Easter is a rotten holiday – for rabbits like Rosabelle. These sensitive, adorable little animals are widely misunderstood as an “easy” pet to take care of. Rabbit imagery is so deeply connected to spring and Easter that during the month preceding the holiday, you can’t go to a grocery store without seeing an “Easter bunny.”
But the truth is, the real rabbits sold in pet stores and online from breeders mostly come from bunny mills (yes, they exist). They’re often sold too young, untrained and unsocialized. They live for a much longer time than most people expect; a pet rabbit can live for 8-12 years. Veterinary care is expensive, they need exercise and companionship (ideally with another rabbit), and as prey animals, they are not genetically wired to be picked up and cuddled. And let’s face it: most children want a pet they can cuddle.
As a result, the abandonment statistics for rabbits like Rosabelle are grim. Many sources estimate that a horrifying 80% of rabbits bought as pets during the Easter holiday season are subsequently abandoned. Worse, how they are abandoned has another side effect. Those relinquished to animal control may face euthanasia, but far too many are simply released outdoors due to a mistaken belief that these little creatures will be able to survive on their own. Most don’t, succumbing to disease, predators, moving vehicles, starvation, and freezing winter temperatures. It’s a wonder Rosabelle survived long enough to be rescued. Those that do manage to survive can create invasive breeding populations that have significantly changed and damaged natural habitat in Australia, Great Britain, and the United States.
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The best way to prevent unnecessary breeding, abandonment, environmental harm, suffering, and death for these wonderful little creatures is simple. Don’t fall for the “easy pet” nonsense or the live bunny holiday fad. Go ahead, celebrate Easter and cute bunnies – just stick to the chocolate kind.
Of course, if you have made a thoughtful decision to have pet rabbits by researching their habits, assessing the true costs against your finances, and preparing to devote a decade of your family’s time to ensuring their happiness, we highly recommend adoption. There are rabbit rescue groups across the country that can help you select the pair that are right for you.
People who are dedicated to helping rabbits in need, like the rescuers at Hope For Paws, can do great good for terrified, abandoned bunnies. Rosabelle, abandoned in the city and lost near a busy road, was incredibly lucky. Watch her rescue below.
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