|Artwork by Georgina Martin, UK, and courtesy Fur Free Alliance|
House Rabbit Society’s philosophy and general policies state that all rabbits are valuable as individuals, regardless of breed purity, temperament, state of health, or relationship to humans. The welfare of all rabbits is our primary consideration, and HRS does not support the raising or promotion of rabbits as food animals, or any other commercial or exploitive interests. Finally, HRS’s health research is done by compilation of existing data and necropsy results, and we do not believe in the sacrifice of an animal for any reason.
Following are our statements with respect to the major ways that rabbits are currently exploited or harmed:
Rabbits as Meat
HRS members and volunteers live and share our lives with rabbits, and know what incredible creatures they are: intelligent, curious, willful, funny, affectionate, greedy and even destructive. So to think that millions of our cherished rabbits are being raised and slaughtered in factory-like conditions, with very little government oversight, for human consumption every year is highly disturbing. Following is some information on the growing trend of raising and slaughtering rabbits for meat:
- Why Care About Rabbit Meat
- Compassion in World Farming Investigation into Rabbit Meat
- HRS Founder’s Statement on Rabbit Meat
- Humane Society of the United States’ information on meat rabbits
- Compassion in World Farming’s information on rabbits in factory farms
House Rabbit Society believes strongly that a rabbit’s fur should be worn only by one individual: the rabbit. We vehemently oppose the use of rabbit fur to make coats, collars, earmuffs, cat toys, or anything else, and we encourage you to contact any company designing, marketing or selling rabbit fur and ask them to stop.
Although the companies engaged in these practices are, unfortunately, far too numerous to list here, we offer the following contact information for major campaigns to stop the commercial use of rabbit fur:
- PETA video which shows the slaughter of rabbits in China for fur.Warning: the footage is EXTREMELY graphic.
- PETA video which shows how rabbits are “plucked” for angora fur. Warning: the footage is EXTREMELY graphic.
- Humane Society of the United States Information
- Information on angora fur
- Department stores that sell (and don’t sell) rabbit fur
Breeding and Selling Rabbits
Millions of adorable dogs, cats, and rabbits are killed in animal shelters in this country every year. In addition, unwanted rabbits are often abandoned in fields, parks, or on city streets to fend for themselves, where they suffer from starvation, sickness, and are easy prey to other animals or traffic accidents. Those rabbits who are sold to pet stores don’t necessarily fare any better, as pet stores sell pets to anyone with the money to buy, and don’t check on what kind of home they will go to. Many of these rabbits will be sold as snake food, or as a pet for a small child who will soon “outgrow” the rabbit. HRS was founded in order to help slow down the euthanasia of so many rabbits at our nation’s shelters every year, and therefore opposes the breeding of domestic rabbits as long as the overpopulation crisis exists.
To stop the breeding, sale, and euthanasia of healthy rabbits, please adopt your next rabbit, and tell all your friends to do the same. Please also shop at pet supply stores that do not sell animals. Since Petco and Petsmart stopped selling rabbits, Petland is now the only national pet store to sell rabbits. Please do not shop at Petland and encourage others to boycott them as well! To find out more about the problems facing rabbits and other animals who are bred and sold as pets, please go to:
- Sample letter to pet stores that sell rabbits
- Boycott Petland
- Columbus HRS: Make Mine Chocolate
- Petco Stops Selling Rabbits
- Investigation into Rainbow Exotics; Supplier of PetSmart animals
- Rabbits at Easter
- Canadian Petition to Stop Rabbit Sales
Product Testing on Rabbits
While debates continue to rage over the necessity of using animals in medical experimentation, there seems to be no real need to test cosmetics and household products on live animals, yet hundreds of thousands of rabbits give their lives to the testing of household products like toothpaste and shampoo, even when no law exists to require such testing. Please consider buying non-animal tested products when you shop. To find out more about how rabbits are used, and how you can shop compassionately, please visit:
- The Bunny Army: Join with small animal to give animals a voice!
- American Anti-Vivisection Society: Rabbits in Product Testing
- American Anti-Vivisection Society: Rabbits in Research
- American Anti-Vivisection Society’s Free Guide to Compassionate Shopping
- The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics
Killing Wild or Feral Rabbits
Currently, wild rabbits and hares (and sometimes domestic rabbits who have gone feral) are subject to being killed both for sport (via hunting, greyhound training, and hare coursing) or through government efforts to “control” wildlife when rabbits or hares have found themselves living on land to be developed, or when they have moved onto already developed properties such as retirement homes or golf courses. To find out more about how you can help with both of these situations, please visit:
- Animal Protection Institute: Coexisting with Wildlife
- ABC News Investigation into Hare Coursing
- Hopper Home: Greyhound Racing and Rabbits
- A free e-book by John Fitzgerald on Hare Coursing
- Ban Hare Coursing in Ireland
Giving Rabbits as Pets in Auctions or Raffles
House Rabbit Society opposes the raffling or auctioning of rabbits as pets. To find out more about how you can help with both of these situations, please visit:
- HRS Statement on Rabbits as Prizes
- HRS Letter to Missouri State Fair Board on Rabbits as Prizes
- What To Do When You See Rabbits Being Given Away
Every Easter, a number of photography studios around the country offer photo sessions using rabbits as props. Rabbits are purchased or borrowed for these events and some stores raffle the rabbits away after the promotion is over. Some stores that do this are Glamour Shots and Portrait Simple Studios. Please contact them to let them know that rabbits are not props!
While domestic violence does not naturally seem like a rabbit issue, scholars in human-animal studies and organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States have proven that there is a strong link between violence to women and children in the home and violence to animals. Rabbits, cats, dogs, and other companion animals are often victimized by abusers in the home, and women often do not leave a situation of violence because they don’t have a place to take their companion animal. The HSUS provides a link to city, state, and county programs that help women in crisis to care for their animals, or which temporarily place animals while a woman is seeking shelter.