years it has become more and more popular for families to buy a pet rabbit at
Easter, and this year the Rabbit Welfare
Association (RWA) and the Scottish Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) are urging parents to consider instead giving a home to one of the 33,000 unwanted
rabbits living in Rabbit Rescue Centres up and down the country.
Many of these rabbits have been bought as Easter presents in the past and once the novelty has worn off – sometimes not
long after the last chocolate egg has been eaten – they are either subjected to
a miserable life alone in a hutch, or “donated” to a rescue centre. By re-homing a rescue rabbit, hundreds of
Easter Bunnies will be given a brighter future, way beyond Easter.
Scottish SPCA vet Ian Futter explained: "Rabbits are now the third most
popular pet in the UK but they do not make ideal pets for young children. Being
prey animals, most rabbits will feel threatened or insecure when picked up and
held. They are fragile creatures, requiring social interaction, daily exercise
and plenty of attention."
Diane Stewart, Manager of the Lothian Animal Welfare Centre, stresses: "A
rabbit can live for between six to ten years, and a child's enthusiasm generally
only lasts for a few weeks. The rabbit often spends the remainder of its life
lonely and neglected, sitting in a hutch at the bottom of the garden. Rabbits
are not seasonal pets. People buy baby bunnies because they are appealing, but
once they grow older the children often lose interest."
This year's Easter message from the Scottish SPCA and the RWA is: please,
think carefully before getting a rabbit for a child. If you can offer a good
home to a bunny, and have thought about the commitment, time and expense
involved in owning a rabbit, then visit one of the Scottish SPCA Animal Welfare
Centres, or a reputable Rabbit Rescue Centre, and give a home to one of the many
To find your nearest Scottish SPCA Animal Welfare Centre contact 0131 339
0222 or visit www.scottishspca.org and for your closest Rabbit Rescue Centre,
contact the RWA Helpline on 0870 046 5249 or go to www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk