Easter is a favourite time of the year for children.
Chocolate by the basket full delivered by Easter Bunny.
The trouble is that many pet rabbits are also given at this time of year. They are marketed as an easy pet for a child to look after.
The sad reality is that many of the thousands of rabbits given as gifts will be kept in substandard living conditions according to vets in Britain
Recent research reveals that many of the 1.6 million pet rabbits in Britain suffer from a range of crippling diseases.
Experts blame the welfare problems on a culture of neglect, and have gone as far as claiming that rabbits are the nation’s most abused pets.
Speaking out ahead of Easter, the PDSA, the animal welfare charity, has called for an end to the traditional way of keeping pet rabbits – the lonely hutches, the inadequate food mix, and children in charge.
Reports Jasper Copping of the Telegraph.
In the wild rabbits are a social creature, but many of these children’s pets are kept in isolation in cramped living conditions and fed a substandard diet.
The PDSA released the results of their research which suggests as many as 80% of pet rabbits are confined in too small an environment. Painful dental disease afflicts 30% of pet rabbits because they are fed a muesli style diet.
One out of every two suffers from lack of adequate exercise, and more than half are not given any kind of entertainment toy to relieve boredom. Half of all pet rabbits are the sole pet of the family.
With a life span of 5 to 10 years these animals are more than an Easter gift. They are a significant commitment costing about £3,000 to care for over that time. This realization leads to rescue centres receiving 35,000 abandoned rabbits, and thousands more “released” into the wild or destroyed.
In the past few years there has been an alarming rise in vet treatments of rabbits. Many of these treatments are for teeth damaged by the wrong diet. Another common condition is “flystrike,” a maggot infestation, that if left untreated will cause a slow and painful death for the rabbit.
Rabbits are not especially good children pets because they do not enjoy being lifted from the ground and will often lash out with their rear feet causing severe scratching.
Rabbits can be good pets, but they are not made of chocolate and won’t go away after a couple of weeks. Consider the commitment before purchasing one and find out more about good Rabbit Care.