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Ostara Rabbit and Baby Vegetables

This post was written by Elysia
on January 13, 2011 | Comments (64)

2011 Witches' DatebookLast week, everyone pulled out their 2011 Witches’ Datebook and started thumbing through it. In the process, some of you have noticed that Llewellyn included a recipe for “Ostara Rabbit and Baby Vegetables” by Elizabeth Barrette in March. We’ve gotten a few letters from people disgusted by this inclusion, so obviously this has pushed some buttons. We certainly didn’t mean to upset anyone with this recipe; that was not our intention. We apologize to those of you who took this as a personal affront. However, all Pagans have very different values when it comes to meat consumption, and we feel we can’t dictate what everyone should or should not avoid eating. Our role as a publisher is not to issue moral decrees, but to share all types of information. Like everything else in Paganism, it’s up to you to choose your own path from the varied possibilities.

In her defense, Elizabeth Barrette is hardly the first one to propose eating rabbit on Ostara, for the same reason that egg dishes are popular then – they take the symbol of the season and incorporate it into the festivities. Case in point, this quote from Edain McCoy’s book, Ostara: “A German woman who has no conscious knowledge that the hare was an animal sacred to the spring goddess of her ancestors still feels compelled to make a rabbit stew for her family’s equinox dinner, a tradition practiced by her grandmother.” (p. xii) Elizabeth herself tells me, “I researched traditional foods for the seasons/holidays, and that was one of them …. If people don’t like rabbit, they can substitute chicken or skip that recipe.”

I feel this actually provides a perfect opportunity to open a discussion with you, our readers. Do you eat rabbit or other game? Would you? Isn’t eating a wild creature, by hunting or trapping (which is quite common in the Midwest where Llewellyn is based) or raising and slaughtering it yourself closer to nature and the reality of that animal’s sacrifice than buying a plastic-wrapped irradiated filet of some animal in a grocery store? Wouldn’t it be better to eat a bunny, no matter how cute and loveable, than to eat a Big Mac? Many restaurants and consumers are now making the case for just that.

A cute rabbit

Photo by aussiegall

Obviously some people will say no way; especially those who rescue rabbits and other small critters, or keep them as pets. To them, the thought of eating a rabbit is akin to eating a dog or a cat, as rabbits are America’s 3rd most popular pet. They share our homes and should never be placed on a dinner plate. But why? Is it the cuteness factor? (They are pretty darn cute.)  The fact that you know they’re intelligent? All animals that we currently eat are intelligent (to varying degrees, obviously) and sentient. I know many non-farmers back in Europe where I used to live who keep chickens and goats in their own backyards, care for them and live with them, and still eat them. This is what our Pagan ancestors used to do, after all.

But we now live in a more enlightened age. We have the freedom of a wide range of options open to us. Surely I would never eat a bunny if I could help it. But then again, I don’t eat pork, beef, chicken, turkey or goose either (in case you haven’t noticed, there is a goose recipe in the 2011 datebook as well). I am a vegetarian only partly based on Pagan principles – harm none, value and respect other forms of life – but that only goes so far, since I am still willing to eat plants which have their own devas, their own spiritual vibration and evolution, after all. I’m really vegetarian because of environmentalism; producing a pound of meat consumes many times more natural resources, and causes much more pollution and deforestation, than producing a pound of vegetables or grains. So from that point of view – putting a higher value on living lightly on the land– I would actually prefer people to trap, hunt or raise bunnies and eat them once in a while than to build mega-chicken factories where millions of birds live foul and miserable existences just so someone can buy a cheap chicken sandwich whenever they feel like it.

Meat used to be a valuable commodity, not something you’d eat every day. Industrialized society has found a way to industrialize and cheapen animals by abusing them rather than attempting to follow a more sustainable, humble diet. In my own personal opinion, I feel that most people could safely cut back their consumption of meat (although obviously people’s individual nutritional needs will differ) and when eating meat, could attempt to buy either USDA organic meats or those sold by local, humane producers.

All consumption of meat has a cost – an environmental cost, an emotional cost, a spiritual cost. For some people, the idea of eating a sacred rabbit costs them far too dearly and they will never do it. At the same time many Pagans accept the fact that humankind have been omnivores for millennia, and don’t have moral qualms about it. And you know what? Both positions are fine, because Pagans are simply not a homogenous group with strict religious taboos or scriptures.

Please join the conversation. What do you think? Are you upset that Llewellyn included a recipe for rabbit? Does Paganism inform your dietary choices? Are you interested in seeing the occasional game recipe in our annuals and books, or does it always turn you off? Please chime in, we really value your opinion, and this is a big one.

Reader Comments

Written By Elysia
on January 13th, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

Here are a couple links looking at the current growth in popularity of eating rabbit meat – note that some of them contain potentially distressing pictures (rabbit meat being butchered).




Written By jacob
on January 13th, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

We are all so powerful in our uniqueness, but astronomically more so in our cooperation. No healthy body would prefer a caged unnatural creature to a strong and free one, so those better options should be pursued and made available. We must each do our part to make a difference and progress on our different spiritual paths. I think anyone who has sought guidance will find a cleaner, clearer path to a better place often includes a reduction of, or for some, an elimination of meat. This is not meant to be a scale for the measurement of a persons spiritual progress, but a rarely spoken of truth. A difference should be noted here that a creature dying so that we may live IS different from a plant who’s beauty thrives on our physical decay and breathes our waste air while producing our clean air. Of course taking a creatures life can provide an enormous physical advantage, but I see its lifeforce is too often wasted as just another meal with little appreciation of the sacrifice made and therefore some is lost. Most of our air breathing meat intake consumes of beasts living off the plants and few that we consume live off eachothers blood So maybe we could skip the meat here and there and go straight to the lifeforce of the plant. Can you imagine what a different world it would be if we all just took a meatless meal once per month or week or day? Try it, you will like it. Try and see.

