This Easter and every Easter we at House Rabbit Society want you to remember
- a rabbit as an easter gift is not a good idea – chocolate bunnies are best
- never to buy a rabbit (don’t shop – adopt!)
- do your homework learn about rabbits as pets
- when you’re ready for an 8-12 year commitment, adopt from a local rescue/shelter
- you can help us spread the word and also donate
At House Rabbit Society, we believe rabbits are wonderful companions, but they’re not for everyone. If you’ve never had a rabbit before, we encourage you to spend time on our website, learning more about them and whether they would be a good fit for you, your family, and your lifestyle. A great place to start is at rabbit.org/faq. We also recommend fostering a rabbit first so you can experience what it’s like caring for one before you make a lifetime, 10-year commitment to adopt.
As our name implies, we also believe the best place for a rabbit is indoors, as part of the family. Rabbits are social creatures and housing them outside where they are exposed to predators is not in their best interest. It’s lonely out there too! You wouldn’t want to be in a small hutch out in the cold away from your family, so why would your rabbit?
Help us spread the word rabbits and Easter don’t mix!
- Download and then share our 2022 Easter graphic on social media
- Help us spread the word to anyone you know who is considering getting a rabbit for their child this Easter. Ask them to consider adopting a rabbit from a rescue or a shelter rather than buy one from a breeder or a pet store. Suggest they consider trying fostering a rabbit too!
- Check out these flyers you can download and post on your social media accounts and on sites like Nextdoor to help get the message out that rabbits and Easter don’t mix. Some flyers are appropriate to share all year long! Download the flyers: rabbit.org/flyers-for-easter-and-bunnies-dont-mix
- Post flyers at your local veterinary clinic, pet supply store, supermarket, school, and/or church.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Tell them in your own words about the truth of rabbits at Easter, or use our own model letter.
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Easter and Rabbits
NOTE: Our website has changed. Please visit rabbit.org for our new website and https://rabbit.org/category/easter/ for our new Easter pages.
Contrary to Easter-time hype, rabbits and small children aren’t a good match. The exuberance of even the gentlest toddler is stressful for the sensitive rabbit.
Children like a companion they can hold, and cuddle. That’s why stuffed animals are so popular. Rabbits are not passive and cuddly. They are ground-loving creatures who feel frightened and insecure when held and restrained. The result of a short-sighted purchase of an Easter rabbit: the child loses interest, and the rabbit ends up neglected or abandoned.
Easter bunnies soon grow large and reach adolescence. If left unneutered they will chew, spray or dig. Many end up neglected or abandoned. The result? Humane organizations such as House Rabbit Society see a huge increase in the number of abandoned rabbits after Easter. Help us stop this yearly cycle by educating yourself and others!
Know the Facts.
- Rabbits are not “low-maintenance” pets, and are a poor choice as a pet for children.
- They have a lifespan of 10 years and require as much work as a dog or cat.
- Your home must be bunny-proofed, or Thumper will chew cords and furniture.
- Rabbits must be neutered or spayed or they will mark your house with feces and urine.
- They should live indoors, as members of the family.
Clearly, rabbits aren’t for everyone. Are you a gentle adult living in a quiet household? If you think you’re someone who would enjoy sharing life with a rabbit, please visit your local rabbit-rescue group.
Help Us Spread the Word!
- Know someone purchasing a rabbit at Easter? Let them know it’s a bad idea. Print out our Children and Rabbits Flyer or The Easter Bunny Poem and give them a copy.
- Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper informing the public about rabbits as pets and the dangers of getting them at Easter
- Rescue Groups! Consider putting up a billboard or other public display educating people about why rabbits are not Easter gifts! Check out the Easter billboard campaigns created by Rabbitron and New Mexico House Rabbit Society!
- Wear a t-shirt sporting one of our Easter messages.
- Display our Easter banners on your own homepage.
- Print out and distribute our Easter flyers around town.
- Learn about the Make Mine Chocolate! campaign.
- Lend your financial support. Make a donation or become a member to help support our cause!
