Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters

 

Stockholm's bunnies burned to keep Swedes warm

October 12, 2009 Online: http://www.thelocal.

The bodies of thousands of rabbits culled every year from the parks in Stockholm’s Kungsholmen neighbourhood are being used to fuel a heating plant in central Sweden. The decision to use Stockholm’s rabbit cadavers as bioenergy to warm Swedes living in Värmland doesn't sit well with Stockholm-based animal rights activists.

“Those who support the culling of rabbits surely think it’s good to use the bodies for a good cause. But it feels like they’re trying to turn the animals into an industry rather than look at the main problem,” Anna Johannesson of Vilda kaniners värn (‘Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits’) told the local Vårt Kungsholmen newspaper.

Every year, the city of Stockholm kills off thousands of rabbits in an effort to protect trees and shrubbery in the city’s extensive network of parks and green space.

According to Tommy Tuvunger with the Stockholm Traffic Office, the agency responsible for controlling the city’s rodent and wild animal population, part of the problem rests with delinquent pet owners who decide to release their rabbits into the city’s parks. “Many of the released rabbits are tame,” he told the newspaper.

Animal control authorities employ a special rifle to shoot the excess rabbits, with most of the culling taking place at dawn when the animals peek out from their holes. The city usually steps up its rabbit hunting efforts in the autumn as leaves begin to fall from bushes and trees, making it easier to see the rabbits.

Tuvunger explained that it doesn’t take many newly released rabbits to do what rabbits are known for doing, much to the detriment of Stockholm’s efforts to control the size of its rabbit population.“People who think that the bunnies are cute and cuddly suddenly don’t think they’re as fun anymore and put the animals outside. They think: ‘there they can play with the other rabbits’,” he said.

Last year marked a new record for Stockholm’s rabbit cull, with nearly 6,000 rabbits, mostly from Kungsholmen, being removed from Stockholm’s parks.

But rather than simply disposing of the dead rabbits, the city instead froze them for eventual transport to a special heating plant in Karlskoga in central Sweden, where the bunny bodies are then burned as a form of bioenergy.

According to Johannesson, Sweden’s animal control authorities aren’t interested in pursuing other options besides killing the rabbits. “We want to see them start looking at other solutions for the rabbits,” she said, citing the Finnish capital of Helsinki, which employs sprays to make park plants unappetizing as well as a network of shelters for various domesticated animals.

“In Helsinki, where they have the same problem, they’ve come much farther,” Johannesson told Vårt Kungsholmen.

A comment to the story: I doubt that it was cost effective.  From the small amount of heat produced by 6000 bunnies take away

1. salary of bunny catches
2. electricity to keep them frozen
3. cost of 500 km round trip to take them to Karlskoga
Net result a thumping big loss!
 

Note: Also, what about the ethical issues? Perhaps we should start reducing the human population.

Scientific American October 14, 2009 reports that about 3,000 have been killed thus far this year, down from 6,000 last year. Bunnies, despite a felicity for breeding, are not quite abundant enough to be a reliable fuel so Stockholm also ships dead cats, cows, deer and horses to the plant for processing, Tuvunger, a professional hunter for the city, told reporters. No word on whether the remains of man’s best friend are also keeping Swedes warm this winter.

Is the world ready for rabbit fuel?  

Edmonton Journal October 18, 2009 

Remember the old Esso ad that hyped us to put a tiger in our tank? Well, in Sweden these days that might be putting a bunny under the bonnet.

Apparently there is a rabbit "epidemic" in urban Sweden that has been laying waste to many city parks, including Stockholm's. In fact, the municipality has hired professional hunters to rid green spaces of the varmints.

What to do with the terminated quadrupeds? Well, never underestimate Scandinavian technology. Konvex, a Danish firm, is converting Bugs and his friends to biofuel. Already, the Swedes are turning slaughterhouse trimmings into biogas that powers taxis, along with Stockholm's departed cats, deer, cows and horses.

As you might imagine, this new frontier of recycling is not without controversy. The Yes Men, an activist group, played a prank on a gathering of oil industry folk. Posing as executives of ExxonMobil, they earnestly extolled the virtues of a supposedly new product called "Vivoleum." The "fuel of the future" would be made from...dead people. (good idea)

That didn't fly, of course, and there is no word on the disposition of pet dogs, stray or otherwise. But somewhere in here is an opportunity for Ed Stelmach, whose flat address to the province last week left many Albertans wondering whether his government had a vision for the future diversification of the provincial economy.

One imagines our own abundance of rabbits must be getting nervous at this potential green fuel of the future--and then there's the obvious opportunity for Gopher Gas: Tory biofuel of the new century.