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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-12-2008, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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caged rabbits

I have been trying to reply to Christi's blog on the plight of caged rabbits, but am having trouble, so I will just start a new thread.

We owe the diversity of the breeds that we all enjoy to breeders, and the last time I looked there were several breeds on the endangered list of the Livestock Conservency. The rabbits of responcible breeders do not end up in shelters, and there will always be a market for baby bunnies. If breeders were all put out of business, the market for bunnies would be wide open for backyard breeders, making the problem worse, not better!

I have outdoor rabbits in a large rabbitat. They have the freedom to leave their hutch at anytime, yet on most days they only spend about an hour outside of their hutch, their choice. Rabbits in different situations may have different requirements. Christi has provided us with a great deal of useful information, and while we may not agree with everything she states, lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

For years rabbit house organizations have been trying to solve the problem of so many unwanted rabbits with a "one size fits all" approach, yet each year the problem gets larger. There are rabbit santuaries popping up all over the country with rabbits kept outside in a farm setting. Some of these santuraries have been started by house rabbit organizations. Maybe it is time to take a fresh look at an old problem.
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-12-2008, 02:23 PM
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There will always be a market for puppies as well. There will always be a market with the uneducated buyer for tiny cute things. There is not a market for grownup rabbits. Craigslist is covered with "purebred" rabbits here, from breeders, who are magically 1 year old and now tearing up the house and spraying pee everywhere.

We have very few pet stores that sell rabbits here. The majority come from so called "responsible" show breeders. They still end up in shelters.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-12-2008, 05:08 PM
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i think the point is that those aren't responsible breeders even if it says it, that doesn't however mean that there aren't any responsible breeders.

EVERYONE agrees that there are too many pets in shelters, and thinks that that is a problem

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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-12-2008, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jennicat View Post
There will always be a market for puppies as well. There will always be a market with the uneducated buyer for tiny cute things. There is not a market for grownup rabbits. Craigslist is covered with "purebred" rabbits here, from breeders, who are magically 1 year old and now tearing up the house and spraying pee everywhere.

We have very few pet stores that sell rabbits here. The majority come from so called "responsible" show breeders. They still end up in shelters.
There are also problems with factory farming of animals in battery cages, not to mention child abuse, and most people keep their children inside their homes. It is not a perfect world, nor will it ever be, but with understanding, a willingness to try to view things from other perspectives and by working together, perhaps we can make it a bit better.

Do you have any new ideas on how to make things better? Rabbit rescue organizations have been working on this problem for a long, long time and things are just getting worse. Turning breeders into scapegoats isn't going to solve the problem. I would sure love to read about any new ideas you may have. Just please keep in mind that people who are not treated in a respectful manner may not be open to what organizations have to say.

"You can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar"
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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 01:35 AM
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I have to say that I'm amused that you seemingly blame the worsening of the rabbit overpopulation problem on rescues. Breeders are not "scapegoats", however, if there is a huge overpopulation of an animal that is difficult to place in a dedicated home, and you are mass producing those animals and undereducating your customers, you have a high burden of blame.

The major problems that we run into (as a rescue group that gets a high volume of surrender requests from rabbits)...

1.) The care recommended by breeders often has no scientific basis and can be extremely bizarre and off-kilter. Because of this, breeder rabbits frequently require expensive medical care which can be extremely expensive for non-profit groups. When asked to change husbandry advice, they are often staunchy defensive, claiming that it "always works for them". However, most breeders are not dealing with senior rabbit issues -- they are concerned for their rabbits only as long as they can win on the table. So while most of this bad advice may not immediately kill a rabbit, it is extremely bad in the long run and leads to serious senior problems.

The very nice man who was pawning his rabbits off on a hapless public next to me at an expo that I was volunteering at was the perfect example of this. He had no idea about having house rabbits at all. He insisted to all of his customers that rabbits must live outside, and that they "couldn't" live inside because they chewed things. Now in the summer, it easily gets to be 113 with the heat index taking into account the humidity, we have a plethora of parasites (mosquitoes, ticks, etc), and a variety of natural predators adept at breaking into outdoor enclosures. People were also told that rabbits loved to be held, were great for kids, and were very low maintenance. And I watched person after person snag a baby rabbit for $10.

