References on Rabbit Behavior, Welfare and Rabbits in Society

May 5, 2015

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This is a curated set of references from recent scholarship on rabbit behavior, welfare, and rabbit-human relationships. For articles on rabbit health, please visit this page.

Editor’s Note: We understand that many of these articles are done in the context of biomedical research laboratories and that the conditions are not sufficient to satisfy the well-being requirements of a group like House Rabbit Society. Although we do  not endorse such studies, we elected to include these studies to ensure that the most recent data on these issues are available to our readers.

 

Housing and Enrichment

Batchelor, G. R. (1991). Group Housing on Floor Pens and Environmental Enrichment In Sandy Lop Rabbits. Animal Technology: Journal of the Institute of Animal Technicians 42(2): 109–120.

Boers, K., et al. (2002). Comfortable Quarters for Rabbits in Research Institutions. In Comfortable Quarters for Laboratory Animals, Viktor Reinhardt and Annie Reinhardt (eds.), 43–49. Washington, DC: Animal Welfare Institute.

Ceballos, M. C., Góis, K. C. R., Carvalhal, M. V. D. L., Costa, F. D. O., & Costa, M. P. D. (2016). Environmental enrichment for rabbits reared in cages reduces abnormal behaviors and inactivity. Ciência Rural, 46(6), 1088-1093.

Dixon, L. M., Hardiman, J. R., & Cooper, J. J. (2010). Floor area and the behavior of pet rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 5(1), 40-41.

Heath, M., and E. Scott (1990). Housing Rabbits the Unconventional Way. Animal Technology: Journal of the Institute of Animal Technology 41(1):13–26.

Huls, W. L., D. L. Brooks, and D. Bean-Knudsen (1991). Response of Adult New Zealand White Rabbits to Enrichment Objects and Paired Housing. Laboratory Animal Science 41(6): 609–612.

Love, J. (1994). Group Housing: Meeting the Physical and Social Needs of the Laboratory Rabbit. Laboratory Animal Science 44: 5–11.

Mastellone, V., Bovera, F., Musco, N., Panettieri, V., Piccolo, G., Scandurra, A., … & Lombardi, P. (2019). Mirrors Improve Rabbit Natural Behavior in a Free-Range Breeding System. Animals, 9(8), 533.

Peveler, J. L., & Hickman, D. L. (2018). Effects of Music Enrichment on Individually Housed Male New Zealand White Rabbits. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, 57(6), 695-697.

Podberscek, A. L., J. K. Blackshaw, and A. W. Beattie. (1991). The Behavior of Group Penned and Individually Caged Laboratory Rabbits. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 28(4): 353–364.

Stewart, K. L., & Suckow, M. A. (2016). Effects of Nominal Differences in Cage Height and Floor Space on the Wellbeing of Rabbits. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, 55(2), 168-171.

Verga, M. (1993). Some characteristics of Rabbit behavior and their relationship with husbandry systems. Journal of Applied Rabbit Research, 15, 55-55.

Whary, M., R. Pepper, G. Borkowski, W. Lawrence, and F. Ferguson. (1993). “The Effects of Group Housing on the Research Use of the Laboratory Rabbit.” Laboratory Animal Science 27: 330–341.

Behavior

Black, Stephen L and Vanderwolf, CH (1969.) Thumping Behavior in the Rabbit, in Physiology and Behavior, Vol. 4.

Crowell-Davis, S. L. (2007). Behavior problems in pet rabbits. Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, 16(1), 38-44.

Davis, Hank and Jennifer A. Gibson. (2000). Can rabbits tell humans apart? Discrimination of individual humans and its implications for animal research. Comparative Medicine 50(5): 483-485.

Fry, D. J. (2018). Human-directed aggression in rabbits: a behavioural case study. Companion Animal, 23(11), 644-648.

Hudson, Rogyn, et al. (1992.) Spontaneous and odour-induced chin marking in domestic female rabbits, in Animal Behavior 43.

Magnus, E. (2005). Behaviour of the pet rabbit: what is normal and why do problems develop?. In Practice, 27(10), 531-535.