Written By Deborah Blake
on January 13th, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

I don’t have a problem with the recipe being included in the Datebook, or people eating rabbit if they chose to. I have a friend who raises her own animals for food so she knows it is done in a healthy and humane way–that includes cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, and yes, rabbits.

I was a vegetarian for many years and now that I eat meat again I try to do it mindfully. I mostly buy organic, and locally raised if I can. And no, I don’t eat rabbit. But I do eat lamb, and they’re cute too. Everyone has to make their own choices about what they put in their mouths and how they approach consuming meat–or not.

But yelling at Llewellyn for publishing a rabbit recipe, when people have eaten rabbit for thousands of years? That’s really not fair. If you don’t want to use the recipe, then have a lovely spinach salad for Ostara instead…that’s what I do.

Deborah Blake

Written By Crystal T.
on January 13th, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

I can only say, there are Pagans out there that eat MEAT too! We are not all vegetarians. I am very happy about this recipe being included.

As a “daughter” of Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt, I am a daughter of the hunt. Majority of the meat my family eats is provided by various members of our family’s harvesting during the many hunting and fishing seasons. This ranges from deer, fowl, and fish. I believe that the Goddess has provided us with the gifts of nourishment that come in both plant and animal form. We are all apart of the circle of life. I would so eat a rabbit before eating at a fast food chain! Rabbits (in my case wild, not pets) would be so much better for you. However, rabbit is also a very very lean meat with minimal fat and oils so humans could not live on that one source of meat alone.

Both plant and animals have energy and life forces within them. I don’t understand how some people can think that being a vegetarian is so much better. Plants provide approximately 95% the oxygen that we breathe with each and every breath we take. Plants have just as much life force with in them as animals do. When a plant is harvested, its life force is taken away just like the life force of an animal is taken away from the hunt.

The hunt is a ritul for those that perform it. It is apart of the hunter and his or her lifestyle. Also for those rare few, like myself, it is apart of their spirituality.

I applaud Llewellyn for including the recipes for meat dishes submitted by Ms. Barrette. I would like to see for future issues an equal number of recipes for both meat and meatless dishes. All food is nourishment, both in plant and animal form. Thank you Llewellyn for not only nourishing us spiritually, but in this case, this meat eater’s belly as well! I can’t wait to try this recipe!


Written By Hilary
on January 14th, 2011 @ 11:56 am

I personally enjoy that recipes are included in the datebook. I did notice this particular recipe, and would not have attempted to make it, but only because I’m a novice cook and not because of the choice of meat.

I’m of a position that if we choose what we eat mindfully, the right choice is made, and it’s a personal choice. I’m not a vegetarian, I’m not a vegan, but I respect those choices. I just happen to be a carnivore.

Please continue to include recipes in your datebooks. It’s a feature that I love!

Written By Elizabeth
on January 16th, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

I personally don’t have a problem with you choosing to publish a recipe for rabbit, even though I won’t be making that dish myself. When there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cookbooks out there with meat-centered recipes, protesting your publishing two such recipes seems a bit disproportionate. Unless you’re a plant and can utilize solar energy directly, most creatures must consume life to live. Under those circumstances, I agree with the comments about eating mindfully—whether it’s rabbit or radishes that you’re eating, it doesn’t hurt to appreciate it.

Written By tami
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

I am a cute-atarian. I do not eat anything I find cute.
I don’t like it in there. I rather see recipes with easier to find ingredients.

Written By D. Brazil
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

I appreciate having game recipes once in a while in a Sabbat context. my husband is a hunter as our ancestors were. It is only a natural part of the “Holy” times we celebrate.

Written By miss j
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

i’m hardcore vegan, have been for almost a decade. i have no more of a problem with rabbit being included as food item in a datebook than i do with whatever animal meat & products being sold at my local grocery store. turn the page & move on!
i have lots of datebooks and many include recipes which contain animal flesh; i have never heard of this being an issue before. is rabbit considered a better being than a chicken, for example? odd.

Written By Brainy_godess
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

To enjoy food, to create your own diet and to feel in balance with your enviroment. These are all personal choices. I grew up in rural America and Rabbit was occassionally on the menu. Just as many other forest creatures. It was just a way of feeding a large family when there was very little money. As an adult, I have become accustomed to grocery stores as my main means of gathering food. In fact It is my preferred method. The recipe included brought back memories of my childhood. Made me stop and think of the blessings I have now. Continue to include them, Those that are offended can take that page out and dispose of it. I will not be making them but they bring back alot of nostalgia,

Written By Giovanna
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

I don’t eat rabbit, but I’ma meat eater. I was not offended by this and my vegetarian friends wherent eather! :) I thing that Llewellyn have done nothing wrong just because this is for all people, and not one group or another… Thanks! Oh and sorry for gramatical mistakes, my english writing is not so good!

Written By marcia thomason
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

I cannot eat rabbit. I am 60 years old. When I was about 16 my dad went rabbit hunting, and I remember seeing the carcasses in the kitchen. I did not eat rabbit that night for dinnner with the family. I have not had it since. I also have ducks as pets. I would never eat a duck, after getting to know them on a personal level. They are smarter than my dog….and he is pretty clever. I do eat meat at times, but try to buy organic. I feel nonjudgemental about what others eat, unless it is a DUCK!

