Australian Rabbits in Danger

As many of our supporters know, European rabbits (the same species as our domesticated rabbits) were brought to Australia in the eighteenth century and released as game for hunters. Because of the lack of predators, and rabbits’ famous fertility, they rapidly spread, creating problems for farmers whose crops they destroyed.

Since that time, the Australian government has come up with a great number of schemes to kill the rabbits, each more cruel than the last.

In the late nineteenth century, Australia began encouraging scientists to create deadly diseases to kill off Australia’s rabbit population. One such disease is myxomatosis, first released in Australia in the 1950s, and which killed hundreds of millions of rabbits. Since the disease was first introduced, those rabbits who survived passed on their resistance to the virus to their offspring, and the population bounced back.  The next disease that was introduced was Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease, which is spread by the release of calicivirus.  Both diseases–myxomatosis and Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease–cause brutal, painful deaths, and there is no cure for either. Both diseases have jumped from the target populations of feral rabbits in Australia to pet rabbits via insect vectors–both in Australia and around the world.

While there are vaccines for both diseases, they are not available in all countries (for instance, rabbits in the United States cannot get vaccinated), so rabbits around the world are vulnerable to these deadly diseases, and countless pet rabbits have already died.

Please sign these petitions to make vaccines for both myxomatosis and RHD more readily available to Australians: