NBC News Interviews SaveToby.Com Proprietors

In April, NBC News correspondent George Lewis interviewed the two college students behind SaveToby.Com, which is competing with BonsaiKitten.Com for the title of web site most hated by animal lovers.

The site features a picture of a rabbit and the claim that unless the site’s proprietors receive $50,000 by June 30, 2005 that Toby will be killed and eaten,

I am going to eat him. God as my witness, I will devour this little guy unless I receive $50,000 into my account.

If animal lovers were smart, they’d just ignore this sort of silly nonsense, but instead they post horrified e-mails that circulate until finally the issue is big enough that George Lewis interviews those responsible for NBC News.

According to one of the unnamed partners behind the site,

We’ve been getting tremendously varied responses. Many of which include death threats almost on a daily basis.

The unnamed individual maintains, however, that the site is not a hoax,

No, not at all. As a matter of fact, it’s very serious. If we don’t get $50,000, we are going to eat the rabbit.

The odd thing is that people care so much, especially given that its perfectly legal to eat rabbits.

What’s the next step? Is someone going to set up a picture of a lobster with the claim that “I’m going to eat this lobster if I don’t receive $50,000 in my account?” Fine, go ahead and eat Toby already.

But people fall for this crap and the result is that SaveToby.Com’s operators claim they’ve received $20,000 in cash (which I find hard to believe), and have a book deal — all of which they owe to the idiots circulating these stupid e-mails about the horror of the web site.

Yeah, that’s showing ’em. You have to think that the BonsaiKitten.Com folks are kicking themselves for not starting a “we’re going to eat this Bonsai kitten if we don’t receive $50,000” campaign. Anyone for BonsaiRabbit.com?


Fur files over rabbit death threat. George Lewis, NBC News, April 11, 2005.

Is SaveToby.Com The Next BonsaiKitten.Com?

A new website at SaveToby.Com is vying to replace BonsaiKitten.Com in the hearts and minds of the over-sensitive and humor-impaired.

The site purports to tell the tale of finding a cute rabbit during a storm. Alas, the rabbit’s newfound owner cannot afford to keep the bunny, Toby, and so offers an interesting proposition — either the site owner receives $50,000 in donations or on June 30, 2005, Toby gets killed and eaten,

Unfortunately, on June 30th, 2005, Toby will die. I am going to eat him. I am going to take Toby to a butcher to have him slaughter this cute bunny. I will then prepare Toby for a midsummer feast. I have several recipes under consideration, which can be seen, with some pretty graphic images, under the recipe section.

I donÂ’t want to eat Toby, he is my friend, and he has always been the most loving, adorable pet. However, God as my witness, I will devour this little guy unless I receive 50,000$ USD into my account from donations or purchase of merchandise. You can help this poor, helpless bunnyÂ’s cause by making donations through my verified PayPal account by clicking on any of the Donate buttons on this site, or by purchasing merchandise at the Savetoby.com online store.

The recipes section includes pictures of Toby sitting in a large pot with the caption, “Get me out of this pot!”

You’d think people would have learned from the hilarious outrage over BonsaiKitten.Com not to fall for these sorts of sites, but some folks just can’t contain themselves.

Of special note was one Marine Black who apparently works for the Washington State Department of Ecology (apparently they don’t have very high personnel qualifications at the department). Upon learning of the site, according to East Valley Tribune, Black contacted the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission in an effort to get the site shut down. Black told the Tribune,

ItÂ’s emotional extortion and itÂ’s potential animal abuse so itÂ’s emotionally pulling on people.

Wow. Lets hope Marnie doesn’t stumble across BonsaiKitten.Com — seeing it so soon after SaveToby.Com could cause permanent emotional damage.

Other outraged individuals have also contacted GoDaddy.Com, which the anonymous owner of SaveToby.Com used to register the site. But GoDaddy.Com public relations specialist puts the site in its proper perspective (emphasis added),

It is distasteful, but itÂ’s not illegal to kill a rabbit, and itÂ’s been checked out thoroughly by our own legal group, who says it doesnÂ’t violate our terms and services.