Written By Michelle
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

I don’t have a problem with the recipe being included either. I am a vegetarian, which is my choice and if people eat meat, that is their choice too. Not all pagans are vegetarian after all. It is unfortunate that some vegetarians feel the need to complain about these things instead of accepting them. It gives vegetarians a bad name and I find myself constantly having to defend myself on issues such as this one. We are not all complainers! Keep up the good work, Llewellyn! :)

Written By serena
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

Just because a person is a pagan, does not make them automatically a vegetarian. I doubt you would of gotten a response if the recipe had called for beef or chicken. But, there are still pagans out there, who eat wild game, and a new recipe is a new recipe and I for one would love to see more game recipe’s from the all natural wild hunt.

Written By Aisling
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

I have no issue with meat (game or conventional) recipes being posted within the Datebook. I would think a variety of recipes for vegetarians and meat eaters alike should be included as both are a part of the Pagan community.

Written By Stephanie
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

We cannot please everyone out there, the beauty of paganism is that there is so much variety out there. My sister is vegan, I am not, and yet we both are able to appreciate our dietary differences with love and respect.

If you don’t like meat dishes, please don’t take it out on those of us who do… try don’t make the dish if you don’t like it.


Written By Owl
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

I see no moral reason why a recipe for rabbit should not be in the datebook for Ostara. Rabbit is a symbol of Ostara right? Our ancestors surely ate it during that time. Don’t get the fluffy easter bunny confused with rabbit stew. :) Of course I am not a proponent of hunting either. In this day and age we do not have to “hunt” for our food. Be thankful for whatever you consume.

Written By Mel
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

I completely agree with Crystal here. Plus, I am carnivore, hear me roar! In all seriousness, it’s the consciousness of what you’re eating. Thank the Earth, the Gods, the Goddesses for what you’ve been given. Being frank about it, you can’t discriminate against one group in lieu of another. I would never expect someone to leave Vegetarian anything out of my cookbooks, and I would hope someone would be mindful of the same for me. Some of us are vegetarian, some are not. What divides us is not as important as what unites us- we are Pagan.

Written By Tabetha Smelser
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

I have absolutely no issue with you publishing a recipe for rabbit. Some people eat rabbit. I would not personally make this recipe at this time in my life, but I plan on owning a farm in the future, one where we can grow and raise all of our own foods, and rabbit is going to be one of those creatures we raise for food. I’m ok with that. I realize that some people choose not to eat meat or use any animal products and that is because that is their personal beliefs. Some people choose to eat meat but do it mindfully by choosing only locally grown, free-range meat from animals that were treated well. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are a Pagan publisher that is publishing things that are directed towards Pagans. We couldn’t be a more diverse group. Some people just need to remember that their beliefs aren’t necessarily the beliefs of others and should honor your choice to include a recipe that may not match up with their particular belief system.

Written By Tina
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

I don’t have a problem with the recipe being included in the book i am pagan and i am NOT a vegetarian not all pagans are vegetarian as the person above said all living things have souls and life-force’s so no matter what you eat your are taking its life and as such i believe it doesn’t matter whether you eat meat or vegetables, what matters is that you acknowledge and give thanks for the animal or plant giving its life to sustain yours… most humans and and animals are omnivorous (eat both meat and plant) its been that way since the creation of man.

Written By Sian
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

I’m delighted to find the recipes in the date book. I’m a Pagan, yes, but not a vegetarian. I incorporate praise and thanks to the animal’s sacrifice for my good even on non-feast days.

I would love to see people more open-minded. While I would not choose to eat cat or dog there are cultures where this is commonplace. This does not offend me nor would I condemn those who make this choice.

Written By Suzanne
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

Although I wouldn’t eat rabbit (because they are cute) I also wouldn’t eat deer, because they are sacred to ME. That does not mean that I would hold it against anyone who would eat either one. On Ostara I would most likely eat eggs or things made with eggs. I think being mindful of what you eat, is like you are worshiping the spirit of what you eat.

Written By Lizzie
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

Pagan does not directly mean you are vegetarian!

My family (here in the UK) used to raise rabbit and chickens “for the pot” when I was a child, because we couldn’t afford meat despite living in a farming community. It was raised with love and care, with due reverence given at the end of life. As I grew up, I become a involved with a wide variety of ecological, political and conservation ideologies and practices, many of which have evolved along with me.

I did not eat meat for some years, as I did not agree with the production methods and lack of care and respect for the animals. As time passed and production practices changed I can now purchase organic, respectfully reared and free-ranged meats local to where I live, so I now choose to eat some sustainably produced meat and fish. I am ecologically aware or the debates involved in its production, and choose my own way forward.

Pagans are not all vegetarian or vegan. Some of choose another path, to eat meat, but do so with respect.

Meat recipes should be included in a book aimed at all Pagans, and perhaps the publisher could state that all recipes are not meat free. This may give a wider choice to those wishing to purchase the book, and avoid distress at a meat recipe being included.

Written By Monica Divane
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

I accidently posted on fb instead of here so I’m just copying what I wrote on there: Yes, it bothered me greatly! I had to block out that whole section with something because I found it that horrible. Not only do I have two rabbits but I’m vegan as well. I pretty much ignore the recipes completely, which might seem weird cuz I’m a chef. I have learned from past date books that you don’t really accommodate vegans. I enjoy the datebooks greatly except for the recipes. It would be nice if the people who plan out the books considered that many people have allergies to dairy (like me), wheat, etc. and also a lot of witches I know are vegan. I’d be happy to share some of my personal holiday recipes.

