Moral Question of the Day: Should We Burn Bunnies for Biofuel?

baby bunnies

Biofuel comes from some strange sources—watermelon, coffee grounds, and poop, to name a few. But when does the weirdness cross over into immorality? Perhaps when we start burning bunnies for biofuel.

As unbelievable as it may sound, stray rabbits in Stockholm are reportedly being captured, frozen, and shipped to a heating plant to be used as biofuel by a local company called Konvex. It's not quite as cruel as it first seems. Thousands of strays and abandoned pets hop around the streets of Stockholm, and they've begun to munch on crops in city parks. So in a way, turning the rabbits into biofuel is just an efficient method to get rid of an invasive animal. But unsurprisingly, the killings are angering animal right activists.

Sweden's Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits claims that parks could be sprayed with chemicals to make them unattractive to rabbits. Rabbit hunters protest that this will just move the problem without eradicating it. Killing the animals does seem like the simplest and least toxic solution, but using the mass slaughter of a single species for fuel doesn't sit well. It's true that dead human bodies have been used by some towns for their waste heat, but the humans involved weren't killed for their energy potential. The rabbits, on the other hand, are methodically killed and packaged.

What do you think—have we gone too far?

[Via Scientific American]

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20 Comments

  • aleli ginger

    Bunnies munching on the plants? Probably not a strong enough reason, however- the bleeding hearts should not overreact. We kill pigs for our sausages right? Animals for fuel, animals for food, it is a difference without a distinction.

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  • Felix Desroches

    Very tongue in cheek - I like.

    Bunny burning aside, it does highlight that we should start to think more creatively about our excessive energy usage. I'm with @Paolo, bunny burgers it is.

  • Anne Ramallo

    @ Gregory Sparzo - In defense of "Bunnies" title, I don't think FC was trying to take a point of view or skew the conversation, but to lure readers. It worked for me!

    I'm a total sucker for cute animals. But I can also be a rational person who realizes that if the wild bunny population gets to the point where it is a blight, then some of them have to go. In a natural ecosystem, a predator would eliminate them and reap the benefit of their energy. It seems fitting that as the predator in this case humans would also take advantage of their energy. As long as they're humane about it...

  • David Schnell

    The article is poorly presented and requires much more analysis and investigation to even be considered.

  • Josh Jeffryes

    The bunnies would be killed either way. Would it be better to have them rot uselessly in a landfill?

  • Donna Schmidt

    A line was crossed when it was decided that food should be processed into fuel with government subsidies for the production of ethanol from corn. Whether it is unwanted rodents, be they rabbits or rats, or another source of fuel, it's time to realize that there are limited resources on this planet, and proceed with finding alternatives.

  • Jonah Stein

    This is not a moral question at all. Man kind has eliminates predators and turned the "cutest" animals into urban pests. The means that we have to take the place at the top of the food chain to control populations of rabbits, squirrels, deer and any other species that is well adopted to co-existing in suburban and urban environments the same way we control populations of dogs and cats. Burning them in an incinerator that calls itsef a bio fuel plant is a non issue.

  • Gregory Sparzo

    Disappointed in your sensational title. "Bunnies?" Cheap shot on your part. What is the ethical issue of burning carcasses for fuel? If you want to argue about killing the "bunnies" in the first place, that's fine, but once they're enert, why not use them for fuel? The certainly are a renewable resource.

  • Anthony Larson

    We could also use them in our SUVs - "Why, if I go slowly I get 19 miles per bunny."

  • Shevonne

    I don't think any kind of animal, regardless of what it is, should be used for this. This is pretty sick.

  • Allan Emerson

    Would anyone care if it were rats instead? The only reason this seems to have gone "too far" is because we've deemed this particular fuel source as cute.

  • Paolo Bacigalupi

    This is a complete waste of bunnies. Obviously they should be killed and fed to the homeless.