Mastellone, V., Bovera, F., Musco, N., Panettieri, V., Piccolo, G., Scandurra, A., … & Lombardi, P. (2019). Mirrors Improve Rabbit Natural Behavior in a Free-Range Breeding System. Animals, 9(8), 533.

Mykytowycz R. & Hesterman E.R. (1975). An experimental study of aggression in captive European rabbits. In Behaviour, 52

Oxley, J. A., & Ellis, C. F. (2015). Misconceptions regarding rabbit behaviour. The Veterinary Record, 176(13), 339.

Podberscek, A. L., J. K. Blackshaw, and A. W. Beattie. (1991). The Behavior of Group Penned and Individually Caged Laboratory Rabbits. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 28(4): 353–364.

Verga, M. (1993). Some characteristics of Rabbit behavior and their relationship with husbandry systems. Journal of Applied Rabbit Research, 15, 55-55.

Rescue and Welfare

Cook AJ, & McCobb E (2012). Quantifying the shelter rabbit population: an analysis of Massachusetts and Rhode Island animal shelters. Journal of applied animal welfare science : JAAWS, 15 (4), 297-312.

DeMello, M. (2014). Rabbits in captivity. The ethics of captivity, Gruen, L., Ed, Oxford: 77-89.

Edgar, J. L., & Mullan, S. M. (2011). Knowledge and attitudes of 52 UK pet rabbit owners at the point of sale. Veterinary Record-English Edition, 168(13), 353.

Ellis, C. F., McCormick, W., & Tinarwo, A. (2017). Analysis of Factors Relating to Companion Rabbits Relinquished to Two United Kingdom Rehoming Centers. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-10.

Jenkins, J. R. (2001). Rabbit behavior. The veterinary clinics of North America. Exotic animal practice, 4(3), 669-679.

Lascelles, R. The Oxymoron of Caged Animal Welfare: A Case Study in The Australian Caged Rabbit Meat Industry.

Ledger, R. A. (2010). The relinquishment of rabbits to rescue shelters in Canada. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 5(1), 36-37.

Martens, K. J. M. (2018). The current living conditions and welfare status of pet rabbits kept by private owners in the Netherlands (Master’s thesis).

Meredith, A. (2005). Animal welfare concerns for companion and laboratory rabbits. Information resources on the care and welfare of rabbits (AWIC Resource Series No. 31). US Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD.

Mullan, S., & Saunders, R. (2018). European cuniculus)(Oryctolagus Rabbits. Companion Animal Care and Welfare: The UFAW Companion Animal Handbook, 163.

Neville, V., Hinde, K., Line, E., Todd, R., & Saunders, R. A. (2018). Rabbit relinquishment through online classified advertisements in the United Kingdom: when, why, and how many? Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-11.

Okola, A., McCobb, E., & Dowling-Guyer, S. (publication in progress). Knowledge of rabbit husbandry at rabbit acquisition sites: A survey of pet stores, animal shelters, and rabbit rescues in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Unpublished manuscript, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Massachusetts, Unites States of America.

Oxley, J. A. (2013). Rabbit welfare and legislation in the UK. World Rabbit Science, 21, 271-272.

Rooney, N. J., Blackwell, E. J., Mullan, S. M., Saunders, R., Baker, P. E., Hill, J. M., … & Held, S. D. (2014). The current state of welfare, housing and husbandry of the English pet rabbit population. BMC research notes, 7(1), 942.

Schaffner, J. E. (2016). A Rabbit, is a rabbit, is a rabbit…. Not under the Law. Global Journal of Animal Law, (1).

Schepers, F., Koene, P., & Beerda, B. (2009). Welfare assessment in pet rabbits. Animal welfare, 18(4), 477-485.

Szczodry, Olga. (2013). Euthanasia methods of Rabbits vary between different contexts: A Review of Welfare and Ethical considerations. Masters Thesis, Utrecht University.

Ulfsdotter, L., Lundberg, A., & Andersson, M. (2016). Rehoming of pet rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Sweden: an investigation of national advertisement. Animal Welfare, 25(3), 303-308.

Vries, J. D. (2018). Assessment of the health and welfare of pet rabbits in Dutch animal shelters and petting zoos (Master’s thesis).

Handling

Bradbury, A. G., & Dickens, G. J. E. (2016). Appropriate handling of pet rabbits: a literature review. Journal of Small Animal Practice.