Written By R
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

I’m vegan. And pagan, clearly. Just wanted to get the vegan bit out of the way, because it will show in my response a bit of a bias. I would like to thank you for writing out such a well-articulated post about this, as meat consumption is something a lot of people get very passionate about – myself included. A lot of the commenters before me have brought up a lot of excellent points.

I do believe that eating locally raised meat is healthier than fast-food crap, and I’m glad a lot of the posters here have decided to go that route. But let’s face it – everyone knows how to cook meat. One thing that a lot of people could learn how to do is cook vegetables! When a lot of people think of vegan or vegetarian dishes, they get an image of bland steamed veggies. No wonder carnivores think our meals are boring! But there are so, so many vegan options that many carnivores consume without realizing that they’re vegan. Vegetable sushi, vegetable curry, hummus, pita, most veggie soups. There’s more to vegetable-based dishes than steamed broccoli and a baked potato. Seriously.

It would be really great to see meat as a minor point in recipes – because then it’s inclusive to ALL of us. For instance, if it’s a stew or soup, provide a veggie-friendly recipe, and then add a sentence or so to the effect of: if you eat meat we would recommend rabbit or chicken with the flavours of this dish, etc. Or something a bit more open to all people. EVERYONE needs veggies to live. I just hate having to skip recipes because it’s so meat-based to the point of there being nothing salvageable from a veg perspective. It’s easy to change milk to soy or almond milk, but when it’s “cook meat, the end” it gets a little boring. A lot of people just go straight to meat dishes because they don’t know how to cook anything else – as such a huge publishing house, you have the power to make that change and show your public that tasty veggie dishes are totally within reach. And you wouldn’t alienate any of your readership, either.

I know that the meat recipe didn’t alienate me, per se, but as someone who loves to cook I was disappointed there wasn’t something more inclusive to people of all eating denominations.

Everyone eats fruits and veggies.

Written By Suzi
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

My personal interpretation of the Wiccan Rede (“Harm None”) has led me to a vegan lifestyle. I also honor the free will of my fellow humans to eat whatever they choose. I was not offended by the recipe, but would prefer to see more healthy, tasty vegan recipes. meat-eaters can always eat (and enjoy) vegan food, but not the other way ’round.

Written By Ness
on January 17th, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

As a vegetarian, I do not see any difference between eating a rabbit, deer, cow, or any other animal. Regardless of what animal, I will not eat any of them. I don’t have a problem with a recipe being in the book though. I make my choices just as others make theirs. I’d like more people to go vegetarian, but it’s their choice! I’d also like to mention that not all of the people who complained were vegetarian, some of them probably just think eating an animal that some have as a pet it just plain disgusting. It’s not a vegetarian vs. omnivore debate but a My View vs. Your View debate.

Written By DeAnna
on January 17th, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

I have absolutely no problem with a recipe for rabbbit being included in a date book, cook book or any other book that is created for a broader spectrum of people. What I do a have a problem with is people feeling that they can flip out because someone else may want/need to know about something other than what they, themselves, prefer. Not all pagans are vegetarian, not all christians are meat eaters. Perhaps a warning label, as previously suggested in these comments would be helpful. I personally find it ridiculous that pagans, of all people, cannot be respectful and tolerant of diversity and therfore would need such a silly contrivence!
Do I eat meat? Yes. Do I eat rabbit? I honestly haven’t tried it simply because it has never been an option and I wouldn’t know how to cook it, well at least not until I get the date book! :)

Written By ReeNee Ravenstar
on January 17th, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

I am addicted to chocolate bunnies. I have many friends who included rabbit in their diet, many because raising rabbits was so cost effective. I don’t think you are out of line at all.

Written By paula
on January 17th, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

in my opinion…
pagans have been eating meat (4, 2, and no legged animals) for several thousands of years…and some of us still do (though, i think humans eating each other has fallen out of fashion for a while now).
i, personally, appreciate knowing how to safely prepare wild game…ALL kinds of it.
if you’re going to kill it, please, eat it…use the skin, and the rest of it for whatever purpose it is best suited.
by all means…if given the opportunity…ask the critter for permission, first.

friends bring us some of their kills…deer, bear, rabbit, opossum, raccoon…whatever.
i feel that we, as human beings, are meat eaters by design. but we also have freedom of choice.
if you choose not to eat it…dont use the recipe.
i, personally, choose meat.
i thank whatever creature for the contribution to the nourishment of me and my family. and i try to treat the meat with the respect i fell it deserves.
thanks for the recipe.

maybe llewellyn could put out a wild game cookbook?

brigtest of blessings…

Written By melanie jacobson
on January 17th, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

i used to gag when someone said “cooked rabbit” because they are so cute (but even then i had to admit they were tasty, especially bbq’d) then i realized that my favorite food–veal picatta–comes from something even cuter…so, to each his own…i am sick of people tryinh=g to tell other people how to live…if you don’t like that recipe–glue the pages together or even better–tear the recipe out!!!

Written By Billie Jo
on January 17th, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

I don’t see the problem with this. If perhaps there were more such recipes we would be a healthier population due to all the injections the government gives to all of the cattle and poultry we eat, and the same goes for the pesticides on the vegetation we eat.We didn’t know the out come than but we are seeing it now.If more people would go green and eat more organically with what is given to us in nature we would not have so many of us dying of the various cancers that seem to be so prevalent in the states.I was not one to eat Venison but it is less in fat,a leaner alternative and as for Rabbit I have not had the pleasure to try it . I wouldn’t say to raise it as a pet and than eat that would be nasty and unethical.

