    meredith and diana:
    what should i be doing? beating them all day? of course i hug and love them. they have a great life, a fast death, and i enjoy them on my plate.
    that’s great you rescue abused animals. kudos. it’s not like i’m an animal abuser, i’m a freaking farmer, you weirdos. what the hell do you guys eat?

  9. when are you going to eat cats and dogs?

    They are the new chicken.

    Do you understand?

    As people recoil at the idea of eating pet cats and dogs I recoil at the idea of you killing and eating rabbit.

    rabbits are the 3rd most abandoned animal at shelters.

    This means that rabbits are the 3rd most popular pet in the USA.

    You are eating our pets.

    When are yo going to eat dog and cat? If you do -would you call people weirdos for being upset?
    Do you have a dog or cat?
    Mind if I eat them? Mind if I raise them and promote the slaughter and cooking of them and suggest recipes on how to prepare your pet?
    Shepherd with mushrooms?
    Loin of cat?

    Weirdo? I guess you don’t have the maturity to deal with criticism without resorting to idiotic name calling.

    Surely you are intelligent enough to understand this POV – that people draw a line in the sand and decide what is a pet and what is food.

    Perhaps you are unaware that rabbits are more overwhelmingly more frequently found as pets than as dinner in this country. I think though that you know this.

    I guess you feel like a courageous rebel raising and killing animals in Oakland.
    It’s a pity that you have to kill these animals to promote your career and to feed your ego.

    As I rescue rabbits and spend my personal income to help them – you kill them. Wouldn’t you rather divert your energy to saving lives than taking them?

    You don’t need the protein any more than I do.

    Let them live.

  10. rabbits are the number one eaten animal in france, italy (more people in italy eat them than the french) and most of eastern europe, the philipines, dogs are eaten in china (4 billion people eating them) compared to the 50 militant save-the-rabbit people in america. me thinks you are mightly outnumbered with your critisms of other peoples lifestyles in this world.

  11. There are more than 50 militant people trying to save rabbits here….Have you gone on lately? Do you happen to know how many chapters there are? We are trying to save abandoned pets and you have no problem butchering one and throwing it into a bowl when there is so much more substantial things to eat?I don’t care about other countries like Italy and France, you don’t live there, you live HERE in the US and I don’t appreciate people turning out pets into dinner and trying to make this a trend here. How much meat can you possibly get from rabbits they are so bony, anyway. I guess you fall into one of those categories of people that have no problem in murdering something with your own hands and then eating it? Maybe perhaps then you should promote yourself and go work in a slaughterhouse and upgrade to slitting calfs throats next? I just don’t understand the logic you see something go from baby to adult nurturing it and seeing it grow and the trust it bestows upon you and and then you betray it and whack it after its ripe and ready to go.. That is deplorable, I always wondered about people being able to kill animals what else they could be capable of? Its in their psyche already

  12. Novella, this is not meant for you, hon.

    Killing an animal for food is in no way kin to murdering a human for sport. Do you tend a garden? Care for, nourish, tend those plants and then yank them up, chop ’em in to pieces, and throw them in a pot to cook and eat? Do you buy your meat from a supermarket? When you know that it’s been raised in shit-strewn concrete pens, fed food it would never EVER eat in the wild, pumped full of chemicals in order to keep it alive, and then slaughtered in the most unethical, inhumane way possible because that is the fastest way and will bring the most profit? People, farmers, ethical farmers like Novella and the many I know here on the east coast, understand the difference between meat and pet. They would no more harm a pet than they would mistreat their meat animals. I would much rather know my meat from the ground up and have a hand in butchering it so that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that that animal had the best life and death possible.

    And here’s a thought, too: do you have children? What would you do to feed them? I mean, _really_ do, if you found yourself in a situation where it was necessary for their survival?

  13. Novella,
    I read your blog but rarely comment…..i usually have nothing to offer, but today i must say I am actually saddened by the comments some of the rabbit saviours have left, how can anyone be so closed minded to only see the United States and pet rescue and not realize that the world is full of different cultures, they eat guinea pig, amphibians, birds in the rest of the world that in the US are called pets…….seriously….to them if you do not like what Ghost Town Farm stands for, then stop coming to her blog…..the rabbit saviours are throwing their ivory tower holier than thou attitude making the rabbit savers look like children while the rest of the adults come here to learn and be inspired with what can be done with our own hands on our own property……I am sure many could say it better but Novella deserves more respect than the ethnocentric children could comprehend.

