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The Hidden Cruelty in UK Pet Food


Thanks to your overwhelming support, we have been able to convince 7 of the UK’s biggest pet food retailers, Tesco, Morrison’s, Aldi, Asda, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Pets at Home to stop using rabbit meat in their own brand pet food. Additionally, Nestle Purina and Mars Petcare, which manufacture a large proportion of pet food brands in the UK, have also committed to removing rabbit from UK products.

Do you know what you are feeding your pet?

Rabbit meat from Europe’s caged factory farms is being imported into the UK for use in pet food. The conditions in which these rabbits are farmed do not meet the animals’ welfare needs. The rabbits spend their whole lives in small, shared wire cages which constrict their movement. They remain in these cages until they are sent to be slaughtered. As happens in all factory farming systems, many of the animals die before they reach the age to be slaughtered, due to poor hygiene and the spread of disease within the crowded outbuildings.

Some of the UK’s leading retailers import meat from an estimated 300,000 rabbits a year for use in the food you may be feeding your dog or cat. FOUR PAWS feels that it is unacceptable that UK consumers are unwittingly purchasing pet food that has come from this sort of animal cruelty! That is why we have launched a petition calling on UK retailers to stop using caged rabbit meat in their pet food products.


To sign the petition, click here:



Rabbit represents a very low cost meat as rabbits breed easily and grow quickly. As such, rabbit meat is as an attractive option for intensive factory farming. Despite their apparent robustness, rabbits most certainly don’t react well in such an alien environment, and accepted production mortality levels often exceed 20%.


Today, rabbit is rarely farmed in the UK due to limited demand for human consumption, but it continues to be intensively farmed in many parts of mainland Europe, where demand for the meat remains high. This demand is met by intensive factory farms in France, Spain, Belgium, and Italy, among others. Rabbit meat imports into the UK from these four countries more than doubled in 2013 when compared to previous years. The factory farming of rabbits is unacceptable as it inflicts untold suffering.


Kieran Harkin, Head of Programmes for FOUR PAWS UK states: “The keeping of rabbits in small and crowded wire cages is torture for an animal whose natural behaviour includes burrowing and feeding on grass.  Although rabbits live in family groups they are highly susceptible to disease meaning they are often administered with up to seven times more antibiotics than other factory farmed animals such as chickens.”


© FOUR PAWS International

Are you an animal lover?

If the answer to this question is yes then please join us in saying no to the use of rabbit meat in UK pet food. We do not believe pet food should be sourced from animal cruelty we are sure you agree.  We are calling on retailers to stop using rabbit meat in their pet food brands. In the long-term, we would like to see an EU wide ban of caged rabbit farming.

Please show your support for ending the use of caged-rabbit meat in UK pet food by adding your name to our petition: