On Saturday September 22, RabbitWise, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the welfare of domestic rabbits posted the following information on their website:
“Voices for Animals (Pittsburgh, PA) recently received word from several distraught members of the public that a local urban farm known for growing organic vegetables is breeding rabbits on the farm property and plans to hold a ‘rabbit harvest’ next Friday morning, September 28.
“The word harvest, when applied to animals, is merely an attempt to reduce these rabbits to inanimate objects. This is simply a slaughter done under the guise of connecting people with their food source, an otherwise commendable move.
“Furthermore, we know for a fact that children have been invited to witness the killing firsthand. Paula Jean of Knotweed Urban Farm confirmed that kids ‘need to know where their food comes from.’
“We agree that adults and children alike are alienated from their food sources. However a lesson in hands-on violence towards animals can only teach cruelty when we should be teaching compassion and empathy.
“There is an increasingly popular idea that animals are somehow respected when they’re killed apart from factory farming. It is paramount to remember that it is never respectful to take another individual’s life, whether it happens in a large scale or small scale operation. Just because an animal may be treated marginally better on a small farm, does not justify his or her life being stolen.
“Please urge the people of Knotweed Urban Farm to keep their focus on the cultivation of plants, and demand that they spare the lives of these rabbits and any other animals they’re planning to kill.”
UPDATE: On September 24, Knotweed Farm posted the following on their Facebook page: “To all concerned parties. Knotweed Farm is a vegetable production farm only. Since we are not involved with animal production your comments and concerns are misdirected.”
In speaking with Paula Jean, she confirmed that Knotweed Farm is a vegetable project that is separate from the project conducting the “rabbit harvest”. She stated that the individual in charge of the animal project is Cornelius Frantz-Deppe.
UPDATE: On September 25, Cornelius Frantz-Deppe said the following by email: “Thanks for asking for clarification, this whole discussion has been a misunderstanding. There has never been a rabbit event planned.”
UPDATE: On September 26, Voices for Animals posted a second alert stating, “… we need to go over their heads and contact the landowners of the farm property (known as Wild Red’s Gardens). They will have the final say in ending the animal slaughter on their land. Please contact the Wild Red’s Gardens landowner, Randa Shannon, and respectfully request that she no longer allow her land to be used for killing rabbits or slaughtering any animals. Tell Ms. Shannon to recommit Wild Red’s Gardens land to be used only for produce production, as it once was, and return fully to the positive work they were doing for the community.”
The most recent post on Wild Red’s Gardens Facebook page states, “To whom it may concern Wild Red’s Gardens, and our associates who share our land, do not have a rabbit harvesting workshop or demo planned for Friday or otherwise. If you are interested in rabbit husbandry workshops in the area please contact PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture).”