One of our key activities is taking part in Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) in May with other major welfare organisations such as RSPCA, PDSA, Blue Cross and the main sponsor Burgess Pet Care. RAW will be in a pet shop or Vet near you very soon, and will be raising the profile of pet rabbits and their welfare needs, with this year’s focus being on behaviour. Rabbits have some fascinating natural behaviours but often are unable to display these as pets due to inadequate accommodation and living alone. Please look at the RAW website for more information.
As well as continuing with our successful ‘A Hutch is Not Enough’ campaign, we also have a series of press releases and awareness campaigns in the pipeline over the coming months – all aimed at dispelling the myth that rabbits can live happily alone in a hutch. We have started with our Wedding Vows press release to try and ‘bunny-back’ onto the media interest in the forthcoming royal wedding. We will keep you informed of our campaigns and progress via our website, facebook and news blog so please keep an eye out – and if you haven’t joined or registered with our facebook group then please do sign up!
We believe that ‘A Hutch is Not Enough’ and that every pet rabbit deserves to live in an area that permanently allows them to display their natural behaviours such as running, digging, jumping, foraging, and grooming another rabbit. A hutch is a shelter and should only be used as part of a larger living area. Rabbits should be neutered and vaccinated and have the companionship of another neutered rabbit, and a good quality diet with hay or forage provided for health and emotional enrichment reasons. We will work to improve the lives of rabbits in the UK by spreading the messages above, and aim to raise the status of the pet rabbit to that of the pet cat and dog.
In 2011 the RWAF have set the following core objectives:
– To raise the profile of the pet rabbits and their welfare needs by educating owners and potential owners alike, and by working with the retail industry to improve standards.
– To raise awareness that rabbits are not cheap and easy children’s pets and to discourage people from taking on rabbits if they are unlikely to be responsible owners.
– To continue to campaign, including our ‘A Hutch is Not Enough’ campaign, which is gaining support and is already making a difference – with retailers withdrawing tiny 3ft hutches from sale and including 6ft and larger hutches in their range – and our ‘Toys Aren’t Us’ message which reminds potential owners that rabbits, despite their cute and fluffy looks, are not toys that can be discarded after a few months.
– To increase membership of the RWA – because more members means a bigger voice to shout with.
– To support the vital work of rescue shelters wherever we can.
Every activity we undertake this year will be in line with our core objectives.
We will be clear and transparent with our members about our activities.
We will focus on a positive behaviour change for owners and retailers.
We will work with other like minded organisations to further achieve our common goals.
We will be pragmatic – we will work with organisations with whom we may not be like minded, but where there is a necessity for a dialogue in order to impart our values and improve standards to benefit pet rabbits.
We will not compromise our beliefs
We will not accept flimsy excuses from retailers; we will name and shame those who ignore our messages and put profit before welfare.
We accept sponsorship but will never compromise our agenda – to improve the lives of pet rabbits – to appease a sponsor.
Our over arching mission is to improve the lives of rabbits kept as pets in the UK.
So if you love rabbits and want to help us help them – please join.
You will get our fantastic magazine ‘Rabbiting On’ every quarter, and you will be helping us to continue our work.