Instagram

We are aware of the outcry on Instagram surrounding a male in the USA who has killed 5 rabbits. Our Welfare Officer Mark Dron has started an investigation into this and has found that this individual is hiding behind multiple accounts; although Instagram do seem to be closing his accounts. Unfortunately as fast as they close them a new permutation of the user name appears.

The images are horrendous and do need to be dealt with. We are not going to share them. Mark has collated the evidence he has found and has passed it to the relevant authorities in the UK, who we hope will liase with their counterparts in the USA.

We wanted to let supporters know that although this is in the USA we have done what we can here, but also to let you know about a petition that
might be worth signing and sharing.

http://chn.ge/2Gtp0L2

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

 

 

Charities unite to highlight brachy health issues

Charities unite to highlight brachy health issues in cats and rabbits; it’s not just dogs we need to worry about. In recent months the issue of health problems in short-faced or brachycephalic dogs has been highlighted to the public, in the media and following high profile events like this year’s Crufts. This week however, three major animal welfare charities have united to send the message that this problem is not limited to dogs alone. International Cat Care (iCatCare), the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) and the RSPCA have come together to raise awareness that breeding cats and rabbits with exaggerated flat faces can cause health and welfare problems, as in dogs. Short-faced cats like Persians can have all the same issues as dogs – breathing and dental problems, skin fold infections and problems giving birth to name a few.

Claire Bessant, chief executive of iCatCare, said,

“It is very depressing to see the life which has been deliberately dealt to some breeds of cats because of a human desire to develop a certain look. I urge cat lovers to speak out and help others to understand that this is not something we should be doing to cats, and not something we should be tolerating. One of the best and most beautifully naturally designed animals – the cat – would not normally have any of these problems; we have created them through selective breeding. We should not be encouraging people to breed these cats by calling them ‘cute’, by being amused at their facial characteristics, or by the fact that they snore – rather we need to understand that this is human intervention that is wholly detrimental to the welfare of the cats and is simply cruel. International Cat Care takes an ethical view of all cat breeds and our website (http://icatcare.org/advice/cat-breeds) outlines the problems that exist for some breeds, including very flat-faced cats in the Persians and Exotic breeds.Our stance is that we should never deliberately breed cats for any feature or characteristic that impairs their welfare.”

Sadly, rabbits have also fallen foul of the human desire for shorter, ‘cuter’ faces. Richard Saunders, head vet at RWAF, said,

“Breeds like the Netherland dwarf and the popular Lionhead breed have become more and more brachycephalic. In rabbits this is disastrous. Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously throughout their whole lives and must line up exactly to wear down evenly. The short face means the bottom jaw is longer than the top one, just the same as in bulldogs and pugs and the teeth do not line up. Teeth soon overgrow causing chronic pain, lacerated mouths, abscesses and in many cases death. The tear duct is also distorted (as it is in brachycephalic cats) and the rabbits often have tears and even pus overflowing onto their faces. Hand in hand with the short faces come the lop ears, rather than the wild, natural upright ears. These rabbits have a high level of middle ear infections and can’t communicate with other rabbits normally, leading to behavioural problems. We would like to see an end to selection for “cute” faces and lop ears, and to preferentially breed rabbits with a more “wild type” face shape, which is associated with far fewer genetically induced diseases.”

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Richards said:

“Dogs who have been bred to have short, flat faces often have narrow nostrils and abnormally-developed windpipes. They can suffer severe breathing problems and many have difficulty enjoying a walk or playing. The RSPCA believes there is still much to be done to protect the future health of dogs and that all those who breed dogs should prioritise health, welfare and temperament over appearance when choosing which animals to breed. For help when choosing a dog, please use the RSPCA/AWF Puppy Contract and if you’re worried about the health of a particular puppy, contact a vet for advice. We are very concerned that these issues are now being seen in other species and would urge everyone concerned, from breeders to buyers, to do what they can to reduce the demand for such extremes.”

Emma Milne, vet and long-time brachy campaigner, is a patron of RWAF and an ambassador for iCatCare. She said,

“It’s been over 100 years since the first veterinary paper on the problems of brachycephaly in dogs. We MUST learn from what we have done to these animals and stop it in other species right now. These charities are world leaders in welfare science and the fact they have united to highlight this issue speaks volumes. I hope people listen.”

Photographs of short-faced breeds superimposed onto ‘normal animals’ are shocking across every species;