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Missouri Fair Board Letter

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Missouri State Fair attendees have been reporting live rabbits being given away as prizes in soda boxes at the State Fair. Missouri HRS has saved a number of these rabbits, who are given away at 3-4 weeks old, some of whom have died right after being rescued. Missouri HRS also reports that some of the people who have gotten these "prizes" have planned to give them to snakes or let them loose in the parking lot, before Missouri HRS intervened and saved them. HRS is asking the the State Fair Board to implement a statewide ban on live animal giveaways. We sent them the following letter on November 1, and are asking that our members, especially if you live in Missouri, either send your own letter to the address below, or email the board at [email protected].

October 31, 2010

Missouri Association of Fairs and Festivals
Pete Poe, Executive Director
941 East Rodney
Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701

Dear Mr. Poe,

On behalf of House Rabbit Society, an international rabbit rescue and education organization with chapters throughout the country, including Missouri, I'd like to ask that you end the State Fair practice of giving away live rabbits as prizes. We would specifically like to request that you consider implementing a statewide ban on live animal giveaways, to protect the rabbits and other small animals who are used in this way.

You may not realize that according to the Humane Society of the United States, rabbits are the third most-frequently relinquished species at shelters across the country - a huge, and largely hidden, problem, because many members of the general public are simply not aware of it.

The practice of giving away rabbits as gifts only exacerbates this problem. These rabbits are unspayed/unneutered, which means that not only will these animals contribute to an already disastrous overpopulation problem in Missouri, but without surgical alteration, the rabbits will most likely have behavioral problems which the uninformed recipient will not know how to handle.

Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not low-maintenance animals. In fact, compared to dogs and cats, they are actually high-maintenance pets. The hundreds of phone calls that we receive every week demonstrate that people who purchase rabbits simply do not attain enough information on how to care for them, nor do they commit to the ten years or more that a rabbit will live. Getting a rabbit as a gift at a fair means the new owner will even be less prepared to handle the commitment of caring for a complicated animal for the ten years that he or she will live.

As the world's largest rabbit rescue organization with a presence in forty states and six countries, and a website that gets over a million hits per week, House Rabbit Society has played the leading role in rescuing and placing abandoned rabbits. In our twenty years of rescue work, we have rescued over 25,000 rabbits, and our members look to us to fight the continued breeding and sale of rabbits, and to prevent as many of their deaths as we can.

Thank you for supporting a common sense ban on live animal giveaways at your state fair.


Margo DeMello
Executive Director
House Rabbit Society

House Rabbit Society is a nonprofit rescue and education group.
We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today!