  14. I actually do have children and I wonder do you?
    Do they know what’s happening to the rabbits?
    That there little mascots will one day go into the pot? Do you teach your children where the food will end up?How can you even compare growing vegetables in a garden to killing a bunny with your own hands. I am not murdering a life here after I’ve seen it grow and then have the conscience to enjoy it in a friccassee. Thats wickedly cold. You know this isn’t LOST I don’t have to take such extreme measures when I can enjoy fruits, nuts,pasta, veggies and grains just fine without having to go into SUPERBREEDING and turning it into a business how cold hearted. I wonder do you have any pets of your own? If you approve of people around the world eating guinea pigs, cats and dogs ,how would feel if someone would eat yours? Stop rationalizing already, you’re not convincing anyone about your heinous acts. How attractive, whacking bunnies upside the head.. If you are so poor why don’t you try to get assistance from the gov’t there is programs out there like food stamps where you don’t have to KILL what you eat, or maybe you just like the power trip of doing it, nice classy chick.

  15. Please get some perspective on what it takes to actually feed oneself, to rely on a piece of ground for sustenance, instead of depending on a supermarket, before you go judging other people’s lives and livelihoods. I still don’t understand whether or not you are a vegetarian or a meat-eater who is just hopelessly disconnected from the source of your food. You keep typing in all caps and raving about someone eating your pets, as if this woman is sneaking into your shelters and frying the animals that you have rescued from abusive situations. This line of reasoning has no basis in reality and it isn’t very helpful if you want to make a real point. Take a stand, any stand at all, just stop anthropomorphizing and appealing to standards of cuteness. The cutesy hey-that’s-my-child’s-pet! issue is really where we run into some big problems: 1) If you, or anyone in your family does in fact eat meat, you are suggesting that your children be blinded to the source of their food, and treated like they are incapable of complex emotional responses and need to be sheltered from the big bad scary world. 2) Lots of non-cute animals die in the production of the veggies, grains, pastas, nuts and fruit that you are so fond of eating without a second thought. Billions of insects and microbes are killed by pesticides, and countless field animals (i.e. ugly animals you don’t keep as pets such as gophers, muskrats, voles, field mice, nesting baby birds) are crushed, maimed, or shredded alive by the massive threshing machines that harvest many crops. Is the life of a mantis worth less than that of a bunny? how about a starling? a mole? a gopher?
    Another thing we have to consider here, is the mathematics of harm involved in our food system in general, and whether or not it is worth it to become self-sufficient by raising meat for oneself, versus purchasing vegetable protein in a store. Let us take the example of Soy. Soy is grown in vast monocultures of hundreds or thousands of acres. Wetlands have been plowed up, forests destroyed, and then pesticides, herbicides and petroleum based fertilizers are applied to these fields. Aside from the obvious direct biological and ecological effects (poisoning, death and dismemberment), this kind of farming, this theater of compassion and guilt-free sustenance, is destroying the biodiversity of the planet, the resilience of natural ecosystems, and the characteristics of the climate we live in. This is your vegetable oil, this is your textured soy protein, this is your veggie burger, your vegan yogurt, and 10,000 other things you might find in the supermarket that involve soy meals, oils, extracts and compounds. If you want to talk about real compassion, real minimization of harm to us and our non-human companions (not pets, not cutesy fluffy aminals, but animals whose lives are intertwined with our own), then lets have that discussion. But don’t pretend that because you like bunnies and they are adorable, you are somehow absolved from taking some responsibility for the rampantly violent economy that we all depend on for food, the economy that we are all implicated in. We can yak all day about this, but the bottom line is that if we are going to, it has to be a real discussion based on real situations and the consequences of all of our actions and choices.

  16. Well said Rob! I don’t eat animals but I support Novella’s right to eat them, especially since she raises and kills them. It’s far more honest (and healthy) than someone who buys animals, already dead and butchered from a grocery store. You’d better stop shopping in grocery stores all together Diana, because the harvesting of your soy beans, your tomatoes, grains and other field crops do result in the killing of mice and gophers etc that some people keep as pets.

  17. ghosttownfarm

    rob: you’re my hero. and thanks for everyone else defending my honor!
    not going to waste anymore time concerning the rabbit issue. back to the dirt.

