We, The RWAF, recommend rabbits to be kept in neutered social groups eg pairs, to provide companionship, enrichment, and enable natural social behaviours. Many reputable rescue centres neuter their youngsters before rehoming them, and this is ideal, as it enables them to be successfully bonded, and avoids many of the problems that domestic rabbits face, such as being kept alone, or being mis-sexed and producing an accidental litter adding to the rescue burden, as well as the the health and behavioural problems that entire rabbits can face. Our own guidance about neutering can be found here: https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/two_heads.htm We are aware that Pets at Home have taken steps to address these issues, and make it possible to acquire 2 already neutered and vaccinated rabbits in selected stores via their VIP trial, However we do have several questions surrounding the early neutering procedures, and their long term effect, as well as weaning, socialisation, transportation and vaccination. We are aware this issue is causing a great deal of concern, and we are giving it our full attention. However we need to be in possession of the full facts, before we can comment further, and we are awaiting these. We are also aware that this trial is being ceased and that no further rabbits will be imported to be sold in PAH stores.

5 responses on “PAH VIP trial

  1. gillian

    I would like to see a transcript of an essential dialogue between yourselves and Pets at Home, as a major supplier of 'over the counter' rabbits (and other pets) to the UK. They must surely be aware that many of their 'sales' end up as rescue animals, often in conditions of severe neglect, indeed, some even having to be put to sleep due to inoperable, advanced conditions. I have never understood why such a large company would continue to sell animals, when so many rescue rabbit centres are absolutely full. Pets at Home have officially stated that the live 'stock' is not a profit-making concern within the store. If this is so, why are they not forging an arrangement with local rescue centres, working alongside them, in order to place rabbits that need a home, rather than the current ludicrous, questionably immoral practice, of breeding young rabbits for their appeal. As we know, young rabbits can so often and so quickly grow into lonely, compromised, and unwanted rabbits. I truly hope Pets at home will realise their incredible potential to turn around the convention of pet 'sales' and gain the support of animal lovers everywhere by taking the large but incredible step of being a rescue-liason centre only, which will still stir revenue and profit, but with no unnecessarily euthanised small animals on their conscience.

  2. Rabbit Rwaf

    Hi Gillian, Thanks for your comments. We don't think we would get many retailers to engage with us if they thought that we would be publishing a transcript of our conversations, and there would be legal implications of doing this too, which as a very small charity we obvioulsy could not afford to defend. Having said that, we also share your concerns about the number of rabbits that live in unacceptable conditions and end up in rescue, and this is the basis of our ' A hutch is not enough' campaign. We will continue to work with retailers to improve rabbit welfare, but a lot of this work has to be ' behind the scenes'.

  3. gillian

    I don't allude to a covert recording then transcribed, I mean an open interview, a journalistic piece that sets their side of the story. PR. Surely they have 'nothing to hide,if they are not doing anything wrong'. Maybe I come to my point of view through bias and prejudices, maybe a dialogue would enlighten me. What I am interested in is hearing their opinion, a different point of view. In my opinion, they are missing an absolute trick, by not taking the lead on this issue. I think a statistical analysis of the origin of rabbits in rescue would be very telling, a great majority of whom are 'sold' without any duty of care. Rabbits in small hutches start off born. And it's that origin we need to deal with. Who is breeding, and why? With respect, Gillian

  4. Ann Y

    I have a letter from PAH dated 03 May in response to a letter I wrote to them expressing concern about the VIP rabbits. In it they state that the trial was successful and they are going to continue it.

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