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Don't Buy An Easter Bunny - Rehome A Rescue Rabbit [05/04/2004]

In recent 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 abandoned rabbits.

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

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