We’ve been busy bunnies!

We have had a very busy few weeks. Easter is always a busy time for media and we have done three interviews for BBC radio, including BBC Radio 4,  as well as having articles published in several magazines including the Mail on Sunday.

On Wednesday we worked with our friends from Burgess on the set of This Morning (thank you to Runaround for providing the binky box and tunnels) and it was a really great piece promoting rescue rabbits. We were behind the camera making sure the right message was given to the millions of viewers.

From there we went straight to Birmingham to the CEVA awards where we celebrated Richard Saunders being recognised as a Welfare Hero for the huge amount of work involved in getting the VHD2 vaccine in to the UK.

We then spent 2 days with Burgess at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) talking to Vet Professionals and launching Rabbit Awareness Week. It’s great to work with other such dedicated people.

Just a few of the things we have been up to!

Is Peter Rabbit For Me?

Peter Rabbit The Movie

The long anticipated Peter Rabbit movie will be released in the UK on 16th March. A much loved, long-standing fictional character, yes, but the release of this film will undoubtedly increase the number of children who see the film to want their very own Peter Rabbit. Sadly, many parents will give in to ‘pester power’.

This social media campaign which the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund are about to launch to coincide with the opening of the movie in the UK, is a factual insight into what having rabbits as pets is all about. There is certainly more to rabbits than cute twitching noses and fluffy tails. This campaign has been designed to make adults who are considering getting a ‘Peter Rabbit’ for their child to think of the practicalities before taking the plunge

Please, please join us in spreading the message by sharing the 10 rabbit facts as far and wide as you can. Thanks.

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

Fact #1 300 poos a day!

Yes, okay, Peter Rabbit is uber-cute and you’ve seen the film and fallen in love. BUT, did you know that the average ‘output’ from a single bunny in a given day is 300 poos? We kid you not. That’s quite a lot of clearing up isn’t it?! Rabbits are pretty good at learning how to use a litter tray, but it does require a bit of patience and a lot of time to teach them. Have you got that time and patience? You can expect to have a thorough clean out at least once a week, but there will undoubtedly be some daily housekeeping duties to attend to in order to ensure that your rabbits living quarters remain clean and disease free.

Thinking that your child will take on this responsibility? Not in our experience. Children lose interest in pet rabbits really, really quickly, leaving Mum or Dad on poo duty!

#whatgoesinmustcomeout

Still want rabbits…?

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #2 Having you own Peter Rabbit can mean very expensive vet bills…

So you’ve seen the Peter Rabbit movie and have decided you just have to have your very own Peter Rabbit. Rabbits are cheap pets right? You are *joking*! On average, a pet rabbit will cost the owners over £5,000 during their lifetime. Rabbits will need to be neutered and have regular trips to the vets for vaccination against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. If you are planning on getting rabbits as pets, you are most definitely recommended to get pet health insurance. This can cost upwards of £60 per year, per rabbit.

Even so, rabbits often have dental problems, which are rarely covered by insurance. If your rabbits are affected (and they are very likely to be, unless you feed them a grass/hay-based diet!) then the cost of essential regular dental treatment can quickly add up to hundreds of pounds each year.

Still want rabbits…?

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #3 Peter rabbit cannot live in solitary confinement, that would be cruel.

Even in the story, Peter lived with Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and his mother. Did you know that rabbits are actually very social creatures. Wild rabbits live in colonies, never on their own. Rabbits should be kept in neutered pairs or compatible groups.

Recent scientific research has confirmed that rabbits suffer from stress and loneliness if kept alone: they value companionship as much as food – and you wouldn’t keep them without food, would you?

So if you are seriously thinking of getting a rabbit, better make that rabbits as it would be cruel to keep one on its own.

And remember the 300 poos per day, that’ll increase to 600 when you get a friend for your rabbit. Not to mention the vet bills covered in fact #2.

Still want rabbits…?

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #4 Rabbits: a hutch is not enough

In the original tale, Peter lived with Flopsy, Mopsy Cotton-tail and his mother underneath the root of a fir tree. The reality is that Peter Rabbit and his friends in the real world need much more consideration for their living quarters.

Did you know it was the Victorians who first kept rabbits in hutches – a short term storage solution before the animals went to the pot?

We’ve moved on a great deal since then, but the habit of keeping rabbits in hutches has stuck.

Rabbits are not designed to live in a confined space. In the wild they roam over an area equivalent to 6 football pitches. They’re not designed to live alone either – wild rabbits live in large social groups, foraging, grooming each other and huddling together for warmth. Rabbits living alone experience high levels of stress.
Domestic rabbits are not fundamentally far removed from their wild cousins. They share the same need to run, jump, explore and share companionship with their own kind, so their accommodation must allow them to display these natural behaviours.