2.) Because buyers are unprepared, their rabbits are at a higher risk of being abandoned. When their child is scratched or bitten while picking up bunny, they are angry. When bunny starts spraying their apartment and eating the carpet like crazy, they are angry. Because they are unfamiliar with rabbits as pets, they dump their rabbits.

3.) These uneducated owners often are unwilling to spend serious vet money "on a $10 animal". This does not seem to be a factor to breeders in denying a purchase. They do not advocate or require by contract a spay-neuter. Doing so would make their rabbits more likely to remain in their homes (as it controls more hormonal misbehaviors), would make people less likely to have 'oops' litters from missexed animals (or purposeful stupid 'omg lets have babies' litters), and would garner significant health benefits for the animals.

Finally, there is a serious bent in the rabbit world that is extremely concerning. Breeders tend not to seek vet care for their animals, prefering a "do it at home" approach which leads to the deaths of many animals. They justify this because they "cannot afford" the vet for so many animals (hobby breeders typically have between 30-200 rabbits). It's understandable. Our rescue houses perhaps 15 rabbits, and we've spent around $5,000 on vet care this year on the rabbits alone.

Unfortunately, rescues can neither force breeders to stop selling off animals to the unsuspecting public, and most breeders are extremely resistant to adopting better husbandry because it is more expensive and makes their lives more difficult. It is obviously easier to keep animals in a tiny area on wire floors for the least amount of cleaning. Typically these cages are 18"x24" stacking cages. That is 3 measly square feet. Less than half of what non-breeding sources recommend for a guinea pig. Rabbits are fully as intelligent as cats. If someone was breeding cats all stacked up in their garage in 3 square foot cages, people would be incensed. Why are people so defensive of rabbit breeders?

Even enlarging these cages for more roaming space and adding toys and activities for them to do would improve their lives tremendously. I have actually had breeders tell me that "rabbits don't move much" so they don't need much room. To that, I call BS. The rabbits I'm fostering now roam the whole house with joy and are extremely active -- and they're EIGHT years old.

Overall, the "ARBA" way of life is not the best for rabbits, but breeders are highly defensive of their practices and unwilling to encourage each other to move towards more humane standards because it means a reduction in their herd numbers and more money and time output to care for their animals.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 03:09 PM
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i still don't think its the good breeders fault, we all know that there are good breeders and bad breeders that one selling them for 10 to outdoor only with no spay neuter contract is a good example of a bad one. but not all are like that and not all owners are irresponsible. sadly its the majority of breeders and owners of bunnies that are bad.

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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 03:47 PM
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That's the thing -- I haven't met a single rabbit breeder that has a spay and neuter contract. Or an adoption contract at all, for that matter, legally binding purchasers to return unwanted animals to them, provide vet care, or follow a certain standard of care. I'm sure that some exist somewhere, but it does not seem like the norm, at all.

On the other hand, I'm sure anybody on this board could find dozens of websites for dog breeders with the same criteria.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 04:14 PM
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I do know breeders with all those things, so there are, thankfully, good breeders out there.

And there are bad breeders as well, sadly. But I personally think the biggest problem is misinformed or spur of the moment buyers who get rabbits thinking they are cute cuddly pets that they can carry around like a toy or leave outside in the yard and not worry about. If people did a little more research before bringing a new pet home, then there wouldn't be a market for the bad breeders or pet store mills to sell to, because people who have done there research will hopefully choose to adopt or go to a responsable breeder.

And I think thats where orginazations like the House rabbit society and rabbit rescues do help, by trying to educate potential owners about the realities about owning rabbits.


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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 11:59 AM
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First, let me just give an "amen" to Jennicat's long post. Well said.

Second, the phrase "good breeder" is an oxymoron. Even the breeders who take the best care of their rabbits and pay attention to who they sell them to are causing other rabbits to die in shelters. Every time somebody buys an animal from a pet store or breeder, it means they're NOT going to a shelter to find one that needs a home. That goes for rabbits, cats, dogs, and every other animal that ends up in shelters.

