December First Alert and Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings to all our followers.  We hope you and your rabbits have a great, safe and happy festive season
Hurry, there is still time to enter our Bunnies of the Year competition.  Not much time though, so make sure you don’t miss this important opportunity.  We’re planning changes for the competition next year so watch out for that, but for now, RWAF members, please enter here and then upload your photos of your wonderful rabbits here  We’ll be judging soon and then we can look forward to seeing some great new cover stars in 2019
Keep your rabbits safe over Christmas.  There’s a variety of dangers
  • Chewing the tree or its lighting cables.  Real dangers.  Whether you have a real or an imitation tree, put up a barrier around it and keep those electric cables where your bunnies cannot get to them
  • Holly and mistletoe are both very toxic.  Make sure your beloved pets can’t get to either.  If you have them, keep them both well away from rabbit accessible areas
  • Wrapping paper and the gifts themselves.  Nobody wants a chewed present and of course ingesting that paper with its inks and possibly sometimes polymers too is very dangerous for rabbits, so keep gifts out of reach of bunnies
  • Eating too much of the wrong thing.  We all eat some treats in the festive season, probably more than we should, but be careful not to let your rabbits get to anything that might be toxic to them or too much of what they might like.  Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and in fact is bad for most species including us.  For rabbits, the sugars may well be the biggest problem, so as with other treats, keep them away from your rabbits and if you have appropriate treats for them – low carbs, no egg, no dairy – remember, they are still just that, treats, and should only be given in very small amounts.  You don’t want to be taking your beloved rabbits to the emergency vet on Christmas afternoon!
  • Company, hustle and bustle – Christmas and New Year are times for families, visitors, people who generally wouldn’t be in contact with your rabbits, and likely not in large numbers.  It’s often noisy as well. Remember this can be very confusing and sometimes frightening for your rabbits.  They are prey animals, used to you and your immediate family so make a visitor-free zone where your rabbits can feel safe and can keep away from noise and bustle, won’t be handled inappropriately and won’t be fed the wrong things….and cannot escape out of your door when people are coming and going.
Sadly we are still receiving reports every single day of cases of sudden deaths.  We know people getting this message will have ensured their rabbits have fully up to date vaccinations – both Nobivac (Myxo & RVHD1) plus either Filavac or Eravac (RVHD2) – but not everybody receives this, not everybody knows about our advice and there are very clearly a lot of rabbit owners out there still not vaccinating.  Please share our new vaccination poster wherever you can.  You can download it here
Owners don’t all follow our social media, not all of them are aware of our website and sadly for whatever reason, aren’t getting proper advice from vets, so we’re asking you to find places to display the poster.  Pet shops, vet waiting rooms, libraries, any shop/supermarket that sells rabbit food (ask them to display it beside the food), anywhere else you can think of that rabbit owners might see it, including any online social media you might visit.
We’re also adding this message to each and every email that goes out from our and email addresses so please feel free to share this too
This important information is being added to all emails.  Please disregard if your rabbits have already been vaccinated with both Nobivac Myxo RHD and either Filavac VHD K C + V or else Eravac.
There is a mutated strain of RVHD that is deadly, RVHD2.  Unvaccinated rabbits don’t stand a chance against it.  It is present all over the UK and vaccination against it is vital.  Unfortunately the standard Nobivac combined vaccine doesn’t cover it, although that is still essential to protect against Myxomatosis and RVHD1.  If your rabbits aren’t already vaccinated against it, what you need is either Filavac VHD K C + V  or else Eravac.  Discuss frequency of vaccination with your vet.  The two vaccines (Nobivac and the RVHD2 vaccine) should not be given at the same time, there should be at least 2 weeks between them.  If you need to have this done and your vet doesn’t stock the vaccine, there is a map here that shows vets who do.    Another tab on the same website shows reported cases, which we know only shows the tip of a very large iceberg, as this disease is very hard to recognise having few to no symptoms at all and so is generally unreported.
See our Health section for further information and please share our poster wherever you can
If you are in the sad position of losing a rabbit unexpectedly please let us know, along with the first part of your postcode so that we can notify the owner of this map and also our own social media followers.  Another tab on the map site also shows vets who stock vaccine, useful information for us all.
We’ve been asked to share this survey.  Chloe Macgeath, who is second year veterinary medicine student at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is undertaking a research project. She says, “I have decided to do mine on rabbit behaviour, specifically looking at whether there is any behavioural differences between outdoor rabbits and those that kept entirely indoors and have no access to outdoor space. I will also look at the influence of other factors such as diet, sex and companionship.”
Her survey is online and can be found here Let’s help her with this really interesting topic which will help owners and vets alike better understand even more about the needs of our favourite pets.
If you don’t follow our Social Media you may not have seen the story of the rabbits we rescued recently from a commercial breeding facility.  Their story is here
We’re very happy to see photos and videos from rescue and of those already in their forever homes, where they are finally able to exercise all the typical rabbit behaviours that they haven’t ever been able to previously.  Such a very sad start in life for these lovely souls, but a great life for them now, at long last.  We inevitably incurred significant bills – some had health problems, all needed to be vaccinated, all the adults neutered, and once the babies are old enough, we’ll be funding their neutering too, so if you haven’t already donated, please do.  People have already been very generous and although we haven’t yet had the final bill, we estimate it to be about £3000.  Even £1 will help though of course if you can manage more, that would be fantastic – and don’t forget Gift Aid if you pay Income Tax.  That will bring us in an extra 25% direct from HMRC, at no cost to you.
Of course we can’t leave without reminding you to keep membership subscriptions up to date.  We’ve been able to introduce Direct Debit for online subscription so you no longer need to have a PayPal account to have automatic renewals.  You still can if you want, but Direct Debit costs us less per transaction (which helps keep down your membership subs costs) and doesn’t rely on you keeping your card details up to date with PayPal.  You can renew here
If you have friends or family who have rabbits or who are thinking of getting them, as always help them research properly by directing them to our site and encouraging them to join us
Advanced news!  Fiona Firth’s very useful and popular book, Bonding Rabbits, is going to be back in print very soon, new, lively format and published & sold exclusively by the RWAF.  Keep your eyes open for that, it’ll be in our shop here in our books collection
Take care everybody and have a great Christmas and a very happy, safe and healthy New Year