  18. trippticket

    Diana et al,
    I’ll try not to take up too much space here, and Rob has already made lots of good points, but I would expect you guys to know more about plants, since that’s all you feel comfortable eating apparently. First of all, plants try to defend themselves too. You think those soybeans that you eat with such piety wanted to be harvested? Sure, maybe that’s why they furiously produce antioxidants, flavanoids, and aerial hormones to attract predatory insects when they get molested. And the more time you spend studying plants, the more you will appreciate the community relationships they form, and the synergistic benefits they derive from one another. Plants are an immobile component of their ecosystem, they can’t run, and they can’t hide. And their comrades depend on their fertility for life. Not that that has much to do with the vast, ecology-smothering monocultures of grains and beans that your diet probably depends on.

    If you take archaeological evidence into account, the switch from hunting and gathering to agriculture was earmarked by all the major problems we face today in this pseudo-conscious world of ours – shorter life span (only increased by the fossil fuel subsidy), degenerative diseases, poor dental health, and a LOT more babies! By this rational one could almost suggest that it is in fact MORE sustainable to eat meat than grains.

    Animals play only a transitory role in a given ecosystem, browsing on plant foods, only to be eaten by other organisms (whether that is higher up the food chain, or much lower). The plant community doesn’t rely on their fertility. They ate plants, pooped out fertilizer, and moved along. Into the stew pot hopefully.

    Food stamps? Welfare? That’s your “answer” to 10,000 years of expansion and exploitation? Bogging down the gov with more costs as they struggle to make up increasing budget deficits? Shame on you.

    And serious props to Novella and Riana for doing the responsible things that far too often draw the ire of unevolved westerners. You two are f’ing rock stars!

  19. Pingback: Half Way There, oh oh « Ghost Town Farm

  20. As an ex-longtime-vegan I can relate to all sides here. For many of us, meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, animals tug at our hearts. And rabbits especially so, even for hardcore carnivores, as I found out when I put up a related blog post earlier this year. I imagine, as folks on both sides above have suggested, that this is linked to rabbits’ ambiguous categorization in U.S. American culture as both pet animals and food animals.

    For flesh-eaters, I think honestly facing the animals you eat–loving them, raising them humanely, and killing them yourself, as Novella does and as my ex-vegetarian friends at Tangletown Farm do here in Vermont–is immensely valuable.

    For vegetarians, I think honestly facing the actual impacts of vegetable and grain production–on habitat and on individual animals–is also important. Here, even the most local, small-scale, organic farmers have to kill woodchucks and deer to keep kale and strawberries on the shelf at the food co-op.

  21. . . . we live in a time like no other, in a culture at the top of the food chain, when we actually get to choose what and whom we eat. we have proof – clinical documentation – as well as plain common sense and awareness that plants have sentience, all animals have sentience. and yet we all have to eat. every living thing needs sustanence. we are all in this together, and we all feed off each other . . . we’re just more conscious of it than at any other time.

    i read novella’s post, these comments, and see the next unfolding in human consiousness, as well as the places where folks are still attached to in the patterns we’re attempting to evolve beyond. at every single meal, we make a choice as to what to put in our bodies. we’re all just trying to figure out what will help us live, what makes us sick, either in body or mind or spirit. i’m so grateful to novella and folks like her that are pioneering this return to hands on with their food, and feel to write about it, teach and speak, paving the way for this next jump in evolution via food . . .

    novella . . . the angry folks are just scared and upset, not thinking clearly and mixing the different problems together . . . . . . you are beautiful and amazing and freakin hilarious and strong and thoughtful . . . sending you well wishes . . . πŸ™‚

  22. We are not scared just upset. You were just brought up differently and probably used to this since infancy, from your upbringing on a farm and saw your parents do this and their grandparents , so end of story. You know I have several free -roaming rabbits in my house and they are like part of the family. You see animals as food, I don’t. Im sure I’m sure you probably have a cat or dog, how would you feel If I started glamorizing , breeding cats or dogs for food? Its accepted around other cultures , but not here, so I would not want people to think this is the new trend. I want animals to live, not end up on my plate, i don’t need that type of protein especially from rabbits they are so bony and small . Don’t you get bored of eating the same thing? I’m done.

  23. Dianna, Diana. Perhaps all these abandoned bunnies could be donated to provide food to the countless people and children who go to be hungry every night in this country. We have a serious poverty and nutrition problem for many – people walking around on the streets around you every day — and keeping food supply as sheltered pets might seem equally offensive to many people in various cultures around the world. I’m not advocating bunny police kicking down doors to grab your pets and throw them in a pot or a pan but if there really are millions of rescued bunnies with money and resources being spent to shelter them whilst kids go to school hungry well…. that in itself is just wrong.