I truly believe that anyone who intentionally breeds ANY animal that isn't on the endangered species list deserves to go to jail for animal abuse.

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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 01:44 PM
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I also like Jennicat's post up there!

& Yes.I also think "good breeders" are pretty much oxymoronic.Is it that hard to rescue an animal? Theres only a bazillion animal rescues out there.Don't put money in someones pockets at the sake of an animal's life.Do you really think the animal wants to be forced to be bred over& over? Its unhealthy.
I am all for rescue animals.Nobody really NEEDS a "purebred" anything.

Adopt& Rescue.
Don't support a slave trade.

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post #11 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 01:51 PM
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There are rabbit santuaries popping up all over the country with rabbits kept outside in a farm setting. Some of these santuraries have been started by house rabbit organizations. Maybe it is time to take a fresh look at an old problem.
I've been to a few of these sanctuaries, but one thing to remember is that some of these are geared towards feral rabbits - domesticated rabbits born in the wild. A great example of this is the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary in Michigan. They have over 500 feral rabbits in a farm-like setting but it is important to remember that these rabbits are not able to be house pets. Their "wild" beginings and upbringings makes this type of atmosphere perfect for them - they are protected from the elements, predators and kept healthy.

I don't agree with breeding. But I think that if there is such a thing as a responsible breeder, they spay and neuter every animal they bring into the world and are willing to accept back any animal if it ever needs to be returned at any point in it's life - no questions asked. Just my opinion...
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post #12 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 01:54 PM
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The fact of the matter is that rescues are now exploding with rabbits. There are a huge number of them this year, it's the worst I've ever seen it in our area. EVERY local shelter has them. They are being euthanized in great number. Every exotic rescue has them. There are several on Craigslist here every day. The vast majority of them are around 1 year old. It's ridiculous!

And we have very few pet stores that sell them in this area. Petco is the largest, but theirs are at least spayed and/or neutered.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #13 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 04:04 PM
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I don't agree with breeding. But I think that if there is such a thing as a responsible breeder, they spay and neuter every animal they bring into the world and are willing to accept back any animal if it ever needs to be returned at any point in it's life - no questions asked. Just my opinion...
As I said earlier, every time somebody gets an animal from a breeder, it means they're NOT getting one from a shelter. Given how crowded shelters are with every type of animal, and how many animals are put to death in shelters every day, that means that EVERY breeder is causing the DEATH of shelter animals. How is that "responsible"?

--Fromper
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post #14 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Well known rabbit facts:
Rabbits make wonderful housepets.
Rabbits can be litterbox trained.
Rabbit-proofing a home is much like child-proofing a home.


Lesser known rabbit facts:
Rabbits can be destructive- not everyone's idea of a good housepet.
Rabbits often leave droppings outside of the litterbox, not everyone's idea of litter box trained.
Rabbit-proofing a home can involve much more than child-proofing a home.

People I have talked to that are unhappy with their rabbits said they felt they had been misled. Could this have anything to do with why the demand for rabbits is up, resulting in an increase in breeding, while pet rabbits keep ending up in shelters? Could anything be done differently so the public is more aware of the requirements rabbits need before jumping into getting a rabbit?
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post #15 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fromper View Post
As I said earlier, every time somebody gets an animal from a breeder, it means they're NOT getting one from a shelter. Given how crowded shelters are with every type of animal, and how many animals are put to death in shelters every day, that means that EVERY breeder is causing the DEATH of shelter animals. How is that "responsible"?

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Like I said, I am against breeding. I totally argee that every animal that any breeder allows to be born into this world represents one animal that will die in a shelter.

I have heard every excuse in the book for breeding. "I'm preserving a bloodline, I'm saving a breed, I am supplying show quality stock..." yada yada yada.

I volunteer for a rabbit rescue. We get purebreds more often than breeders think. Some breeders are high and mighty and laugh at people like me. I just think it's sad. People who breed rabbits and people who have them as house pets are cut from two very different cloths - this I have learned.
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