Unfortunately the web is filled with pernicious sites dedicated to the joys of animal flesh. Wait until Marnie finds out that McDonald’s, Burger King and even the Saltgrass Steak House all have somehow been allowed to open web sites. Somebody, stop this madness.


Hare-raising plot on Web. Katie McDevitt, East Valley Tribune, March 2005.

Violence at British Hare Coursing Hunting Event

Three people were arrested at a February hare coursing event after hunt participants began throwing things at about 200 animal rights protesters who had shown up to demonstrate against the hunt.

According to the Associated Press,

An animal rights protest at a major British hare-hunting even [The Waterloo Cup] turned violent . . . when spectators pelted the demonstrators with a dismembered hare, bottles, firecrackers and chunks of earth, but nobody was injured, police said.

The Waterloo Cup was moved up several weeks to get the hunt in before Great Britain’s law outlawing hunting foxes with dogs went into effect. That law also has the effect of outlawing hare coursing.

As I’ve said before, there’s simply no excuse for this sort of violent reaction. Such actions are both morally wrong and counter-productive.


British hare-hunting even turn [sic] violent. Michael McDonough, Associated Press, February 14, 2005.

Cooking a Guinea Pig and Rabbit for Class Project Not a Crime in Ohio

A 16-year-old Ohio boy who skinned and cooked a guinea pig and a rabbit he bought at a pet store will not be charged with a crime after police in Thompson Township and the Geauga Humane Society decided he had not violated any laws.

The boy cooked the guinea pig and rabbit as a demonstration for his living skills class at Ledgemont High School.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, prosecutors declined to file charges after determining that it would be hard to sustain a claim that killing the animal was “unnecessary” as the boy and several classmates ate the cooked animal, and they could find no evidence that the animal had suffered unnecessarily wen the boy killed it.

Sharon Harvey, executive director of the Geauga Humane Society, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

From a standpoint of being able to prosecute, we could not find evidence to pursue a cruelty charge. Do we disapprove of what happened? Absolutely. But, sadly, what happened is not illegal.

Unless the school cafeteria at Ledgemore is vegan — and I’m guessing Ledgemore has not been above offering students hamburgers and hot dogs — I’m not sure why this case prompted such outrage.

Do people think that products like hamburgers,
hot dogs and chicken nuggets all come in the middle of the night from the meat fairy?


Cooking demo wasn’t a crime. John Horton, Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 28, 2005.

Start ‘Em Young

No word on whether or not People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has appeared at the school the young girl mentioned in the item below from Decatur Daily columnist Ken Retherford,

Although only 9, a Decatur girl is well on her way toward becoming an animal-rights activist.

While leaving a restaurant with her family, the child saw a lady with a rabbit-fur stole on her shoulders. The girl glared at the woman.

Outside she grumbled, “Dad, if I become president, I am going to make it a law that animals can wear stoles made out of people.”

Well, she’s learning about animal rights compassion young (assuming the anecdote is true).


You Don’t Say. Ken Retherford, The Decatur Daily, February 2, 2005.

Bardot Lends Support to Irish Hare Coursing Ban

French animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot recently sent a letter to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports supporting that group’s campaign to ban hare coursing in Ireland.

Hare coursing is the practice of releasing a hare and allowing two dogs, usually greyhounds, to chase it down. Along with the animals killed, activists also complain that even hares that survive are terrified and traumatized in the process.

Northern Ireland has temporarily halted hare coursing, but it is still legal in the Irish Republic and the government there has said it has no intention of changing the law to ban hare coursing.

Dick Roche, Environment Minister for the Irish Republic, was quoted by Ireland On-Line as saying,

There is no evidence that hare coursing in Ireland adversely impacts on the conservation of hare populations and there are no proposals to change existing arrangements for the licensed netting of wild hares for live hare coursing.

Which, of course, means that hare coursers in Northern Ireland can simply conduct their hare coursing in the Irish Republic, which doesn’t make the ICABS very happy.


Bardot lends support to hare coursing ban. Ireland On-Line, January 19, 2005.