Written By Ruby
on January 17th, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

I don’t eat most meats, but Paganism is all about balance. Plants are living and we kill, cook and eat them. Life if a cycle and a balance of give and take. So although I wouldn’t make the dish with Rabbit, I really don’t think including such a recipe is in anyway inappropriate. As a matter of fact I’d go so far as to say a hunted rabbit or one bought from a local farm is by far a better and more humane choice than buying a package of ground beef or pork loin from the grocery store.

Written By CreativeJuicez
on January 17th, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

There has been a lot of commentary about Pagan and vegan. They are separate life choices. You do not have to be a vegan to be a pagan or vice versa. If you are not vegan it does not reflect on your spiritual path.

As a Menominee, my family hunts and fishes to put food on the table as our ancestors did. A prayer of thanks is given to the animals and the plants that give their ‘spirit’ to sustain us. While our Pagan friends celebrate Samhain, we celebrate Harvest Moon to give thanks for a successful hunt and harvest.

While we are not vegan we have many friends that are. Whenever we host a dinner we always make sure to have vegan alternative dishes and our vegan friends have meat dishes for us when they host a dinner. We also make sure to have alternatives for our friends that have gluten and milk allergies. It is a matter of respect.

Written By Kell Bray (Rohanna)
on January 17th, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

I think it is perfectly acceptable to include the recipies for meals that include meat – be it game meats or ecologically farmed meats. I am a meat eater by choice I live in a rural area and was raised partly on a farm, I have no probvlem eating any meat as long as it is ecologically farmed (be that free range eggs through to farm reared and slaughtered cattle.

I think it also needs to be remembered that although Wicca (and Witchcraft) are the more commonly practiced forms of Paganism there are other forms which practice a more primal connection to the Earth, which still include ‘sacrifices’, such as some practitioners of Asatru.

I attended one such festival after being invited (out of curiosity) and was happy to see the animals to be slaughtered had been raised with love, care and that the animals had led the best life possible. These animals had been hand reared and were sacrificed by those who had raised them, so it was done with care and love. The animal parts were then all used – for hide food even to make glue and they used it all.

It was a wonderful experience, and I am so glad I attended. It showed me we can raise, farm and slaughter our food much as our ancestors did with respect, thanks and honour.

Written By Caitlin
on January 17th, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

I am strictly vegan for three primary reasons. Firstly for my health, since meat, dairy and eggs are much higher in saturated fats, triglycerides and cholesterol than other vegetarian protein and fat options. Secondly for the environment, since producing 1 lb of food from animals does take approximately 10 times the energy and water that producing 1 lb of vegan foods does. Also the waste that farmed animals produce is the number one industrial pollutant of the water, land and air in our country, which is a little known and much ignored fact. Thirdly for animal rights reasons since animals unlike plants experience pain and fear just like we do. Now, most of these concerns can be reduced by eating animals or animal by-products which are sustainably grown in small numbers on organic free range farms, or sustainably hunted in small numbers in the wild. Generally both of these options produce food which is leaner and healthier, drastically reduce the energy usage and waste byproducts and thus minimize the environmental impact compared to commercial farming. The animals are generally also more humanly raised and killed and subjected to less pain and fear. However, even if meat and animal products are only obtained through organic free range farms or hunting the fact remains that eating a completely animal free diet is still healthier, more sustainable and environmentally friendly and cruelty free. Yes, obviously vegetables do have a life force, however they are not capable of feeling pain or fear. This third reason is principally why many pagans feel that eating meat and animal by-products (even ones from organic free range farms or hunting) still violate the “Harm None” principal. “Harm None” is usually taken to mean do no harm to any living thing unless it is absolutely necessary to sustain or protect your own life (i.e. self defense and food). Of course, the Harm None principal is not necessarily central to all pagan beliefs, I am primarily referring to Wicca in which Harm None is the central ethical focus. My next point is not really an ethical argument but more of a simple scientific fact: animal products are no longer necessary to sustain our lives. Our bodies are omnivorous to reflect the choices of food our ancestors had available, but they do not REQUIRE animal products to survive. Yes, our pagan predecessors ate meat and animal products, because they had to. They did not have the luxury of making a conscious ethical choice about their food, we do. I see no difference between eating a rabbit vs. a cow vs. a chicken vs. any other living being which can feel pain and fear just like we do. So, all of these points taken into consideration together, I do feel that eating any living thing which can feel pain and fear is against my religious beliefs, on top of the health and environmental concerns. However, that being said, Wicca as well as many other pagan belief systems encourage a non-judgemental attitude towards others, so just because I personally find it morally and spiritually wrong to eat meat myself, does not mean that I am entitled to judge others for doing so. It is a personal decision, everyone should be able to make the choice for themselves and everyone else in the community should accept their decision, as long as it is an informed decision and they have carefully examined the issue and thought about the careful reasoning of others about it. That is why I am writing this… to share one perspective on the issue which may be considered along with the perspectives of others when making an informed decision. As far as the more specific issue of putting a recipe in for one particular animal, again from a moral perspective, I see no difference whatsoever between the rabbit and any other type of meat. Simply because one animal is more cute or cuddly looking than another does not make its life more important or valuable than any other. That is really the whole reason for the Harm None principal in the first place, the belief that all life is equal and has equal value.

