Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


A recipe to stir controversy: kill and cook UVic's rabbits 

March 12, 2009 By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist

A description in a university newsletter of how to kill, clean and cook the rabbits running wild on the University of Victoria's grounds has animal rights groups hopping mad.

The article -- "Cook up a pot of Rabbit Restoration Stew" -- appeared in Essence, a newsletter put out by environmental studies students.

"Kill a nice fat UVic rabbit," writes Abe Lloyd, a graduate student, who told the Times Colonist he eats about one UVic bunny a month. "Bait it in, pin it to the ground, grab it by its hind legs and whack the back of its head hard against the ground, killing it instantly." Be discreet, however, he warns, since "some people don't enjoy the sight of a dead rabbit."

The possibility students might follow the advice horrifies Erika Paul, a B.C. SPCA animal protection officer who wants the university to immediately tell students that killing or hurting the rabbits is illegal and inhumane. "They could be looking at charges under the Criminal Code or under the B.C. SPCA Act for causing unnecessary pain and suffering," she said. "It's outrageous."

Bashing a bunny's head on the ground is not an SPCA-approved way to kill rabbits, Paul said. "What if they saw someone doing that to a dog or a fawn?"

Paul argues trapping, spaying or neutering the animals before sending them to a new home is the only SPCA-approved way for UVic to address its bunny problems. Carol Broad of Victoria Adoptables called the article "incredibly tasteless," adding a local veterinarian has offered to help with spaying and neutering.

But Lloyd, who is interested in wild edibles, said his solution is environmentally friendly. "From the environmental point of view, it's local and organic and no fossil fuels have been used in preparing the meat," he said in an interview. "And from the campus management point of view I think it's preferable because they are causing a lot of damage."

Essence editor Heike Lettrari, a third-year student, emphasized the article is tongue-in-cheek, adding the aim is to provoke discussion on how to deal with the campus's large population of rabbits. Most of the rabbits are descendants of pets dumped at UVic.

"It is super-important to us to get people to critically think about these issues, so we are really excited about the response we have had," Lettrari said. "Maybe we will get a solution to the rabbit problem on campus."

UVic spokeswoman Patty Pitts said the university has an ongoing campaign telling people not to abandon rabbits and not to feed, pet or harass the bunnies. It's not known how many rabbits live on campus, but they cause problems with landscaping and on sports fields, she said.

You can find a copy of the article, "Cook up a pot of Rabbit Restoration Stew" on page 3 at the ESSA website at: http://web.uvic.ca/~essa/?page_id=161 

Some comments to the article:  

Michelle Absolutely disgusting. If I ever see someone on Campus "grab a bunny by it's hind legs and bash it's head off the ground" I will be sure to do the same to them. The woman who wrote that article should be ashamed, and let's hope she is never, ever allowed to own another living creature in her life.  

March 12, 2009, 5:07 PM 

Terry It's time we stop having tax dollars squandered on senseless social programs to help people.  It would be more cost effective to have a humane cull to reduce our population. We can't keep breeding, unchecked.

March 12, 2009, 4:27 PM  

Blue Typical "professional student" thinking, with their pie-in-the-sky attitude. They haven't even been out in the "real world" yet and they think they can cure a problem that's been around for years with one little obnoxious article in their silly little paper that no one reads. Rabbit owners should gather up all the copies of "Essence" and use them to line the bottom of the bunnies cages, because that's where their silly paper will do the most good. Humanely trapping the rabbits, neutering and spaying them, then re-releasing them out in the wild is the best way to go. If I ever caught anyone bashing a rabbits head in; I don't think I could be responsible for what I might do to them. Maybe I could bash their head against a rock, so they could see what it feels like.  

March 12, 2009,1:25 PM  

Dave Shishkoff I don't get it: Abe Lloyd admits publicly that he kills UVic rabbits. The BC SPCA states this is illegal. Why is Lloyd not being charged?? 

March 12, 2009,12:59 PM  

stir I'm certain that UVIC has spent countless budget dollars on useless committees to 'discuss' this problem which they have allowed to get totally out of control. Why don't they get organized and put some of this money up front into humane rescue, spay/neuter and rehoming solutions, which appear to have many willing volunteers at the ready and a lot of public support, rather than pay salaried workers to try to clean up after the fact. Come on UVIC, get pro-active and prove to the community that a university can provide practical humane solutions to current day problems. You could look like heroes or fools - at this point in time you look rather like the latter. And as for grad student Abe, don't they say all serial killers start out torturing small animals...

March 12, 2009,12:55 PM  

mrs b I agree with the editor that the article is meant to be tongue-in-cheek to promote discussion on the issue of wild rabbits on campus . Jonathan Swift did the same thing when he wrote an essay during the Irish potato famine encouraging the Irish to bake their children. I learned that in an English class at U-Vic. The students are just doing the same thing.  