The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund recommends a minimum area of 10 x 6 (3m x 2m) which includes a shelter of minimum size of 6′ x 2′ x 2′, which allows rabbits some room to move, stand on their hind legs and enough space for the food, toilet and sleeping areas to be kept apart. It is commonly accepted that a rabbit should have space for 3 hops, but it is commonly underestimated just how far 3 hops is – our tests show that 3 hops from an average sized rabbit covers 6-7 feet!
A hutch should only be a shelter and not the only living space. It should be attached to a secure run of at least 8′ x 6′. This gives an overall area of 10 x 6 (3 x 2)

Please bear in mind that these recommendations are all minimums – and like many things in life, bigger is better!
Rabbits also need stimulation, and companionship
Still want rabbits…?

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #5 Peter Rabbit and his friends HATE cuddles

It’s a great myth that rabbits are cute and cuddly. Take it from us, they are not!

Although Peter Rabbit and his friends may look cute and cuddly, rabbits are ground loving creatures who are easily scared if they are swooped off the ground. This fear can quite easily turn to aggression and it is not uncommon for a frightened rabbit to scratch or even bite an owner in their bid for freedom. This is particularly worrying if you are intending to get rabbits as pets for a child. Children naturally want to pet cute furry animals and pick them up, but rabbits simply HATE it. If your child is looking for something soft and cuddly to pick up, then buy a fluffy toy, rabbits are not for them! Try this: http://amzn.to/2ECIPBK

Still want rabbits…?

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #6 Kids lose interest in pet rabbits

If you and your child have seen the Peter Rabbit movie, no doubt you’ve fallen in love and think what a great idea it would be to have one as a pet.

Even before the film we’ve heard it *so* many times; “my daughter/son desperately wanted rabbits, they said they would look after them, we thought they would be easy to look after, but now my son/daughter has lost interest so we want to rehome the rabbits…”

Yep, no doubt about it, kids lose interest and very often less than six months after buying the rabbits. It’s not a good result for the rabbits (did you know there are currently ~67,000 rabbits waiting to be rehomed in the UK) and not a good result for the parent (what about all the money you spent on the hutch cage/food/vaccinations/neutering etc!).

Please, think long and hard before committing to buy rabbits for your child. Try a soft toy instead…

Still want rabbits…?

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #7 Rabbits cost more than you think: £11K!

£11K, for rabbits? We’re kidding, right? No, we’re afraid not!

Okay, so in the Tale of Peter Rabbit, it doesn’t seem as though rabbits cost much, apart from losing his little blue coat and shoes in Mr McGregor’s garden. The reality is different…

Although pet rabbits are usually inexpensive to buy, they should definitely not be seen as ‘cheap’ pets. Here’s why:

Building a safe, secure outdoor enclosed complex can cost several hundred pounds. Or, if you decide to keep your rabbits indoors, an indoor cage (remember that our minimum size of accommodation is the same as for outdoor rabbits) and essential equipment will not leave much change out of £300.

Your rabbits will need regular supplies of a good quality rabbit food, hay, and bedding.

Then there’s the vet bills and veterinary insurance covered in Fact #2…

We estimate that a pair of rabbits (and remember it cruel to keep just one rabbit) over their lifetime will cost around £11,000 – can you afford that?

Still want rabbits…?

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #8 Rabbits have complicated care needs

The Tale of Peter Rabbit is charming for sure and depicts a simple, idyllic lifestyle with Peter and his brothers and sisters being let out to play with hardly a care in the world. This is a long way from the reality of having rabbits as pets.

The days of a single rabbit in a hutch being given a dish of muesli should be long gone. Haven’t you heard A Hutch is Not Enough? We might have mentioned that once or twice! To be good rabbit owners you need to be able to provide all of this:
• A companion rabbit – rabbits need the companionship of one or more neutered rabbits. So if you are still planning on getting your own Peter Rabbit, make sure you get a Flopsy, Mopsy and/or Cotton-tail too.
• A hay based diet, with pellets and greens every day. Not lettuce though, this is soporific for rabbits and shouldn’t be fed. Without the right diet, rabbits can develop diseases and have problems with teeth.
• An area 3m x 2m (10 x 6ft) to live in all of the time, regardless of whether they are inside or outside. Yes, all of the time! This should have a shelter area, as well as a digging pit, a grazing area, a platform to look out from and room to rear up tall, run, jump and binky!
• Vaccinations every year, currently they need 2 different ones to protect them against both myxi and RVHD 1 & 2
• Cleaning out thoroughly every week and a spot clean every day. As well as a daily check for fly strike, especially in warm weather
• Taken to the vet at the first sign of change in eating habits or poo. Tomorrow is too late, if this means the emergency vet, then the emergency vet it is!
• A weekly health MOT
• An abundance of nose rubs

Still want rabbits…?

If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #9 Rabbits can live forever

Okay, we’re exaggerating, but I bet you get a shock when you learn that it is not uncommon for rabbits to live for 10 years or more. Some rabbits have been known to live for 15 years!

Rabbits are often acquired for children (frequently following displays of “pester power”!) but it is essential to remember that the adult is always responsible for any pet… therefore at least one adult in the household must be prepared to commit sufficient time, energy and money to the rabbits for the next decade. Don’t forget, Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail may still be alive and kicking when your child heads off to College or University leaving you firmly with the responsibility! Rabbits are not cheap and easy children’s pets!