Written By Craig Mieczkowski
on January 17th, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

It is a very European meal. In the US, the number of people who eat rabbit are limited to those who hunt it, hopefully eating them, and those who are gourmands. IN France, it is a common dish. It is somewhat difficult to buy rabbit in a store and various other meats take its place; beef, chicken, pork, and yes cute lamb, and even young cows. It is a mindset, from when we were young grocery shopping, and we dont think of it as eatable meat very often. Rabbit populations are somewhat high, many just dying from disease, and lack of food. Yes they are cute, and many of us for this reason, do not think of them as viable dinner menus. I do not eat animal meat and dont preach for it or against it. Anyways, perhaps various meats should be excluded. Its hard to please everyone of every branch of faiths. There are a plethora of vegetable dishes that people can make, just as nutritious and healthy.

Written By Lacey
on January 17th, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

I get alot of slack when I post ancient spells that have body fluids in them, but you have to remember they didn’t have ink and pens and used what was at hand, they didnt kill animal that were not eaten, so no I am not offended our current lives were based on those same beliefs back then , if your vegan scan over it put a vegan friendly item in it’s place

Written By Oceans
on January 17th, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

People are offended so quickly before they take time to really think about what they are objecting too. Think it through before you get yourself all in a tizzy.

Written By Piglet
on January 17th, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

To each their own. I choose not to eat a lot of meat, but I don’t feel a need to impose my food beliefs on anyone else. I have no problem with how others eat as long as they do so responsibly.

Written By Karyn
on January 17th, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

As a pagan with the belief that all gods are one god, I imagine pretty much every animal/ plant/ herb would be sacred to some god/goddess, so we would be reduced to eating nothing based on that premise. As has been said before, we can choose not to read or even use a particular recipe but to demand their exclusion is elitist and discriminatory to say the least.

Written By Nymallia Stormcrow
on January 17th, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

I was pleasantly surprised to find the rabbit recipe in this years date book! I was raised to hunt & fish & trap. I look to nature not only for my goddess but for all life giving nurishment as well… i have my herb garden…veggie garden…chickens…wild game…wild mushrooms…I fear for those who separate them selves from the goddesses bounty in these modern times…it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it helps us stay linked to our ancestors.

Written By Gin Setzer
on January 17th, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

I don’t have a problem with the recipe because it list chicken as a substitute. I don’t eat much in the way of meat, but I never begrudge others’ choices. Live and let live.

Written By Laura
on January 17th, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

We eat rabbit when we have it. A friend of ours raises and butchers their own. They are tender and juicy. If you eat meat but don’t like rabbit, substitute chicken or turkey in the recipe.

Written By Ariel
on January 17th, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

I like a good rabbit recipe other than the traditional way I was taught to cook it. If no one likes the thought of eating rabbit or even the recipe the skip past it. You don’t have to focus on the article, recipe, or even the thought of eatting a rabbit. Just my point of view.

Written By SilverPhoenix
on January 17th, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

We all have different dietary preferences. I used to cook wild game allot when I was married to a hunter and we were glad to have food for the table. I just can’t afford to be a vegetarian. May I suggest that you make 2 issues 1 with the occassion wild game recipe and 1 for the Vegan Pagan with a wild veggie recipe. Who cares what someone else eats. A recipe is just words on paper. Next we’ll have to fight over the “one true diet to follow”. Lighten up and quit sounding like a fundie..jeez!

Written By Thaynor
on January 18th, 2011 @ 12:42 am

I think it is a good thing to add them and have them both in the same issue. Tyring to change how people eat because of how you like to eat is just as bad as the Christians you complain about pushing Christ on people.

Written By Marleen
on January 18th, 2011 @ 9:30 am

In all fairness, let me point out …there are people with pet cows as well as those who Worship them…I’m just adding a dose of gravity

Written By Donald Michael Kraig
on January 18th, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

Many years ago, Llewellyn used to publish a magazine called “Gnostica.” The editor at the time published pictures of his pet eating a meal. His pet was a snake and the meal was a small rodent. There was a barrage of letters complaining about it.—
Ostara takes place on the Spring Equinox. When our Pagan ancestors celebrated this holiday they couldn’t go to a supermarket and pick up fresh fruits and vegetables! Meat, at this time, was a treat. It’s totally appropriate to have this recipe for this festival.—
My concern is that unless we live rurally, we are very isolated from our food sources. We don’t see people working for minimum wages so we can get a head of lettuce or a banana. When it comes to meat consumption we don’t see how the animals are raised, slaughtered, skinned, etc. Most people today think that ham is pink (actually it’s grey and then dyed pink).—
Having a rabbit recipe, especially for Ostara, is perfectly appropriate. However, perhaps it should begin, “Step 1: Catch a rabbit…” I think if this were done far fewer people would be eating meat.

Written By Shirley
on January 18th, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

I see no difference in rabbit ..than chicken/beef/lamb/
fish..if you choose to not eat meat that is fine!! As for the receipe being in the date book I see no problem, you do not like it don’t make it, why complain about a difference in beliefs that you are not being “made” to do?? And if you think its because it is “cute”??? plants coming up fom mother earth, could be considered “cute”, and you eat them when they mature and harvested. I say put your energy in something more worthy to complain about!!

