Local residents staged a peaceful protest in Canmore, Alta., Saturday in attempts to stop the trapping and killing of feral rabbits.

The group of protestors says the town's plan to kill the rabbits, rather than send them to a sanctuary, is inhumane.

"I feel like compassion is the most important human quality and I would like people to choose compassion," said protestor Celeste Wilcott.

The town started to euthanize the animals in October after a program to relocate them ended.

The rabbit population in the small mountain town is about 2,000 and growing.

Canmore’s mayor says it’s becoming a health hazard.

"They are an attractant for cougars, particularly also bears and coyotes and we can't have those carnivores coming into the town and potentially killing a human," said Canmore Mayor John Borrowman.

Borrowman says they are using a gas to euthanize the animals, which has been approved by the SPCA.

The town started the cull in mid-October, but hasn't released a count of total number of rabbits killed.