  24. Is there no line you won’t cross? Lets cook up cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, parkeets. As I said before if there is a problem with kids not eating there is state programs that you can participate in without resorting to you yourself butchering the animals , how morbid. This is not the norm in the US, only in certain areaa If you disagree with the way things are run here maybe this isn’t the place for you and then you kill whatever you’d like, like in Asia though I doubt you would eat a cat or hamster? or is that alright?

  25. Give it up Diana, you haven’t got a clue. Go fondle your bunnies why don’t you and quite bothering the rest of us with your ignorant sniveling.

    As for the rest of us, let us eat meat!

    @Bill T. Excellent idea.

  26. Sure Leiah, that sounds great! You go, power trip on your insensitive carnivore binges and slice some necks open today.Imagine if everyone thought like you and started having animals in there backyards and killing them, that’s to say the least unhygenic.
    As for ignorance, ever proofread?

  27. Novella,
    I read your blog and think it’s great. I read your book recently and was inspired. I’m sorry you’re being treat so stupidly by the irrational, bunny trolls (you know who you are, big D). Keep up the good work. Thank you.

  28. Quote: “I’m done.” – Diana // March 5, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Oh, that’s a relief. I was afraid she was going to continue inanely nattering on with that nauseating twaddle.

    Oh, wait…

    Diana, when in a hole, stop digging. You look like a semi-literate moron, and are convincing absolutely no one of the merits of your position. In fact, you’re simply shoring up the impression that people like you are a complete waste of bandwidth, and by association, doing damage to the very viewpoint you are espousing.

  29. Diana, what? Proofreading is a problem for…um…leiah? I’ve read a few of your posts, and I wouldn’t be too hasty about diverting the attention to something you’re even worse at than nutritional and ecological logic.

    I understand you think that you are towing the morality rope here, but there’s no substance in that position. Lots of us have been where you are, and have since proven to ourselves that we were mistaken. It’s OK to be wrong, but what sucks the most about being wrong is when you become obtuse and belligerent about it, such as how you’re acting.

    Hug the bunnies if you want, nobody’s trying to stop you, but ease up on the morality policing. None of us are children, and most of us are actually pioneers of vastly more sustainable food systems than either CAFO meat production, OR veganism. Veganism is just rotten for our planet’s health by the way…

    I don’t think you could live with yourself if you really understood just how bad it is.

    Keep rocking, Novella.

  30. all the people who are against the eating of delicious bunnies better be vegan. that is the only excuse. People keep all kinds of animals as pets and all of those animals are eaten in some part of the world. also these animals are bred for food not as pets. its not like she is going to a shelter with a butchers block.

  31. No, thanks, Diana. I think everybody is allowed their own opinion. I don’t think you’re wrong, Diana. I just think you’re being mean and hurtful to Novella. It’s really unlikely that you’re going to change her, or anyones, mind with your argument against bunny consumption. Live and let live, no pun intended.

  32. Everyone has their own issues to deal with. I keep 5 bee colonies and I’ve had vegans accuse me of being a slave owner! I’m actually more of a benevolent landlord and treat them all like queens.

  33. Hey Kate,
    Don’t be a hater and don’t call people names ! If you think its ok to eat every animal lets start with your 2 cats. Would you start with them to feed hungry children? You are a different breed thats all. Do me a favor stay stay in the country with your mushrooms and your bs idealism.

  34. rianna – we are not in Asia, Europe, Korea.

    We are in California.

    They eat cat in Asia. Somewhere they eat dogs.

    So is it OK to eat them here because someone eats them somewhere else?

    Are you suggesting – or anyone else – suggesting that it is thus OK to raise and slaughter cats in Oakland, CA because somewhere else in the world they eat cats?

    I dare you. Make that argument.

    Then go kill you cat and eat her because they do it in other countries.

    When people complain and are disgusted – point out that cats are food in other countries.

  35. The cat and dog thing seems to be some sort of linchpin argument to the quinoa clubbers.

    OK, why not. I know someone’s been dying to say it: I’d eat your cat and dog if I were hungry. Wouldn’t even think twice about it. Your horse too. I bet horse is tasty. The French love it, and they know a thing or two about cuisine.

