We bring to light the horror of rabbit factory farms in Spain

AnimaNaturalis conducted a revealing undercover investigation into these farms, shedding light on the extremely precarious conditions in which rabbits for meat are raised in Spain. This investigation reveals an atrocious reality that demands an immediate response.

06 octubre 2023
Madrid, España.

Despite the decline in rabbit meat consumption, Spain continues to lead in production and consumption in Europe, closely followed by Italy and France. AnimaNaturalis has highlighted that, despite this prominent position, animal welfare regulations in rabbit farms in Spain are notably deficient.

Rabbit meat production in the European Union is mainly concentrated in the Mediterranean region, with Spain at the forefront. It is the second most bred and slaughtered animal for human consumption in the EU, with 180 million rabbits.

In 2020, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) raised concerns about rabbit farms in Spain, denouncing the use of the worst possible production system in terms of animal welfare. These farms face alarming mortality rates, with 20% of rabbits dying before reaching the slaughterhouse.

Currently, there are 1,412 rabbit fattening farms in operation in Spain, and in 2022, 33.3 million rabbits were slaughtered for their meat in slaughterhouses. Surprisingly, EFSA's estimate suggests that actually 41.25 million rabbits were born that year, with a fifth of them destined for trash containers.

Images obtained during AnimaNaturalis' investigation reveal unimaginable suffering of rabbits at all stages of production: from maternity and rearing to fattening. This harsh reality was documented in 10 farms in some of the regions with the highest rabbit populations in Spain, such as Castilla y León, Catalonia, Aragón, and Castilla-La Mancha.

The shocking images show live rabbits sharing space with cadavers, animals piled up in cages turned into mass graves, crushed young rabbits, agonizing animals, neglected and dirty facilities, and more. Lack of medical attention, deformities, stress, and nutritional deficiencies are commonplace.

One of the most terrifying revelations was the discovery of an abandoned farm since 2018, where hundreds of rabbits lay mummified in their cages. Neglect and starvation had condemned these animals to a gruesome and merciless fate.

The investigation exposed the "inhumanity of the rabbit farming industry and the urgent need to reform animal welfare regulations. Rabbits, sensitive and vulnerable beings, lack specific regulations to protect them", said Aïda Gascón, director of AnimaNaturalis in Spain.

Fortunately, a ray of hope shines on the horizon. The European Commission has pledged to review animal welfare laws in the coming months, and the European Citizens' Initiative "End The Cage Age" advocates for the gradual elimination of cages for all animals by 2027. More than 1.4 million citizens support this initiative.

The report prepared by AnimaNaturalis also reveals a continued decline in the rabbit farming industry in Spain, with decreasing farms and rabbit meat consumption. Cultural factors, increased consumer empathy, and higher fixed costs have contributed to this decline.

The images and evidence presented in this AnimaNaturalis investigation demand an urgent response. Rabbits in intensive meat farms in Spain endure immense suffering and deserve a better life. It is time for authorities to take action to protect these vulnerable animals and ensure a more humane future for the rabbit farming industry in Europe. To support this initiative and press for significant changes, join the FarmedAnimals.org campaign.

This investigation is a stark reminder of the urgent need to reform rabbit breeding practices in Spain and throughout the European Union. Rabbits deserve respect and well-being, and it is the responsibility of everyone to work towards a future where animal suffering in the name of meat production is not tolerated. The time for change is now.