There are over an estimated 60,000 rabbits in rescues in the UK, they are the 3rd most popular pet and often one of the most neglected.
Rabbits are often bought on a whim, especially around Easter time; everywhere we look there are images of cute bundles of fluff, with children happily playing with them. The reality is that these cute bundles grow into large pets, like dogs, they need plenty of exercise and cannot just be left in a tiny hutch. Once they have reached maturity they can lose their appeal and if they haven’t been neutered they become very hormonal, which can lead to being territorial and spraying urine, as well as becoming aggressive, if you have a pair of unneutered rabbits, you run the risk of them fighting each other or unwanted pregnancies.
Just a few months down the line and winter arrives and often the owners can’t be bothered to trek down the garden daily to feed and make sure the rabbit is well, let alone clean the hutch and allow the rabbit to exercise - imagine being out in the rain or snow, not nice for you or the rabbit.
Rabbits do not make good pets for small children. A rabbit has strong powerful back paws that can deliver a nasty kick, as well as very sharp teeth that can pierce the skin, rabbits do not like to be held and can jump out of your arms and easily injure themselves.
It's a myth that Rescues don't have young rabbits available; unfortunately some rabbits are handed into rescues already pregnant because their previous owner hadn't had them neutered.
A rescue will ask to see your set up and most have a minimum requirement of a 5ft hutch with a run attached – this is called a homecheck, requirements will vary from rescue to rescue, so please contact them direct to discuss this.
A lot of rescues will have bonded pairs; this takes the guess work out of getting two individual rabbits and hoping they will become friends. Some rescues also offer a bonding service, so if you are looking for a rabbit to pair with your own single rabbit they can help you find the ideal partner for them.
Rescues are open and honest, they will tell you if the rabbit has health problems before you adopt, they will also give advice, based on years of experience.
Rescues neuter, vaccinate and some even microchip the rabbit before it is rehomed.
Should your circumstances change in the future and you are no longer able to care for your rabbit, then the rescues will take them back.
Rescues are not doing this for the money, every rabbit they rehome costs them money, and the adoption fee they request does not cover the cost of a neuter and vaccination.
Still thinking of buying a rabbit from a breeder?
Some rabbits are bred in appalling conditions for the pet industry, there is no legislation that stops people from becoming back yard breeders. When you buy from a pet shop or breeder you are fuelling this business and contributing to the problem.
We hear of horror stories all the time, where rabbits are kept in breeding cages which are 2ft in length, they are forced to become breeding machines, a lot of them never get the chance to feel the grass beneath their paws.
So please stop and think, if you are considering getting a rabbit there are enough in rescues to choose from!
Please opt to adopt and be part of the solution, not the problem.