Not too late for a 2012 resolution!

How is everyone doing with their New Year resolutions?!

A few weeks back we suggested some resolutions that could help improve rabbit welfare, and we’d love to hear if you have managed to do any of them. If not, it’s not too late, how about starting off by finding a retailer on-line that you think is selling hutches that are too small for rabbits, and politely e-mailing them and telling them. Remember that a rabbit should be able to take 3 hops in its hutch and rear up fully (so that they do not develop painful spinal deformities) – for an average sized rabbit (remember of course they should be kept in pairs so this should be a minimum) this will be 6ft long and 2ft high. Watch the link below. It will only take you a few minutes to send an e-mail, and could really help to make a difference.

Photo competition

Would you like your bunnies to be famous? Would you be happy if people throughout the country, and perhaps beyond, were saying how lovely they are when they open cards, when they look at a calendar? Well, now is your chance.The RWAF intends to have its own Chistmas cards and calendar for sale in our shop next winter and we would love to feature the bunnies belonging to our members and supporters, rather than use professional stock photos. How unique that would be, and what a great tribute to our much loved buns.Photos need to be top quality, of course, not blurred in any way, and with a resolution of 300dpi or higher, at least post card size and saved as Jpegs. (Jpeg file size of entries need to be above 700kb).Because we want to produce a calendar, we need photos that will reflect the different seasons of the year. Christmas cards need to be seasonal, so get the camera out now before you put the decorations away!It’s free to enter and you can send your photos either as prints or on DVD or stick to our postal address:
Rabbit Welfare Association and FundPO Box 603HorshamWest SussexRH13 5WLor electronically to The closing date for entries is 1st August, 2012, so that we have time to judge and to have the cards/calendars made. Winners will be announced on our Blog and the merchandise will be available in our shop in good time for next Christmas. We’d also like your permission to use any of the photos you enter for Rabbiting On, for posters, in leaflets, on our website, or for anything else they might be appropriate for – always with credit to you, of course. So please give us your written permission to use your photos in any of these when you enter. If you change your mind and want to withdraw your permission, you can do so at any time by sending an email to or by writing to us.Get snapping!

