Rescue Rabbits


However, research by the Rabbit Welfare Fund in 2012 has indicated that around 67,000 rabbits end up in rescue centres every year - and it looks like the problem is getting worse. So, when the question arises as to whether we should keep exotic animals as pets – maybe we should also confront issues closer to home!

Not all unwanted rabbits end up in rescue centres either; some are dumped and forced to fend for themselves in the wild, whilst others end up 'free to a good home' on classified sites and then face the risk of ending up in the wrong hands and being used as bait for dog fights. Sadly, some don't even make it that far and they end up locked in their hutch 24/7, only being given food when their owner remember.

According to the RSPCA, rabbits normally start to be neglected after a mere three months of life in a human's home. An RSPCA survey found that 70% of rescued rabbits had been kept in their hutch for 24 hours a day, 40% had no food, and over half had been living in filthy conditions.

Why are rabbits so neglected?

Rabbits can live for up to 8 years and can end up costing their owners thousands over their lifetime.

According to the RSPCA, around 60% of people don't realise that rabbits are intelligent animals that love to know what is going on around them. They love nothing better than being able to run around, dig and interact with other rabbits, humans, and even in some cases other family pets like cats and dogs. They are not a solitary animal nd live in communal situtions in the wild.

Why Rescue?

If you really wish to have a rabbit as a family pet then you ought to think rescue centre. At a centre, you will receive all the expert advice to ensure you are able to meet all of your rabbits needs as laid out in the Animal Welfare Act.

Most rescues vaccinate, neuter and give their residents a complete health check so you can take home your rabbit knowing it is free from any conditions.

The rescue process

The process varies depending on the rescue you are intending to re-home from but most rescues follow a similar procedure.

You will be asked a series of questions (hutch size, food, vet, other pets etc), which will enable the centre to decide whether you are a suitable owner and that the environment you propose for your pet is fit for habituation.

The next stage normally involves a home check - which is not as scary as it sounds. A home check is a way of ensuring that the rabbit has a home that will meet his or her needs so they don't end up back in rescue in the future. The home check is the last stage and gives the rescue a chance to ensure everything is how it should be and answer any last questions you may have.

Exotic or from the home front, we all have a duty to ensure we care properly for our pets. We are in fact determining their lives, away from their natural environments, and we must be mindful and sympathetic to this.