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They're pretty darned cute. But a growing number of urban farmers are raising rabbits for food, something KIRO Radio's Tom and Curley don't think they have the stomach for. (AP file)

Could you eat Thumper? More people taking up urban bunny farming

Years ago, KIRO Radio's resident chicken farmer John Curley, was intrigued by a new book called "How to Raise Rabbits for Fun and Profit." Until he read the fine print.

"The idea was get two or three and they would multiply rapidly and gross product would go up," Curley says. "The only problem was once you raise them and love them and name them, in order to turn them into profit, you had to turn them into meat and that was where the fun would go out."

While Curley couldn't kill Peter Cottontail, a growing number of urban farmers are contemplating just that. The Seattle Times has profiled a local class on raising rabbits for food.

Even teacher Charmaine Slaven admits getting the bunny to the dinner plate isn't easy. But she says despite dreading it, she feels better about "paying the ethical price" herself rather than eating factory killed meat. She even names them to honor them before their slaughter.

Sounds simple. But even growing up around it isn't enough to convince KIRO Radio's Tom Tangney to butcher a bunny, even though the self-avowed Francophile admits he loves eating rabbit.

"My mom in Ballard raised chickens and they raised rabbits. I have memories of my grandfather Miller in our backyard plucking whatever dead things he had. I just feel like that's a Little House on the Prairie life that I have no experience with and no desire for," says Tangney.

Maybe if only they'd used the polite term for dispatching of the bunnies. Clinically, it's called "cervical dislocation." In other words, you have to break their necks.

"It still just turns my stomach," Tangney laughs.

Curley and his family have raised chickens for years. While he can't stand the thought of making a meal out them, his wife and a neighborhood friend regularly slaughter chickens for food.

"That to me seems more humane because you know how the animals lived, you've treated them really well. It's when you name them. That's when it becomes really hard."

Not to mention with rabbits, you add fur and extreme cuteness.

Could you do the deed for a fresh dinner?

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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