The Rabbit rescue campaign is run by Hoppy Hearts in a partnership with Make Mine Chocolate! and it is promoting to focus on stuffed animals and chocolate as gifts for the upcoming Easter holiday. Kaylie MacIntosh is the President of Hoppy Hearts and tells 570News that 80 per cent of rabbits that are purchased for Easter are surrendered within 6 months or abandoned.
“We partnered with Make Mine Chocolate about a year or two ago to advocate on behalf of rabbits around this season. People tend to think rabbits will make good Easter gifts for children, without considering the needs and requirements of rabbits and a lot of them can become neglected or sick. People don’t realize how big of a commitment it will be or their kids just get bored– and they they’ll either reach out to rescues like mine or some people even just dump them outside thinking they can survive on their own.”
“We started taking statistics last year about the calls that we had to turn away, and we found that around June is when we see the peak for people looking to re-home or calling us about stray rabbits. Our best guess as to why that is, is because people buy baby rabbits around Easter when they are really small, and then once they grow and mature people just aren’t really wanting them any more.”
One of the main reasons why this is happening is the misconception that rabbits are easy to take care of. “The reality is that they are a huge commitment– their life span is identical to that of a large-breed dog. They also have exercise needs, so something like a cage isn’t even really meeting their minimum requirements for space, they need something where they can at least do three hops and fully extend their body. We find the minimum cage that meets those is a large-size exercise pen for dogs. Another thing people don’t realize is that carrots are actually bad for rabbits– they’re extremely high in sugar. A rabbits diet should be 80 per cent hay.”
So, if you are not absolutely sure you can have the time, energy and willingness to take care of the rabbit, then it is better not to buy one. Instead, focus on spreading the word, keeping rabbits safe and get a stuffie instead. You can learn more about the Rabbit rescue campaign here.