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!