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Make Mine Chocolate!

14 years ago

23rd March, 2010 00h00

Bad Deal for the Easter Bunny The connection between rabbits and Easter is well known, and well used in the media at this time of year. They’re cute, they’re cuddly and they’re easy on the eye. But unfortunately Easter is the worst time for pet rabbits. The sad fact is that statistically, rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK, but are amongst the most neglected and abused. Unlike cats or dogs that are seen as a big commitment, rabbits are seen as a cheap and easy child’s pet and are often bought without much thought. This is particularly the case at Easter when children, bombarded with images of cute and fluffy bunnies – start to tug their parents’ sleeves and ask for one of their own. At Easter, sales of rabbits shoot through the roof, and most of these sales are gifts for children. When the novelty has worn off and the reality of looking after the animal has set in, a huge number are abandoned into already overcrowded rescue shelters, dumped in fields and left to fend for themselves, or spend their lives in solitary confinement in a small hutch at the bottom of the garden. The ‘lucky’ ones that make it into a rescue shelter often have serious medical conditions due to lack of proper care. Make Mine Chocolate! campaign poster Make Mine Chocolate! is a campaign group set up with the aim of discouraging people from buying rabbits as gifts, particularly at Easter. Their message is simple - don’t buy a rabbit for Easter, buy a chocolate one instead. Make Mine Chocolate’s Janice Newbery said, “As somebody who works in animal rescue, I am all too aware of the amount of rabbits that are abandoned in the weeks and months after Easter. People simply don’t think before they buy, and when the child gets bored of the animal it gets cast aside like an unwanted toy. If people did a bit of research and found out what’s involved they probably wouldn’t make the purchase in the first place. It’s much easier to buy a chocolate or a toy rabbit instead, they’re much easier to look after!” And the numbers are shocking. Make Mine Chocolate’s survey of animal shelters across the UK tells us that almost 40% of the rabbits in rescue shelters were given up within 6 months of being bought. This is a clear indication that people aren’t ware of what’s involved before they make the purchase. The Animal Welfare Act of 2007 backs up their point. Under the Act, owners must show a ‘duty of care’ to their pet, including allowing it to display its natural behaviours. Without researching before buying and understanding their responsibilities, owners are very likely to breach the act. As Janice from Make Mine Chocolate pointed out, “the problem is that people don’t mean to be cruel, they just don’t know what a rabbit needs to live a contented life.” So the message is simple, rabbits, just like cats and dogs, are a big responsibility and should never be given as gifts. One thing’s for sure, this Easter I’ll Make Mine Chocolate! For more information on what’s involved in looking after a rabbit please go to where they have loads of advice and downloadable information. Or if you want to find a rescue shelter near you call the helpline on 0844 3246090.

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