The wonderful children’s stories by Beatrix Potter began with the Tale of Peter Rabbit, a mischievous little rabbit who went against his mothers wishes and ended up making himself sick by eating the wrong things and putting himself in danger by venturing too near the wrong people. These stories are often the catalyst behind a child’s declaration that they want to own a pet bunny! While the stories are simply that, the wonderous imaginings of a truly gifted children’s author, they have indirectly elicited an endemic of rabbits being kept as children’s pets.
For decades now, rabbits have been kept in hutches which in itself is not a bad way of keeping rabbits. This practice however dates back to times when rabbit was a cheap source of meat. Families would buy two live rabbits and allow them to breed creating a sustainable source of meat for the whole family. In these times, conditions in which rabbits were kept didn’t matter much. Thankfully, the idea of animal welfare has come on in leaps and bounds in the past few years and, thanks to some forward thinking people, so has rabbit awareness.
Rabbits are now no longer promoted as the disposable children’s pets which they have previously been though of as. Hutch sizes have increased dramatically and now, any pet retailer who knows his stuff will tell a potential rabbit owner which hutch is intended as a home and which is intended as a den. Rabbits are now known as social animals that need to interact with their own species in order to remain psychologically healthy. And, as Peter Rabbit found out, rabbits cannot survive on carrots alone and need a balanced diet high in fibre in order to remain physically healthy.
The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund is the leading advocate for rabbit welfare in the UK and this Monday (23rd may) marks the beginning of their campaign Rabbit Awareness Week 2011. During this week, veterinary practices, animal charities, pet shops and animal welfare organisations will all join forces to bring home the message of rabbit welfare and hopefully improves the lives of the millions of pet rabbit being kept in the UK.
Many vets practices are holding complimentary rabbit health checks during Rabbit Awareness Week which is well worth taking advantage off. Hundreds of rabbit charities around the country will be holding their own events too, and the Society for Abandoned Animals is no exception.
We will be holding a Rabbit Awareness event at Jolleys Petfood Superstore in Fallowfield on Saturday 28th May, during which we will be helping new and prospective rabbit owners to set their pet rabbits off on the right track. We will also be on hand to help existing rabbit owners with any questions they have about their own rabbits.
As children are still so closely linked to rabbits and rabbit ownership we will be offering lots for kids to do during the day including face painting, colouring contests and a Name the Rabbit competition.
Even if you do not own a rabbit you will be able to do your bit for rabbit welfare by taking part in our ‘Buy a Bunny a Breakfast’ competition. For this competition you can feed one of the rabbits at our rehoming centre for just £1 and be entered into our free prize draw to win a fantastic rabbit hamper!
For further information feel free to contact us at the Society for Abandoned Animals on 01619735318 or by email direct to our animal care coodinator on firstname.lastname@example.org