    While we’re at it I’d eat rats, gerbils, hamsters, spiders, snakes, and grasshoppers too. My Ugandan friends tell me grasshoppers taste a lot like shrimp. Yum!

    Any of you triticale treasonists ever read any Jared Diamond? In his book Collapse one of his case studies is Norse Greenland. After 450 years of European settlement on the edge of inhabitability they starved to death. Surrounded by fish, freshwater, saltwater, fish so thick you could almost walk across their backs. That’s a lot of top-notch food to most people, even their Norse cousins in Iceland and Norway. But they starved while the Inuit thrived next door, becaue of cultural taboo.

    I hope times don’t get too tough for you wheat weenies. I’d hate for you to have to eat crow too.

  36. This conversation is totally amazing and hilarious.

    I am a vegetarian, because I can’t afford to buy humanely-raised meat right now, and I have no space to raise animals. But I have absolutely no problem with eating meat that was treated with respect from birth to death.

    Also, for the record, crazies?! If cats and dogs tasted good and were nutritious? Why not kill them? I don’t see any logical distinction between the animals that we kill for food and the animals that we pamper. I think it would have a lot more moral grounding to kill & eat cats and dogs (humanely) than to spend the ridiculous amount of money that Americans waste on their pets every year (birthday presents?! Halloween costumes?!).

  37. trippticket, you beat me to it.

  38. The reason most people don’t eat cat or dog has more to do with their both being carnivores and less with the fact that they are pets. Most cultures avoid eating carnivores as a rule. Omnivores are usually taken on a case by case basis but herbivores are almost always OK to eat.
    I also think sometimes people are OK with our eating of less attractive creatures but are shocked if you want to eat something cute with fur.

  39. trippticket

    Aw shucks, Becky, there’s plenty of Fido to go around! He’s one of those big meaty labs, not some greasy, stringy Pekingese!

  40. I find it interesting that some people think that keeping rabbits as a domestic pet is somehow a more righteous endeavor.

  41. which one of you has a dog or cat?

    ready to eat them? Honestly?

    I think not.

    And IF someone did start to do this – the uproar would be enormous – and everyone knows this.

    What I see here is a lot of animosity and stick poking nonsense that goes on all over the internet whenever people post their ideas.

    That will not win arguments though it is is of course good fun to call people names.

    trip – I get hungry every day. Several times a day.
    I still don’t have the urge to eat my cat. Do you?

    Of course you don’t. You choose something else to eat. If we were starving it might be the Donner Party all over again – but we are not starving.
    The argument you make can be made for eating people too.
    Some cultures have eaten people.
    Given the proper circumstances it could certainly happen here… but these circumstances are not here and when I am hungry I do not have the urge to eat a cat.

    We draw a line in the sand and choose to eat what is considered culturally acceptable.

    It is illegal to slaughter horse for human consumption in Ca. No reason we can’t eat horse and certainly no reason we can’t eat cats and dogs.
    But we don’t. We have decided what are pets and what are food.
    One of the top posts said – “bunnies are pets and rabbits are food.”

    Overwhelmingly in this country – bunnies and rabbits are pets.

    This post may be able to distinguish between a bunny and a rabbit but it is a rationalization and distinction of their own mind.

    Novella and others resort to name calling. Animal advocates are quinoa crunchers and weird.
    What is weird in this culture is eating an animal that is overwhelmingly thought of as a pet.

  42. Lara – I rescue rabbits and foster them till they are healthy and can find new forever homes. They are not my pets. I did not purchase them at a pet store nor did I breed them.

    They are abandoned at shelters, abused and neglected and ignored in backyards up to their chests in feces and urine, have chronic health issues, are traumatized and homeless. Some arrive with broken legs or were attacked by dogs or raccoons but most simply are dumped along with hundreds of dogs and cats all over the country.

    There is nothing “interesting” about this and it is no different from the numerous rescue orgs for other types of animals all over the country.

    Any other question?

  43. rick – it has nothing to do with them being carnivores AND everything to do with them being pets.

    We don’t eat our pets.

    As for how they got to be pets and not dinner – that is another story entirely.

  44. xyz – You seem to have missed my point. You are perpetuating the domestication and “ownership” of rabbits by terming them “homeless” – they don’t need homes, there is whole wide world out there for them to live in. Rabbits should have never been domesticated. So yes, it is interesting that animal activists, such as yourself, seem to think that what you have decided as the “right” way to own animals are, when they are not really ours in the first place.

