How it all began
Many RWAF members have only ever know the organisation as it is today: thousands of members; a glossy magazine; a comprehensive website and a thriving on-line shop. It is literally unrecognisable from a decade ago, when there was no significant companion rabbit movement in the UK.
The story of the RWAF began in mid-1995, when a small group of houserabbit enthusiasts handed out information packs on houserabbits and talked about starting a club for houserabbit owners. By 1996 this club - the 'British Houserabbit Association' (BHRA) had become a reality. Over the next few years, the membership roll steadily grew and the BHRA matured. Rabbiting On evolved as a photocopiesd A5 booklet to a full-sized magazine; the range of educational leaflets increased; the website was expanded. 'Houserabbit Houseparties' (weekend events in a country house hotel in the Lake District) were followed by annual conventions (black-tie dinners followed by a half-day conference next day) and, since 2002, the RWF health conferences.
By 2002, the BHRA had gone way beyond being merely a club for houserabbit owners: it had become the leading national body representing companion rabbit issues, recognised as such by bodies such as DEFRA (Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs) and, in 2002, invited to participate in the consultation phase of the new Animal Welfare Bill.
At the 2000 AGM, members supported a committee proposal to replace the BHRA with twin organisation: The RWA for members and the RWF charity tackling rabbit health, welfare and education. The RWF was granted charitable registration a year later.