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BOULDER - Whole Foods on Pearl Street in Boulder is one of several locations across the country where protesters showed up Sunday to oppose the stores' test marketing of rabbit meat.

The rabbit meat isn't sold in Colorado stores now but it is being sold in California.

Rabbit protection groups, including the Colorado Chapter of the National House Rabbit Society, say rabbits are pets and not food.

Whole Food has responded with the following statement:

"Whole Foods Market is sensitive to the companion animal issue and we understand this product won't appeal to everyone. However, for those customers who have been asking us to carry rabbit, it's our job to make sure we offer the highest-quality product from responsible sources. A number of shoppers have been asking Whole Foods Market to carry rabbit for years but conventional raising practices do not meet our rigorous animal welfare standards. To meet our customers' requests for rabbit we needed our own set of animal welfare standards, and these rabbit welfare standards are a direct result of a rigorous four-year process to address the welfare issues in rabbit production. As we have done in the past, our hope is that our high standards will be a model for industry change."

Protesters gathered at Whole Foods locations across the country to oppose the sale of rabbit meat.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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