New Year Resolutions – how you can help improve rabbit welfare.

Well, that’s Christmas over for another year, and thoughts are now turning to New Year. If everyone here could spare some time over the holiday to help us improve rabbit welfare and take a pledge to undertake at least one of the following, it could make a change for the better:

1) Have a look on-line, if you see any rabbit hutches for sale that you think are too small, then contact the retailer and tell them what you think and why. Remember that anything smaller than around 4ft x 1.5ft is smaller than a lab rabbit cage, so ask retailers if they think they should sell items smaller than this for pet rabbits. Remind them that exercise runs are just as essential as hutches, and they should make their customers aware of this.

2) Join the RWA! It costs less than £20 to join for 12 months, you will get 4 issues of Rabbiting On magazine, and you will be joining the largest organisation in the UK for rabbit welfare, and giving us a bigger voice. Together we can make a difference. If you want to know more about the work the RWAF has undertaken recently, read our campaign updates: . You can join on-line here:

3) Adopt a rescue rabbit! If you have a single bunny please think about getting him or her a friend. Remember that both rabbits will need to be neutered and you will need to have suitable accomodation for 2, and be able to afford to care for 2.

4) Print off a poster and put it in your car, your window, your work place, your vet practice or local pet shop. There are several on the website, so there is sure to be one you like:

5) If you are really short of time, but want to make a difference then you can help us to help rabbits by making a donation to us via just giving or even quicker, by text. You can text donations to us, quickly and easily by using this number 70070 Your text message will change depending on how much you want to donate, so
If you want to donate £1 you should text RWAF11£1
If you want to donate £2 you should text RWAF11£2
If you want to donate £3 you should text RWAF11£3
If you want to donate £4 you should text RWAF11£4
If you want to donate £5 you should text RWAF11£5
If you want to donate £10 you should text RWAF11£10

6) If you see a rabbit belonging to a friend or neighbour that you know is not being looked after properly, then please print off one of our ‘Dear Rabbit owner’ letters and put it through their letterbox. The letters can be found on our home page:

7) Share our ‘A Hutch is Not Enough’ video, post it on your Facebook wall, tweet a link to it, add it to your Google+, send an e-mail, and why not add a link to it on your e-mail signatures?

8) If you help at a rescue centre, please make sure they have submitted their rehoming figures in to our survey – we are updating the very out of date figure of 35,000 rabbits through rescue each year, but we need rescues to take part. To submit your figures please e-mail

9) Join the weather lottery and not only will you be raising funds for the RWF, you will have the chance to win £25,000!

10) Join the First Alert mailing list – it’s free, and you can help us to spread the word by forwarding on the messages to other rabbit owning friends. Please e-mail to join. If you are able to spare the time to do any of the above, please let us know what you do, it would be great to know what works so that others can do the same!
From the RWAF team, Alan, Anne, Lizzie, Rae and Ros.

A hutch is not enough
Reg Charity 1085689

Can you help us to help rabbits?

We’ve recently updated our ‘Get Involved’ page which you can find here. It lists many ways you can show us your support. Perhaps the best of all, if you haven’t done it already, is to join us. Here’s where you can do that. With your support we become stronger and our message bears more weight. You’ll get four copies of Rabbiting On per year, packed with top quality articles and advice about the best quality rabbit care, and you’ll be swelling the Association’s numbers. Together we can shout with a far louder voice that A Hutch Is Not Enough and that Rabbits Deserve Better.