McBride, E. A., Day, S., McAdie, T. M., Meredith, A., Barley, J., Hickman, J., & Lawes, L. (2006). Trancing Rabbits: Relaxed hypnosis or a state of fear?

Oxley, J. A., Ellis, C. F., McBride, E. A., & McCormick, W. D. (2018). A Survey of Rabbit Handling Methods Within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-12.

History and Culture

Eather, W., & Cottle, D. (2018). Stymied Solutions for the Pest: Farmers, Graziers, Rabbits and the Search for a Biological Agent, 1880–1908. Historical Records of Australian Science, 29(2), 103-111.

Davis, Susan, and Margo DeMello. (2003). Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature. New York: Lantern Books.

DeMello, M. (2013.) Identity, Community and Grief: The Role of Bunspace in Human and Rabbit Lives. Speaking for Animals: Animal Autobiographical Writing, Rutledge: 115-129.

DeMello, M. (2010). Becoming rabbit: Living with and knowing rabbits. Spring Journal.

DeMello, M. (2018). Online Animal (Auto-) Biographies: What Does It Mean When We “Give Animals a Voice?”. In Animal Biography (pp. 243-259). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Marie, J. (2008). For Science, Love and Money: The Social Worlds of Poultry and Rabbit Breeding in Britain, 1900—1940. Social studies of science, 38(6), 919-936.

Mazzucchelli, F. (2018). The Birth of a Pet? The Rabbit. In Semiotics of Animals in Culture (pp. 103-118). Springer, Cham.

Rabbits, other Small Animals, and Society

Gosling, S. D., & Bonnenburg, A. V. (1998). An integrative approach to personality research in anthrozoology: ratings of six species of pets and their owners. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 11(3), 148-156.

Hunt, S. J., Hart, L. A., & Gomulkiewicz, R. (1992). Role of small animals in social interactions between strangers. The Journal of Social Psychology, 132, 245-256.

Howell, Tiffani J., Kate Mornement, and Pauleen C. Bennett. (2015). Companion Rabbit and Companion Bird Management Practices Among a Representative Sample of Guardians in Victoria, Australia. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science Vol. 18, No. 3.

Leyvraz, A. M., McBride, A., & Bishop, F. L. (2009). Management and behaviour of pet rabbits in Switzerland.

Mayer, J., Brown, S., & Mitchell, M. A. (2017). Survey to investigate owners’ perceptions and experiences of pet rabbit husbandry and health. Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine.

Mullan, S. M., & Main, D. C. (2006). Survey of the husbandry, health and welfare of 102 pet rabbits. The veterinary record, 159(4), 103-109.

Mullan, S. M., & Main, D. C. (2007). Behaviour and personality of pet rabbits and their interactions with their owners. The veterinary record, 160(15), 516-520.

Normando, S., & Gelli, D. (2011). Behavioral complaints and owners’ satisfaction in rabbits, mustelids, and rodents kept as pets. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 6(6), 337-342.

Okola, A., McCobb, E., & Dowling-Guyer, S. (publication in progress). Knowledge of rabbit husbandry at rabbit acquisition sites: A survey of pet stores, animal shelters, and rabbit rescues in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Unpublished manuscript, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Massachusetts, Unites States of America.

Oxley, J. A., Ellis, C. F., McBride, E. A., & McCormick, W. D. (2018). A Survey of Rabbit Handling Methods Within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-12.

Smith, Julie A. (2003). Constructing a ‘Performance Ethic’: The Discourse and Practices of the House Rabbit Society. Society & Animals: Journal of Human-Animal Studies Vol. 11, No. 2 (2003): 181-197.

Welch, Tasha. (2015). Motivations for and thoughts toward rabbit ownership and factors contributing to companion-rabbit owners’ knowledge. Masters Thesis presented to The University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Welch, T., Coe, J. B., Niel, L., & McCobb, E. (2016). A survey exploring factors associated with 2,890 companion-rabbit owners’ knowledge of rabbit care and the neuter status of their companion rabbit. Preventive Veterinary Medicine.

Health

Please see https://rabbit.org/scholarly-articles-on-rabbit-health/

This post was last updated March 4, 2019

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