“We really need to end the misconception that rabbits are ideal ‘starter’ pets”, says RSPCA
“When rabbits are bought on impulse – maybe as an Easter gift – an owner may not realise how complex they are to care for and what a commitment caring for rabbits can be.”
That is the message from RSPCA welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson, who says there has been an overwhelming influx in the numbers of rabbits being put up for adoption.
This Easter the charity is highlighting the neglect faced by Britain’s third most popular pet
Although many of us associate Easter with images of cute and happy bunnies – sadly the RSPCA paints a different picture.
Across England and Wales the RSPCA has seen a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people coming forward to offer recuse rabbits a new home.
It comes as the number of incidents relating to domesticated rabbits continues to rise.
In 2020 in Wales – despite the country being in lockdown, there were 135 incidents reported to the charity; this rose to 194 in 2021.
Locally the number increased from seven in 2020 to 10 in 2021.
Rabbits are sadly spending a long time at rehoming centres, like Edna, who has been at RSPCA Bryn-y-Maen Animal Centre for over a year. Along with Edna, the Upper Colwyn Bay currently has 17 rabbits looking for homes.
While at RSPCA Newport Animal Centre, Harry, Alba and Ferdinand, who all came into RSPCA care via the RSPCA inspectorate as their welfare needs were not being met, are looking for their forever homes.
RSPCA Cymru is also continuing to respond to rabbit incidents. It was just a few weeks ago when four rabbits were sadly abandoned at a lay-by near to Llechwen Hall Hotel, Cilfynydd, near Pontypridd. The four rabbits – who are all male – were taken into RSPCA care, with the injured rabbit receiving veterinary treatment.
RSPCA rabbit welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson said: “This Easter it’s really important for us to highlight that rabbits are one of the most neglected pets in Britain.
“We really need to end the misconception that they are ideal ‘starter’ pets and are somehow ‘easier’ than cats and dogs.
“They need so much more than just a hutch at the end of the garden and are very complex animals with needs for company, stimulation and exercise.
“They also have long life spans of around 8-12 years so are a big commitment for a family.
“When rabbits are bought on impulse – maybe as an Easter gift – an owner may not realise how complex they are to care for and what a commitment caring for rabbits can be.
“For anyone who has done their research and is certain they can provide the time, space, money and care it takes to look after a pair of rabbits then please consider adopting two of the many rescue rabbits in need of a home instead of buying them.”
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