  45. trippticket

    I think the point to all this is that we WILL be starving soon enough, if we continue to pursue our current agricultural paradigm. Here’s how it works: we grow crops on the best land we can find, those crops uptake mineral nutrients, we eat them, and then flush them into the nearest river where they flow downstream to an estuary and create hypoxic “dead zones”. Not good. Then when that good land is exhausted, we move on to the next best, repeat cycle, ad nauseum. More people and shittier land is what we get from every virgin ecosystem we destroy to grow our crops.

    Ever wonder why the Fertile Crescent is so-called? Just a desert wasteland today.

    In essence we’re converting the world’s ecosystems into more humans. And nothing about this arrangement is sustainable. Raising your own backyard food, and rabbits are one of the lowest impact forms, is tantamount to a higher form of morality than most Americans have ever dreamed of.

    Keeping pet rabbits, on the other hand – feeding, watering, sawdusting cages, for no reason except to hug something fluffy, is exploitative of the world’s finite resources and mind-numbingly short-sighted.

    Oh, and that fertility I mentioned dumping in the ocean? That needs to stay onsite too, or “sustainability” will remain a myth. No way around that. Is your cultural taboo against fertilizing with humanure strong enough that you would wipe out life on planet Earth instead?

    Evolve, people.

  46. trippticket

    Honestly, we really ought to be seriously rethinking keeping ANY pets that aren’t pulling their own weight, like maybe the occassional working dog. Otherwise we are, in essence, saying that American dogs, cats, and rabbits are more important than most of the humans on Earth. Or any of the other 120 species that are going extinct every day thanks to our hubris.

    Think about that carefully before you react myopically, Sarah McLaughlin.

  47. Lara – there is no home for them here except among us.

    It is illegal to dump/abandon animals in the woods or the side of the road. This is an urban environment where uncontrolled breeding will result in only death and a nuisance to public health.
    Cats should be free – let them all loose. let them breed.
    Tell me how that works out….

    I must deal with what is – not with what should have been done hundreds of years ago.
    I must deal with the suffering I see in the best way I can.

    A rabbit comes to the shelter with a broken leg and eye torn out. I foster him and give him shelter and a chance to heal and live.
    Another comes with a chronic respiratory condition – I nurse him back to health.
    Another comes in soaked in urine, its skin scalded and in horrible pain.
    Another so frightened she chronically urinated on itself.
    Ever spent time in an animal shelter?

    I can’t deal what should have been done.
    I do the best I can just as 1000s of volunteers all over the country.

  48. xyz – I’m not sure if you think that your self-righteous tone and rhetoric add gravity to your posts, but it doesn’t.

    If you are truly wondering, yes, I have worked many years in animal husbandry, in animal clinics, and shelters. If people stopped meddling with wild animals, there would be no need for the massive amounts of money and effort put into caring for these animals. I have cared for numerous animals that people felt entitled to take as pets. These animals are NOT pets. “Uncontrolled” breeding is taken care of by nature, and unfortunately that means that cute little bunnies will be eaten by predators – or they will just die. That’s the way nature is supposed to work, not thousands of rabbits living in cages in homes. That is a miserable life for an animal that has legs to run and jump.

  49. xyz- Well I guess you have a point with this

    “rick – it has nothing to do with them being carnivores AND everything to do with them being pets.

    We don’t eat our pets.”

    So now I want you to tell me what a pet is besides an animal you keep but don’t eat because it is a pet and we don’t eat our pets.

    You see that is a bit circular to me.

    Is it just since you tell me that it is a pet that I can’t eat it? What about my chickens? If I keep hens but don’t eat them are they pets? When is an animal a pet and it may not be eaten according to you? Can we disagree about what is or is not a pet?

  50. Rick – That is my point exactly. What is a pet? It’s a social construction and nothing more.

  51. All of this is making my head hurt.
    I think all of the non-rabbit eaters should love their pets and realize that there will always be people who eat meat, and you will not like that.
    But you do like your pets, which is great–so go pet them instead of trying to change people’s minds. Everyone stop taunting and calling names because that is just a waste of everyone’s time. It is obvoius you are not going to agree so let’s all be zen and let it go. Novella–love you love your book. Have a nice day.

  52. I’m pretty sure my cats would eat me given the chance. And the dogs look at me with the stink eye if I’m late to feed them.

    SMS speaks sooth. Enough with the trolling ad/or reacting to trolls.