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House Rabbit Society strongly urges parents not to buy their children live “Easter bunnies” unless they are willing to make a 10-year commitment to properly care for the animals. Each year, thousands of baby rabbits, chicks, and ducks are purchased as Easter gifts only to be abandoned or left at shelters in the days, weeks and months that follow Easter.
Margo DeMello, president of HRS, encourages rabbit lovers to support the “Make Mine Chocolate” ™ campaign created by the Columbus, Ohio, chapter of HRS.“Rabbits are not ‘low maintenance’ pets,” says DeMello; they require at least the same amount of work as a cat or dog, and often more. Chocolate rabbits are a great alternative; kids can enjoy them for 10 minutes, and they won’t have to take care of them for the next 10 years.”
Mary Cotter, vice-president of HRS, says that many of the rabbits purchased as Easter pets will never live to see their first birthday. Some will die from neglect, while others will be abandoned in local parks or left at animal shelters. “It is irresponsible for pet stores to push rabbits and other so-called Easter animals during the holiday,” says Cotter. “Unless parents are willing to take full responsibility for the possible 10-year lifepan of a live rabbit, they should buy their children chocolate rabbits instead.”
Most children want a companion they can hold, carry and cuddle, but rabbits are fragile, ground-loving creatures who break easily when dropped. Additionally, rabbits are easily frightened by loud noises. It is unreasonable to expect a small child to make a 10-year commitment to taking care of a rabbit. All too often, the child loses interest, and the rabbit ends up neglected or abandoned.
Does this mean no families with children should never have pet rabbits? “Not at all!” says DeMello. “But what it does mean is that parents must be actively involved on a daily basis, and willing to supervise any interactions between rabbits and children. Otherwise, chocolate is the way to go!”
For families willing to make the long-term commitment, here are a few points to consider before acquiring a rabbit:
**Housing: For rabbits who use a cage, the cage needs to be at least six times the size of the adult rabbit. It should not have a wire bottom, as the wire can cause sores on the rabbit’s feet. There should be room for a litterbox, toys, food and water bowls. Others may choose to forgo a cage entirely, using instead a pen for the rabbit’s home base.
**Playtime: Rabbits need plenty of exercise and should be allowed at least 30 hours out-of-cage or pen running time in a rabbit-proofed area of the home per week.
**Outdoors: Rabbits should never be left outdoors unsupervised. They can, literally, be frightened to death when approached by predators such as dogs, cats, raccoons and owls. They can also dig under fences to escape.
**Litter Box: Rabbits, once spayed or neutered, will readily use litterboxes that are place in one corner of the rabbit’s space; the rabbit’s running space should contain at least one additional box. Use dust-free, natural litter–not the clumping kind, and no softwood shavings.
**Diet: Rabbits need fresh water, unlimited fresh, grass hay, 1-2 cups of fresh vegetables, and a small serving (1/4 c per 5 lb. rabbit) of plain rabbit pellets each day.
** Health: Like dogs and cats, rabbits should be spayed or neutered. The risk of uterine cancer in unspayed female rabbits is alarmingly high, and unneutered males are likely to spray.
**Grooming: Rabbits shed their coat 3-4 times per year; use a flea comb and brush away excess fur.
A person who chooses a baby rabbit as a companion must:
**Have lots of time, a household that can withstand some chewing, and a stable residence.
**Expect an unneutered/unspayed baby will spray urine. Know that neutering/spaying (at four to six months) will stop the problem.
**Expect accidents when baby forgets the location of the litterbox.
**Allow the energetic young rabbit at least 30 hours a week of free time outside her pen, habitat, or cage.
**Know the cute baby will soon be an adult rabbit and may have a different personality.
If you think you would enjoy sharing your home with a rabbit, please contact HRS, your local animal shelter, humane society or rabbit rescue group for information about adopting a rabbit. No matter where you live, you are probably within 10 miles of a rabbit who desperately needs a safe, indoor home. If you are not sure you can make this kind of commitment, please consider buying your child a chocolate bunny this Easter instead.