The docile nature of rabbits and their incredibly cute and cuddly looks make them a popular pet animal for little kids, rabbits are also quite easy to find so they can be purchased from any pet store without much hassle. While rabbits make for incredibly convenient pets, the fact remains that they are living creatures that need to be taken care of, unfortunately many people tend to forget this part about rabbits. According to a research study, hundreds and thousands of rabbits face neglect in captivity.
Many people who purchase rabbits for pets, provide these furry hole diggers with very poor living conditions, keeping them closed in isolated cages and not even giving them proper food to eat. This study revealed that out of all the rabbits that are kept as pets, only 8% owners have provided their pets with proper living conditions. Rabbits are known to be highly social creatures, however many owners keep them in lonely homes, often leaving them in the corner of their homes for most days.
Along with poor living conditions, many pet rabbits are not given vaccinations and are not taken to the vet for care, basically; many people do not really consider rabbits as pets at all, instead they think of them as toys for their toddlers and kids that can be tossed aside once their children become bored of them.
Keeping rabbits as pets became popular for the first time in the 1970s when Watership Down was released; a book that was also turned into a film later on. Watership Down’s story centred on rabbits, people who read this book automatically wanted to have rabbits for pets, in fact there is a complete trend between rabbit adoption and the inclusion of rabbits in pop-culture. The sales for rabbits goes up quite significantly around Easter, and another more recent mainstream depiction of rabbits in the movie “Peter Rabbit” is also going to encourage more people to buy rabbits.
The PDSA is making an effort to control this problem of neglected rabbits by having people consider the consequences of adopting rabbits before actually purchasing them. Their efforts are making a difference, a large pet store company “Pets at Home” has actually gone as far as suspending rabbit sales in all of their stores during Easter and has instead launched educational programs to increase awareness amongst potential rabbit buyers.
While these efforts are commendable, they are also quite late; many vets and charities have noted that the rabbit neglecting crisis has gone way overboard, meaning that despite tremendous effort, it will take time before things get under control. The best that everyone can do is by playing a part in spreading awareness, letting people know about the best rabbit food and the best living conditions that need to be provided for a rabbit in order to keep it healthy and happy.
Remember, pets are not toys, they are living beings whose well-being and happiness becomes your responsibility the moment you buy/adopt them.