Written By Brittany
on January 18th, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

What I am hearing is that the majority of people are not offended by the recipe. If they don’t like it, they simply turn the page. I personally am not offended by this recipe. I like meat. I eat meat. I happen to think bacon is its own food group! :-D I have never encountered rabbit on a plate, so I’m not quite sure if I would eat it.
I understand where the vegetarians and the vegans are coming from. I was vegetarian for a while until I became iron-deficient anemic. So I get it, I do; I just don’t understand why there is such a big fuss.
I’m allergic to bananas. Should I have written in to Llewellyn and told them the Banana Trifle recipe in 2004 offended me? Should I have flipped out over the Celebration Slush in 2008 because it called for a banana?
I wasn’t on the site much last year, but in 2010 there’s a recipe for “Hunter’s Hare” which calls for rabbit, yet says one may substitute chicken. Did someone complain then? If so, we have backtracked.
Elysia (our original poster) was correct when she said “Our [Llewellyn's] role as a publisher is not to issue moral decrees, but to share all types of information.”
Everyone is entitled to their own choices. We as Pagans, who get so much flak just for being Pagan, should not fight a futile battle amongst ourselves. Besides, if all witches were the same, we’d just be a clichĂ©; and isn’t that one thing we’ve been fighting against?
Remember, it takes all types of people to make up the God’s and Goddess’s beautiful world!

Written By Kaitie
on January 19th, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

I am personally glad that a game recipe was used. I am a pagan, have been my whole life, and I have no moral issue eating animals. I respect animals, I try to eat organic or local meat and remember to be thankful that the animal gave it’s life so that my body could be nourished. I tried avoiding meat and animal byproducts for a while and it actually made me quite ill as I discovered I have a soy allergy and most meat substitutes are soy. Health reasons aside, we are all different. Different lifestyles, different dietary needs, different views. It’s good that opposite views are being expressed and shared. It helps us grow and experience new things but also makes it fair to everyone. If every recipe was vegetarian or every recipe contained meat it would create a very single minded point of reference. Since so many of us use Llewellyn publications as just that, reference, they would be doing their readers a disservice if they allowed only one group to be heard.

Written By Amanda
on January 26th, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

I was not really offended to see this recipe in the datebook. I will admit I did crinkle my nose a bit at the idea of eating rabbit, but I know that it is a rather common food for some people. I personally couldn’t hunt or prepare any wild game [or raised animals] for myself simply because I don’t like killing things, and preparing it myself would bring about the notion of eating that creature’s death. I’m not really sure how much sense that makes to other people, but it’s just wierd for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love meat. I have a condition called Syncopy (like diabetes, but protein, not sugar), so I make a point to eat meat with nearly every meal to keep my protein levels up. I’m just not a fan of eating any meat that still looks like an animal.
While I agree that there should be more things included for vegans and vegetarians, I don’t see why we should have to omit meat recipes all together, no matter what type of meat it calls for. Especially if it is a traditional dish for the holiday.

Written By Violet
on January 27th, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

I’m relieved that I didn’t order this book! As a vegetarian of 20 years, I try to ignore when others eat meat, but having had pet bunnies for the past 18 years, this certainly makes me sick to my pagan stomach! Rabbits are the 3rd most popular housepet in the US, behind cats & dogs. You die-hard meateaters out there – would you eat cat or dog meat? No? Why not? Because they’re PETS? Scuse me, then you are hypocrites because rabbits are pets too. I’d like to add that I’m also anti-hunting, mainly because of the violence involved. I’m not criticizing you folks for eating meat, but you could get yours at the grocery store. (No, I don’t condone factory farming either, but I don’t see it ever becoming extinct.)

Written By Dani
on January 29th, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

As a vegetarian for 19 years now (for moral/spiritual reasons), I’d prefer not to see recipes containing animals. (This is where my mind goes off in a dozen different directions, so I’ll try not to digress too much) First, my spirituality is something I look to to escape the cruelty and suffering of the world in which we live. To me, our one moral yardstick (“An it harm none, do as ye will”) necessitates the avoidance of inflicting pain and suffering on any creature capable of experiencing them. That said, we live in shades of gray, not black-and-white, and factory farming is BY FAR the worst way to obtain animal flesh to consume. Raising animals as humanely as possible, or hunting them and killing them as quickly and humanely as possible, are at least preferable to buying meat from the store. Take any animal on the planet, and at the global level, you can find someone somewhere who eats that animal. Pets to one person are food to another, no exceptions. So if you eat any animal, you can’t condemn someone else for eating an animal that you “like better.” And if you are a lacto-ovo vegetarian (eat dairy & eggs), you should research the flipside of both the dairy and egg industries. You’ll find that they are wholly responsible for the extreme abuse and consumption of veal calves and for many millions of baby chicks being LITERALLY thrown in the trash, either alive or killed by some atrocious and inhumane manner. So, unfortunately, even non-vegan vegetarians are hypocritical to wag their finger at meat eaters.

Written By Kara
on January 31st, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

I think a healthy conversation is always a good thing. Thank you for taking the time to provide a forum of sorts. There are MANY differing opinions about food choices and we will all NEVER agree. I believe it is an extremely individual and personal decision and no one else can dictate how anyone should eat! I personally would rather never eat meat, but my body demands an omnivorous diet. Therefore, I eat mindfully and am grateful to the creative energy of the Universe for providing so many options for me. I would be out of luck living in some other parts of the world!

Written By Snowy
on February 5th, 2011 @ 9:18 am

Rabbits are prey. This isn’t a cultural or philosophical opinion, it’s the way of the wild. Rabbits (and their cousins, hares) are prey to many creatures – just about any carnivore of appropriate size – and the dance of predator and prey is a vital, essential, integral part of the cycles of Nature. Prey should be respected, but that doesn’t mean denying that they are prey. Dogs and cats are not comparable in this regard to rabbits, not because they are pets in one country or another, but because they are (derived from) predator species rather than prey species.