March 12, 2009,12:41 PM  

Carmina UVic already has a bad reputation with rabbit cruelty on campus, and now there's more bad press. Hunting down defenceless animals is a cowardly act, and totally lacking in compassion. These rabbits have a right to enjoy life, just like we expect. There are non-lethal methods of control and no shortage of people who are willing to help save the rabbits. Also, there's no excuse to eat meat, and if you're talking about damage, look to the out-of-control human population destroying the planet. 

March 12, 2009,  12:18 PM  

Rose So where does it end, Rabbits, Quail, Deer?? This is WRONG. Period. Shame on UVic. This article was irresponsible from the get go.  

March 12, 2009,12:10 PM

Note:  We chose not to print any of the usual drivel on cooking up a tasty rabbit stew, feeding the homeless, and there being more important issues etc.  

Isn't human nature the most consummate sham & lie that was ever invented? Isn't man a creature to be ashamed of in pretty much all is aspects? Is he really fit for anything but to be stood up on the street corner as a convenience for dogs? Man, "Know thyself--& then thou wilt despise thyself, to a dead moral certainty.
- Letter from Mark Twain to William Dean Howells, August 31, 1884   

Rabbit Advocacy’s letter 

From: Carmina Gooch,
Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC
To: University of Victoria
Cc: Victoria Times Colonist, SPCA
Date: March 10, 2009

Subject:  UVic ESSA encourages illegal hunt of campus rabbits 

Dear Sirs/Mesdames, 

The Rabbit Advocacy Group was recently made aware of an online article by the UVic Environmental Studies Student Association, in which it is suggested to readers that they start murdering campus rabbits.  Not only is this illegal, it demonstrates a callous disregard for the rabbits' welfare, who through no fault of their own, make their home on campus grounds.  In past years there have been several very public incidents in which rabbits were the victims of cruelty.  I'm sure you remember the 2004 occurrence of a drunken student severely punching a pregnant rabbit who subsequently died, and in the same year a young couple using a bow and arrow and a slingshot to shoot the bunnies.  The rabbits all suffered before dying. 

Five years later, when animal rights and an ethical movement is in full swing, you have students who think it appropriate to print such trash?  Who endorsed this?  It certainly doesn't speak well for the University's reputation. 

What has happened with the Domestic Rabbit Review Team that was established to assess the population and work toward non-lethal means of controlling the numbers?  We've received information that no baby rabbits have been seen for several months, and that there has been a drastic decline in adult rabbits, particularly around University House 2 and the student residences.  Speculation is that the University has quietly carried out a "cull." Can you confirm? 

We look forward to a timely response and in the meantime hope no rabbit hunts are taking place. 


Carmina Gooch, President
Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC
North Vancouver  
ESSENCE Online, March, 2009 (excerpt)

By: Abe Lloyd 

Did you know that the rabbits on campus are cute and tasty? This recipe is called Rabbit Restoration Stew because these bunnies are destroying the native landscape on campus.  By eating the bunnies, not only are you helping restoration efforts on campus but you are also decreasing your dependence on industrial meats, which demand energy-intensive production.  Note: Please be discreet in your rabbit-hunting as some people don't enjoy the sight of a dead rabbit. (recipe omitted)

Comment:  The likelihood of Abe Lloyd being charged with any offence is pretty well nil.  The RCMP and the BC SPCA are aware of his comments.  Unfortunately, one can't dictate ethical behaviour, and no matter the academic intelligence of a person, character is a separate issue.  Legislation under the B.C. Wildlife Act offers little or no protection for Class C animals, under which the European/domestic rabbit is categorized.  The Criminal Code of Canada regarding animal cruelty is weak, with a number of conditions and clauses attached to it, as is the B.C. "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" Act.  It is "illegal to hunt, take, trap, wound, or kill rabbits in a manner prohibited by law" on private land, unless permission is given, but the University is unlikely to pursue any action, either.  It's a sad commentary on our society that the most vulnerable are left without adequate safeguards to protect them, and that we, as a species, are such despots.

Note: We've been told that Abe Lloyd is a teaching assistant.

March 23rd response from UVic to our e-mail: Please be assured that the university does not condone the behavior as described by the student in the article you refer to in your note below and does not tolerate the inhumane treatment of animals.  Should anyone be observed inappropriately treating a rabbit, or any other animal on campus, they are reported to our local police who have the jurisdiction to handle such incidents. 

The UVic Environmental Studies Student Association publishes the paper under their own volition and funding.  As such, the University does not, nor could, vet the paper before publication. 

The university has done nothing that would cause there to be a decline in the number of rabbits on campus.

Sterilization for UVic rabbits

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