  53. Lara, uncontrolled breeding in an environment where an animal is not a natural part of the environment is not taken care of by nature.
    Think – Australia and rabbits.
    Nature is not some magic balancing machine that makes everything right.
    Even the cat – left to it’s own devices during the day – is doing quite a bit of damage to the native bird population.
    Like it or not – we made a mess and we have to clean it up. Nature does not vacuum away our meddling.
    Just tossing all our animals outside and walking away is not going to fix anything and will likely make things much much worse.
    There’s a baseball field not far from here where people tossed a few rabbits. Quickly the place was overrun and the animals caused quite a bit of damage to the nets, the field, etc. Nature did not step in and fix things.
    This is why dumping animals is illegal and is not the answer.
    Sure – I would like all these animals to live natural lives. But they can’t.
    This is the best I can do. I can’t dump them outside or condone that behavior.
    I can tell you that encouraging people to breed animals in their backyards will lead to abuse, neglect, and suffering and it will only add to the burden of local shelters when people tire of their urban “farming.”

  54. So do people who have pet dogs and cats force them to be vegetarian. The cat food I feed my cat is grain free because he is diabetic and that is the only chow that helps to normalize his blood sugar levels. Meat (lots of meat), veggies and a bit of fruit, but no grain is on the ingredient list. Just because you don’t eat your cat or dog doesn’t mean the cat or dog won’t eat your rabbits.

    I like being an omnivore myself. Locally grown and sustainable food for all!

    P.S. I’m learning to make my own pet food too. I think I’ll raise rabbits to feed the cat.

  55. trippticket

    xyz said:
    Like it or not – we made a mess and we have to clean it up.

    But xyz, isn’t that what you’ve been arguing against doing this whole time? I mean, Novella’s eating the rabbits as fast as she can! And as soon as it’s cool to eat dogs and cats, we’ll start working on them too!


  56. Xyz
    Different breed dude, not worth the nrg anymore, let them eat each other for all I care..

  57. I have a saying with my kids, don’t name animals your planning to eat they have no issue eating our fluffy rabbits. Pure and simple, animal rescue places are all about money! Save a poor rabbit at a huge cost while some people don’t even have food, shelter or clean clothes! I say put the one eyed rabbit down and save the money to give people a chance. I enjoy rasing my own meat and will continue for years to come. I do have some bantom chickens as pets so those who don’t eat rabbit but eat chicken are sick! my rooster even wears diapers in the house.I get so upset when people eat chicken that I post nasty things on chicken farming sites;)

  58. ghosttownfarm

    wow, i’m so impressed how smart and savvy my readers are. this was really great.
    since this is my blog, i want to get in the last word (i’m going to disallow comments after this.)
    xyz: i hear you!! i have a cat. i’d never eat him (unless starving). i love how he catches mice and sleeps on top of my head at night. so i understand if you’d be mad that i was trying to eat your version of kuzzin the cat. but i’m not–i don’t want to eat your pet. that would be a barbaric act. plus, they sound quite unhealthy (i know: not your fault). your difficulty is you can’t discern shades of gray–it’s either black or white. pets or food. well, life and this world is much more complicated than that. but this isn’t a therapy session, it’s a blog. and i must say, you’ve made it a great deal of fun for all my readers. i thank you!

  59. Novella, love your work and your blog.

    Sheila, I have (and love) a cat and can’t wait to give her the rabbit’s left-overs (haven’t started raising them yet, but I’m gonna stop procrastinating soon)

    PS: no wonder the debate is getting stinky. In French, ‘pet’ means fart

  60. MotherLodeBeth

    Being in France, Italy, Greece etc., children are raised knowing rabbits, chickens, goats, etc are raised for meat. Its sad that so many Americans are so ignorant about how to raise meat humanely and then slaughter humanely. Those who have made nasty comments about you raising and eating rabbits should be challenged to prove that they are only eating food that is grown in a humane manner, which includes paying growers a fair wage. Have encountered way to many people who have no idea that the soy milk they are drinking is being grown in an unhealthy manner, or the coffee they are drinking is being harvested by workers making slave wages. And don’t even get me started on the folks who drive here to a rural area and dump their excess puppies and kittens thinking we have more than enough room and food to share here in the Sierra foothills. Fact is, we grow meat animals, and don’t waste any of the animal, and only slaughter as needed. We do NOT eat meat more than a few times per week. And never ever junk food of McDonald, Burger King etc food.