Easter 2011: The Bun Life's Open Letter to Those Who Are Considering Getting a Bunny for Easter

It is that time of year again, and Easter is just around the corner on April 24th of 2011. Because of all the joy rabbits have brought into my life, I have always felt that as rabbit lovers, we are the first line of defense when it comes to educating the public about rabbits, and what it really takes to keep them as an indoor pet.

Being a supporter of the House Rabbit Society, I only agree with keeping rabbits indoors like any other domesticated animal (yes, they can be litter trained AND free range just like my 3 are). If you can't keep them anywhere but in a wooden drawer outside in the cold, or in the hot, bug infested weather, then there is no reason to have a rabbit, right?

Every year, without fail, all rabbit rescues around the country get thousands of abandoned rabbit calls from people who bought the rabbit for their kid as an Easter present, and now the kid doesn't want it. If the rescue can't take the rabbit, then the owner lets it loose and dumps it in the woods. Domesticated bunnies have ZERO skills that their wild counterparts do.

All they really do is hide and run long enough to get lucky and starve to death, instead of being eaten alive. They are at the THE BOTTOM of the food chain; meaning everything out there with them is trying to eat them, and they have little defense, especially compared to the wild rabbits. This is a recipe for disaster, and 100% evil and cruel. There are countless reasons why a rabbit is not a good impulse present:
  • They live more than 10 full years on average. So, if your daughter or son is in 8th grade now, they will have the responsibility of caring for the bunny even when they graduate from college. They aren't cute little babies for long; then they are a full-sized pet from then on. This is when they lose their novelty for the young kids who don't know any better, and accidentally "let themselves out".
  • If you made a list of every kind of pet, and then tried to find the one domesticated indoor pet that was the absolute highest amount of maintenance, a bunny would be near the top. They have complex diets, hay and pellets and water daily. Not to mention cleaning up the hair and stray pellets of poop.
  • Bunnies have an extremely complicated and delicate digestive system. Stasis is up there for the most prolific killer of bunnies, and it is hard to detect until it is too late. This means that regular checkups, at least once every 6 months, are needed. This all costs money.
  • Rabbits are NOT child safe pets. They are, for the most part, afraid of being picked up (especially my Frannie); which makes sense, because in the wild being picked up means being eaten. Children are clumsy and unsure of themselves when they first start interacting with a new pet; but rabbits have an extremely light skeletal system that is largely hollow and is less dense than a cat's. It is VERY common for a child to try and pick up or hold a bunny and it falls from fright or by mistake, and suffers a broken back. There is nothing that can be done after that, they must be put down (the rabbit, not the kid). 
  • If you are a person who is very vain about their house and furniture (which isn't an insult), then having a rabbit might not be a good idea, because they have a penchant for chewing wires, couches, molding, carpets, and anything else. Sure, with training and rabbit-proofing your place properly, this can be mitigated, but not if you aren't expecting it.
  • Rabbits multiply like Gremlins at a 4 a.m. smorgasbord. Unless fixed, they will quickly turn from 2 bunnies into half a trillion bunnies. Wow, how lucky you are to have a zillion offspring bestowed onto thou??
  • Rabbits are known to be government witnesses for the bunny mafia who have been placed into the Witness Relocation Program while cooperating with known criminal bunnies. 
Okay no, that last one was a lie, but you can see where I am coming from. Now for the flip side. By reading that list you might think I am telling you that rabbits suck and to never to get one. With the exception of Frannie, I mean nothing of the sort. They are wonderful animals, and can bring you much joy for years, but the reason for all of this is to show you that adopting a rabbit is something that needs to be given serious thought. If you have considered all of these things, and found a way for them to work with your family, then by all means go and adopt a rabbit. 

I ask all of you to never adopt a bunny on Easter Sunday, it is a testament to our feelings for the rabbit's plight, and to do our best to get this point across to the public.

And one more big thing: if you do get a bunny, please adopt one from a rescue. Pet stores want your money, and that's it. Rescues care about the bunnies, not profit. Volunteers work their butts off for nothing but the satisfaction of helping a bunny find a home that wouldn't have found it otherwise. Thank you and have a nice holiday!


18 comments:

  1. HEAR HEAR! I couldnt have put it better myself. Well I probably could have but why toot my own horn.

    We are pushing close to a hundred at the rescue now, Easter is the bane of our existence. I really hope this outdated (and barbaric)practice of giving little kids live baby animals will no longer exist one day very soon.

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  2. Perfect. If people don't stop buying, the stores won't stop selling, and the cycle will go on and on to infinity. Hundreds or thousands die at the breeder's, in transport to the stores, and in the stores, where they're frequently given inadequate care. The ones who don't sell get euthanized. The ones who do sell, in large part, wind up in rescues. Biffy got really, really lucky, if I may say so myself.

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  3. Bravo!

    This letter should be attached to every Easter card, Easter candy package, Easter commercial, as well as the current movie, 'HOP' as a preview every time the movie is shown.

    (Just the letter, the photo may be too frightening for the general public, though very funny. Well not funny for your couch...)

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  4. I forgot to mention all the great people that you meet when you join the rabbit community.

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  5. JJ, Do you mind if I link to this post from my bunny blog (http://bunnybeginner.blogspot.com/)?

    I share your feelings, but as a rabbit newbie I don't have the experience to back up my opinion.

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  6. @SFleming, of course you can, feel free to do so.

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  7. Hey! Can I repost your whole letter on our rescue's site? I already reposted your photo of the Pumpernickel Couch Murderer. It's here: http://rabbithaven.org/easter-issues/

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  8. @tamara Absolutely, I know your site and I like it so you don't even have to ask to put my stuff up there whenever you want. Thanks, Happy Easter!

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  9. Wow, this post is getting a ton of traffic/views, it has already tripled the views of my top post.

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  10. Thank you so much for this great post, I am lover of the bunnies. My friends always think I'm a mad hatter every year as I rant about this subject and cringe at the front window of the local photography place that uses live rabbits as a gimmic every year.

    I do not own a pet bunny as of yet because I do not think I have an enviroment that would make a rabbit friend happy. But I hope someday to welcome a rescue rabbit into my home.

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  11. @Epic Bee, thanks for your comment, I am sure we all feel the same way. It's a shame you don't have a bunny, I'd bet you would make a great owner.

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  12. Very well said. They are high maintenance, and to the passive observer - they don't really give much back. How many kids would be satisfied that the time and effort was all worth it just because their bunny flopped out by their leg? It does just fine for me though.

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  13. Great article! Our rescue bunny Gizmo gives it two paws up.

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  14. @DC Thank you D.C., and thanks Gizmo!

    @Pepper

    It is so true, it takes a good while for their personality to fully develop from your perspective, that is what I love about them, they are just way different than anything else, truly unique animals.

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  15. Can't say it any better than that, although you did neglect to mention the thousands upon thousands who die a little bit each day as a result of rabbit disdain. I think it was Shakespeare who said, "A snubbing from a rabbit is more painful than the cuts of a thousand knives."

    Or something like that...

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  16. Yes, Jade, the collective hate of all well taken care of house bunnies around the world dwells under our noses like a foul smelling mist of disapproval!

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  17. Awesome! Couldn't have said it better!

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