There’s no doubt that cute fluffy bunnies are very appealing! With many pet shops full of baby bunnies, it is easy to succumb to temptation and buy a bunny without thinking of the long term consequences – or the time and money needed for the next 10+ years.
Sadly domestic rabbits are one of the most misunderstood and mistreated pets according to animal welfare reports. Rescues around the country are full to the brim – the Rabbit Welfare Association estimate 67,000 rabbits pass through rescue each year, and a “Make Mine Chocolate” national survey reveals over 60% of rabbits surrendered to rescue are surrendered within the first year of purchase.
Despite popular belief, rabbits are not cheap to look after. They are not ideal children’s pets, nor are they happy living alone in a small hutch at the end of the garden all their lives.
Rabbits can cost over $1,500 a year to care for correctly. They require spaying/neutering, annual vaccinations, and a high standard of accommodation. It is a big commitment to care for rabbits that can live for ten years or more. All this in addition to emergency vet treatment if problems arise, spending quality time with the rabbits, frequent cleaning of litterboxes, daily fresh greens, and much more.
Sadly, many rabbits bought on impulse will soon find themselves uncared for, given up to rescue or abandoned to fend for themselves (which almost certainly leads to their death) as their new owners realize that a rabbit is not the right pet for them; perhaps because of a lack of time, a lack of interest or money issues. Whatever the reason, it is the rabbit that suffers the consequences.
The “Make Mine Chocolate” rabbit welfare campaign is urging people who may wish to get a rabbit to talk to their local reputable rabbit rescue before they buy; prospective owners should take some time to find out what rabbits need for a happy and healthy life before making a commitment for the next 10 years or more. The House Rabbit Network provides lots of informative and helpful articles on their website.
Please ask your readers to think before they buy, and support the “Make Mine Chocolate” rabbit welfare campaign and the House Rabbit Network too. I am not associated with either of these organizations, but I am a rabbit owner and believe this is an important message to get out, especially at this time of year.
Thank you for your help and support. Emily Brosky