With an average of 800 complaints on rabbit abandonment each year, how many of them are Easter rabbits? In 2017 in Britain, RSPCA had taken account of 2, 428 complaints on rabbit neglect. Now, it is the season again where the impulse Easter purchases are the strongest. But, what happens to the purchased Easter bunnies? Why do bunnies and Easter don’t mix well?
Rabbits as one of the most neglected pets in the UK
Despite being well-known and loved pets by a lot of people, rabbits are considered as one of the most neglected pets in Britain. Generally, these fluffy creatures have complex needs and sadly, many people have misconceptions about the rabbits’ housing and dietary requirements.
“Sadly, it could be this lack of knowledge about their needs which leads to so many rabbits being abandoned and coming into our care. Bunnies may look cute but their needs are very complex,” stated Dr Jane Tyson, a rabbit welfare expert from the RSPCA. She added a friendly reminder of how important extensive research is before doing the final purchase of pet rabbits.
Concerned animal welfare organisations mount campaigns to create awareness about animals left to survive on their own in the streets or parks. Domestic rabbits are fragile creatures in need of specialised care. They gave a warning that rabbits need help and when left alone they can end up malnourished, sick, injured, or killed or attacked by predators (human or animal).
UK pet shops ban rabbit sale on Easter
It was almost 40 years ago when the Dog’s Trust campaign was launched with a powerful slogan ‘A dog is for life and not just for Christmas.’ (Read German Animal Shelters Take a Stand Against Christmas Pet Adoption) Certainly, not just dogs but all pets should not be bought on impulse.
Further, Pets at Home had raised a banner with a suspension of rabbit sales during Easter. This is to discourage impulse buying which can lead to pet abandonment when the novelty wears off. There will be no rabbits available for sale or for adoption during the Easter weekends.
Fluffy rabbits are far different from plush toys
The reality is that rabbits can be good pets but they are not easy-to-care-for pets. In most cases, people have a better understanding of cat and dog ownership, however, with rabbits, they have a list of misconceptions.
Bunnies may require more expensive medical care treatment than cats and dogs. Vets and insurance companies segmented these fluffy creatures as exotic pets which result in higher bills. Some owners would be very much surprised to find out that the bill could run over £150 or more for a rabbit that only costs £20-£30. On average a rabbit can reach an annual cost of around £1000.
It is important to take time to think about what level of commitment you are willing to give. Know that a rabbit can live for about 14 years. This means that these furry creatures will be with you for a long period of time. You must ask yourself if you’re ready for a long-term commitment.
In addition to the above-mentioned points, you have to consider a rabbit’s need for companionship. Be sure to keep rabbits neutered to manage both health and behavioural issues. Aside from that, when not neutered, you might find yourself with an unplanned litter of rabbits in the future.
Keep in mind that as prey animals, these furry little ones have stronger instincts to escape as well as the urge to hide signs of any weaknesses such as an injury or illness. They may also perceive humans as predators, which can complicate the relationship and interaction.
Chocolate bunnies vs real rabbits
Rabbit ownership should not be an impulse decision. Are you ready for a commitment that could last for more than ten years? If the answer is a resounding yes, you are indeed determined to be a rabbit parent. However, for those who said no, perhaps you should opt for alternative treats instead.
Chocolate rabbit candies or stuffed toy bunnies make a more sensible option for your kids. It gives you an opportunity to educate young children on rabbits and the ownership it entails without putting any pets at risk.
If you are having doubts, do not rush your decision. It is best to seek advice from local rabbit rescue groups near you who have more knowledge and expertise on rabbit care.