Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Activists speak out while UVic officials mull lethal control
The long-standing UVic rabbit issue has yet gain garnered considerable media coverage and debate. What should be done with the rabbits? There's lots of talk and concern over the University's next move. Volunteers are patrolling the grounds at night looking for suspicious activity, and generally staying on high alert. There are several Facebook groups that provide current information. In addition to local animal rescue/advocacy societies, other like-minded groups like Best Friends and PETA are being kept apprised of the situation.
Some of the media coverage has been rather unavourable, with misinformation being presented to the public.
Don't fall down the rabbit hole, April 8, 2010, Macleans excerpt: Sure they’re cute, but Richard Piskor, UVic’s director of occupational health, safety and environment, says rabbits also bring trouble. “The sheer volume of feces on the ﬁelds is remarkable,” he says. “So the potential for [human] infection is there.” Burrowing is another problem. Piskor said a staff member was injured while walking across a ﬁeld pitted with rabbit holes; he ended up in the hospital with broken teeth. Then there’s the damage to trees, which are being debarked, and to the rabbits themselves.
An online reader's opinion is that Mr. Piskor appears unduly worried about the risk of disease from rabbits, whereas it's human to human contact that is a very real threat. As to the staff member tripping and falling, perhaps clumsiness, inattention, or alcohol. Who knows.
University of Victoria Rabbit Cull?, April 7, 2010, GreenMuze excerpt:
Without question it is a lot cheaper to hire an exterminator organization to destroy all the rabbits than it is to humanely trap them, neuter or spay the animals and spend the time, energy and money to find proper homes for the bunnies.
Carmina Gooch, RAG BC: UVic’s rabbit situation is the result of years of
inaction by the administration, the pet industry exploiting them for profit,
people buying on impulse, no bylaws with regard to breeding, lack of education
on care and such, and the fact that rabbits are considered as disposable or
starter pets for kids.
Solution needed for unwanted bunnies April 13, 2010 Terrace Standard
The University of Victoria has a feral bunny population it will never reduce so long as it tries to satisfy the whims of every PETA-like group on the North American continent. Animal rights groups have the university tied in knots trying to satisfy their demands that no rabbit be harmed. If chicken and cattle farmers followed PETA’s thinking, fast food restaurants would close.
Comment by Carmina re: "If chicken and cattle farmers followed PETA’s thinking, fast food restaurants would close.” That would be great; healthier people, less animals slaughtered, less impact on the environment, and a more compassionate society. To correct some of the misinformation Ms. Sandecki is presenting, it should be noted that the veterinarian community offered to do sterilizations at minimal cost, UVic officials failed to implement exclusion methods, and the rabbits were for the most part, healthy. Additionally, the number of campus rabbits has been exaggerated. I suggest the writer contemplate some humane and ethical solutions for these creatures, rather than condoning lethal measures. Would she suggest the same for the overpopulated human race?
Roslyn Cassells is a BC based social justice activist and Canada's first elected Green. She is an ardent animal and human rights activist, and writes, teaches and campaigns for positive social, economic and ecological change everywhere.
Note: Contraception techniques for animals are being widely researched and studied. For example, fertility control methods for ungulate species include mechanical contraception, immunocontraception, and synthetic steroid hormones. Australian scientists have found that slow-release deslorelin implants can successfully inhibit reproduction for extended periods in the female eastern grey kangaroos. Dr. Donal Skinner of the University of Wyoming has researched deslorelin use on rodents and has remarked that the injections have been used to control Wyoming’s coyote population.
April 20, 2010: Caring citizens everywhere have contacted UVic officials with humane solutions and offers of help in reducing the rabbit population. There’s no excuse for a mass kill. Society is becoming less accepting of authorities killing innocent animals, when it’s people who are to blame. Surely, an institution of higher learning should be able to figure this out, challenging though it might be.
Long Beach City College is the first known effort to apply feline TNR (trap/neuter/return) principles to a rabbit colony. Best Friends’ bunny outreach specialist, Debby Widolf, has been part of the ‘village’ that is making the undertaking a success. She has provided UVic administration with plenty of material. One can only hope the decision-makers of today will demonstrate compassionate leadership and value for life, rather than archaic and deadly measures of a bygone era. Keep the pressure on – your support is crucial to saving lives!
Form reply on behalf of Tom Smith, Executive Director, Facilities Management, University of Victoria.
Thank you for your recent
correspondence expressing your concern about the future of the feral rabbit
population on the grounds of the University of Victoria campus. We are reviewing
all of the correspondence we have received on this issue and the suggestions,
thoughts, and views will all be taken into consideration when we draft our
long-term rabbit management plan.
The petition and comments by readers to news articles demonstrate a large amount of support for the rabbits, and at the same time frustration with the UVic administration.
- What is required here is the establishment of values. If UVic wants to handle the rabbits ethically, it can be done. If UVic is more interested in 'convenience' then it will adopt lethal strategies which will stain more than the green grass.
- UVic has for years complained about the rabbits, yet has used them to attract faculty and students alike. Heaven forbid the University would actually educate students and residents by finding solutions while making a humane choice.
- This is horrible! If UVic cares so little for such helpless little beings, how little does a human life mean?
- Stop the atrocities!
- Has anyone actually seen a tree or plant harmed by the rabbits? Treewatch asked UVIC Admin but got no response (and has anyone seen any huge muscled soccer players injured by the timid little furbearers? Wouldn't the games played on the sport fields churn up more holes in the wet ground that any rabbit could?)
April 21, 2010 Rally for Rabbits. Activists gathered at the University of Victoria today. They say, the school is killing the rabbits right now, and plans a massive cull in the near future. That's something the University denies. They admit they may kill some of the rabbits, but they're still looking at a long term management plan to try and control the feral rabbit population. There are an estimated 1500 rabbits on campus. The school says the animals cause thousands of dollars in damage - tearing up playing fields and burrowing under buildings.
Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages. Thomas Edison