Rabbits occupy an odd position in American culture, seen as incrediby intelligent companion animals by some, and live stock as others. The book Stories Rabbits Tell, A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature by Susan E. Davis and Margo DeMello explored this in depth.
Bunnies are the 3rd most popular pets in the US, just behind cats and dogs (birds, fish, other small animals etc. are all behind the bunnies, most industry experts agree).
So how on earth could an otherwise well educated company make such a huge blunder? Zuke's, a well regarded home grown, bootstrapping success story in the world of dog energy snacks and training treats, made the interesting decision to use sustainably harvested wild rabbit from New Zealand (which has a rabbit overpopulation problem that ranks as a significant issue in that country).
While that's bothersome, the method in which they chose to market the product is... nothing short of stunning in its insensitivity. The tagline of the big colorful ad is, "Bunny IS better!"
Seriously? Dog is eaten in some Asian countries; would they make cat treats out of feral dogs from another country and then market them in the US by saying "Fido is finger licking good!"
No, I don't think so.
I have written them a letter. If this issue strikes a cord in you, I urge you to do the same. (However I beg you to do so with a calm and respectful professionalism, because anything else can easily be written off.) Click on the image below to read my letter to them.
Contact information for the company:
PO Box 3210
Durango, CO 81302-3210