Welcome to another Campaign Update, keeping you informed of our constant fight to make things better for bunnies.
Rabbit Sales Amnesty
We have existed for over twenty years, and rabbit welfare has improved slowly in many areas in that time. However, there has always been a problem with rabbits becoming unwanted and ending up in
In 2012 we surveyed rescues in the UK and found that 67,000 rabbits had been signed over to them during the previous year. This was a huge increase from 35,000 ten years earlier. However, we have recently found ourselves in a situation worse than we have ever known. A perfect storm has created the worst rabbit welfare crises we have ever seen. This has been a combination of:
- A boom in unlicensed breeders springing up during lockdown
- An increase in the number of new rabbit owners who were not properly educated about caring for pet rabbits
- Covid causing a backlog of vet appointments, so owners were not receiving correct advice and could not get their rabbits correctly sexed or neutered
- A surge in accidental litters.
Rabbits are unusual compared to dogs and cats because they can mate and breed so quickly. You could go from two rabbits to an accidental litter being born in 30 days, taking your numbers to ten or more. Then by the time you realise you have a male and female and not two of the same sex and remove the male, the male has already mated the female, and there is another litter on the way in 30 days’ time.
So, in 60 days, you could end up with fifteen or more rabbits! This wouldn’t happen with dogs or cats. It was very apparent that the situation was out of control, and the only way we could see forward was to call for everyone to stop selling and breeding new rabbits to allow rescue centres to catch up and find good homes for the rabbits already in their care. We put out a press release and started working with pet retailers and classified selling sites in the hope that they would support this ‘rabbit sales amnesty’.