Still want rabbits…?

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

Fact #10 There are already 67K rabbits in rescue centres

Do you truly want to add to that statistic? You need to ask yourself why there are such a *huge* number of abandoned rabbits in rescue centres all over the UK. Well now, let’s recap:

#1 – a single rabbit can produce up to 300 poos per day. Wow, that’s a lot of clearing up!
#2 – expensive vet bills. Neutering, vaccination, inevitable dental work…
#3 – rabbits should be kept in pairs or groups, not singly (calculate the poos and vet bills!)
#4 – rabbits need huge hutches – have you go the space in your home or garden. Did you know a suitable hutch complex can cost several hundred pounds?
#5 – rabbits, despite their appearance do not like being picked up and cuddled and can get aggressive when they become frightened.
#6 – children get bored of pet rabbits. It’s fact. Don’t give in to ‘pester power’.
#7 – expect to pay out £11,000 for rabbits over their lifetime (see #2 And #4)
#8 – complicated care needs , a Hutch is simply *not enough*
#9 – rabbits can live for 10 years and over. Many people don’t factor this in.

Still want rabbits…?

We hope you enjoyed our 10 facts helping you to decide if you really want your own Peter Rabbit. If you know of anyone who is thinking of buying pet rabbits, please share.

More advice at: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/lflts
More about the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund: http://www.rwaf.org.uk/website

 

 

Coming soon…new video

We’ve been on location today with our friends from Runaround and lots of rabbits, filming the next video. This time we want to show the many natural behaviours of pet rabbits, such as digging, foraging and grooming another rabbit and inspire rabbit owners to allow their rabbits the opportunity to do this every day. In the mean time, you’ll have to settle for our current ‘ A hutch is not enough’ video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1Rg7P8lBTs&context=C367834cADOEgsToPDskJoqIe8wVMEp5FP-3DB3Zmc

(Obvioulsy no bunnies were harmed or scared in the making of the video! They were filmed in their own gardens)

Valentine Press Release

Bunny girl living alone too long seeks bunny boy to snuggle up with on cold nights, enjoy romantic meals together, and go running, jumping and foraging. Looking to share my spacious love-nest, in well appointed large and secure grounds, well furnished and spotlessly clean. Will nuzzle your ears if you nuzzle mine.
The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to improving the lives of pet rabbits. This Valentine’s Day the charity is urging owners to find a companion for their rabbit.
RWAF Vet Advisor Richard Saunders had this to say. “In the wild, rabbits live in large social groups and depend on each other for security, comfort and grooming. Keeping a rabbit alone is cruel. It’s as simple as that. Rabbits should be kept in neutered pairs or groups and have access to a safe exercise area at all times.”
So whilst we think about our own romantic needs this Valentine’s day, we should spare a thought for the lonely bunnies out there…
To see what else rabbits need as well as companionship, go to www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk.

http://www.pressdispensary.co.uk/releases/c993328/Lonely-Girl-Seeks-Valentine-to-Share-Life-With.html

The nightmare before Christmas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP7IRB1DRJU

This video is distressing, but it proves why the ‘a hutch is not enough; campaign is so essential. Rabbits live in conditions like this all over the UK and we want it to stop – NOW. The owner of these rabbits keeps some of them in 2ftx2ft or 3ft x 2ft hutches and says that it is not cruel, and that 2 in a 3ft hutch is not over crowded – we disagree, how a…bout you? She then says ‘ if they were too small, they wouldnt sell them in the shops would they?’ – well sadly, yes they would, and do, and that is why we are working with retailers to stop selling anything smaller than 4ft and to include 5 and 6 ft hutches in their ranges. The owner thinks her rabbits are ‘happy and up to weight’ but we don’t think they look happy at all – they can take one hop at best in those hutches. A hutch is not enough. All pet rabbits should be kept with the companionship of another (neutered) rabbit and live in an environment tha allows them to display all of their natural behaviours, such as running, jumping, digging and foraging – and never simply locked in a hutch.

RWAF Fundraising Friday

We’d like to print 3000 more posters to distribute to vets’ surgeries, petshops, schools, in fact anywhere that they’d reach people who might already own a rabbit, or be thinking of getting one. That will cost us £300.

Please help us raise that money by buying merchandise from the RWAF shop http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/catalog/, by making donations at the shop, by text (RWAF11£1 – up to £10 to 70070) or at www.justgiving.com/rwaf, or by starting a fundraiser of your own for the Rabbit Welfare Fund.

Anything you can do will help us get a little bit nearer our goal to help as many rabbits as possible have a happy, secure life

Fundraising Friday

It’s Fundraising Friday! Can you spare £1 to help us help rabbits? Now you can donate by text by texting RWAF11£1 to 70070, or you can chose to donate £2, £3 £5 or £10 if you prefer by texting RWAF11£2 to 70070 and so on. Funds will go towards our campaining and the ‘ a hutch is not enough’ project.
You can also help us, and treat yourself by joining and signing up for Rabbiting On magazine:

http://www.houserabbit.co.uk/catalog/index.php?cPath=3