The company’s origins date back to 1911, when a pregnant pet rabbit was given to the son of Herman Pelphrey, a resident of Englewood, California. The newborn rabbit litter quickly grew and bred, eventually overrunning the Pelphrey home with rabbits. Turning the dilemma into an opportunity, Herman began selling fresh rabbit meat to his neighbors.
By 1918 Herman had begun marketing rabbit meat to the public under the name of the “H.F. Pelphrey Company.” In 1947, the company changed its name to “Pel-Freez” to capture the then-growing trend of frozen foods in the United States. Around this time, Robert Dubbell married into the Pelphrey family, subsequently established Pel-Freez operations in Rogers, Arkansas, and began to enter into other markets for rabbit byproducts. As the pace of biomedical research increased throughout the late 1950s, the Biological Division was established to meet the increased demand for raw biologicals and intermediates.
Robert Dubbell’s son David acquired the company with his brother Paul in the 1970s and was instrumental in the continued expansion of both the Foods and Biological divisions.
Today Pel-Freez is the largest rabbit meat processor in the United States. With no preservatives or other additives, Pel-Freez rabbit meat is versatile and tasty lean protein and is currently sold to restaurants, distributors and food retailers nationwide. The Pel-Freez processing plant and all rabbit meat products are USDA inspected and approved.
On March 31, 2020, Pel-Freez was acquired by a private investment partnership led by Dr. Brian Bonk who relocated to Arkansas from Boston to replace David Dubbell as Pel-Freez President and CEO.