Pagan once meant ‘country dweller’, but quite a few modern ‘neo-Pagans’ seem to have forgotten their roots. Buying meat at the supermarket is nothing more than paying someone else to kill and butcher your prey for you… and you can bet the average meat factory employee isn’t going to offer tobacco and a prayer for the livestock.

Written By MV
on March 21st, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

Some of the best friends I’ve EVER had have been bunnies. I’m actually a big supporter of a regional rabbit rescue organization here in New England (and have adopted several “best friends” into my home over the years). I would NEVER eat them, and was just horrified to see a recipe like this included in a Llewellyn datebook. :(

I wouldn’t look down on someone who ate whatever they had to in order to survive, and I do respect other people’s rights to do what they need to do… the circle of life and all! But I don’t want to see recipes about how to cook bunnies… it’s very upsetting, like serving up the family dog or hamster or kitty or canary.

Bunnies made out of chocolate, however… that’s a whole other story.

Written By Madeline Day
on March 24th, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

People like myself and some of the other folks commenting are repelled at the inclusion of this recipe in your book because for us, rabbits are a beloved animal companion. I would never purchase a book containing a rabbit recipe. To see a rabbit recipe is no different from seeing one for a cat or dog.

Rabbits are incredibly loving and affectionate towards their humans who care for them. When happy, they make a contented clicking noise, parallel to a cat’s purr. They are highly intelligent, and protective of their family members. One of my rabbits predicted an earthquake a few years ago. He ran to my husband and me, thumping and growling for no appearent reason. A few minutes later, we felt the tremors of a small earthquake.

All of my rabbits were rescues, because many people look at them as an object to be thrown out when no longer useful or entertaining. (Many adolescent rabbits are abandoned for this reason, because some go through a brief, tempermental “teenage” phase where they may be less inclined to play and react more moodily toward humans.)

My rabbits have been a huge part of my family and given us so much love and joy. I hope Llewellyn will take this perspective into consideration when producing your next books.

Written By Doug
on April 10th, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

After reading through all of the previous 59 comments in their entirety, it seems that all of the objections to the inclusion of the rabbit recipe can be summed up as follows: “I am offended, therefore *you* shouldn’t do it.” No one has the right, neither implied nor implicit, to never be offended. If something offends you, move on and get over it — don’t demand that anyone else should be expected to do without something simply because you find it distasteful, for whatever reason that may be. Had this book been titled “The Vegan Datebook”, there’d be valid grounds for objecting to the recipe’s inclusion. As it is, it seems (from the comments above) to have served a far larger portion of the audience than it offended.

Vegetarian/vegan vs. carnivore is likely to remain one of several ‘hot buttons’ sure to fire up heated debate within the pagan community, along with skyclad vs. robed vs. streetclothed rituals, monogamy vs. polyamory, the use of tobacco (or even psychotropic materials) in pursuit of higher consciousness, or whether the use of sex magic or blood magic is ever appropriate. It is my sincere hope that Lewellyn will continue to publish materials (recipes included) that reflect and respect the full diversity of their readership and the pagan community, and that most of that readership will be sufficiently mature to simply bypass any portion(s) of their publishing efforts that are personally offensive.

Written By Jessie Mittelstadt
on November 4th, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

This seems so silly. People who are part of something that has been looked down upon for hundreds of years, people who wanted their beliefs to be allowed and not judged are now judging people within their own faiths. We all look for equality and once it’s pretty much in grasp we turn on each other and judge over rediculious things. We are all allowed our own beliefs and we are all allowed NOT to read things that bother us. We do NOT force ourselves on others. We do NOT force others to conform as we are not forced to conform.

Written By Leandra
on April 1st, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

Just my two cents…. Im not a vegetarian, and I have eaten rabbit in the past (I think I remember my father hunting them when I was a child). To me, I dont think that it bothers me that the rabbit recipe was in the book because of the cuteness factor of the bunny – or because of the vegetarian/meat-eater debate… the only thing that bothers me is that the rabbit is sacred to the Goddess moreso at Ostara than any other time, and to me — again, just my opinion here – its a bit rude and uncaring to call ourselves Goddess worshippers and then roast her sacred animal on the holiday in which its revered. Itd be like roasting up reindeer at xmas… ya know?

But even with that being my feeling… I can easily turn the page in the book and ignore the recipe if I dont like it. OR if it bothers me profoundly I … get ready to catch yourself … can always rip the page out… there all gone, problem solved. =)

Life’s too short to fight amongst ourselves folks – we’re all on this road together… allow and celebrate diversity instead of mandating that all must think exactly like you do.

Written By Astrid.Asimov
on March 12th, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

Is it possible that the whole Artemis/Diana huntress persona is a fake?
Is it possible that it is a lame apology for taking the easy way out, for taking what belongs to another?

Sorry, I see no spiritual value in slaughtering and dismembering and consuming beings who do not want to be so abused.
Ancestors, shamcestors!
Would you kill and eat a unicorn, a centaur, a mermaid, a sylph, a faerie?

Written By Laura
on April 17th, 2015 @ 1:14 pm

I believe we have dominion over all the birds, fowl and fish. That being said, we have a responsibility to treat them with respect. Hunting and fishing in the wild is much better than grocery store mass eating, but those skills are falling by the wayside. So, solution? Waste as little as possible and do eat lesser liked meats like venison and rabbit. And if you do hunt, make use of the whole animal-hunting just for sport is down right despicable.

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