Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Petcetera's blatant promotion of cute little Easter bunnies
Petcetera, socially and morally irresponsible, year after year. Once again, flaunting cute little baby bunnies for Easter, right on the front page of the current flyer. Mr. Urbani, its President and CEO, claims to be committed to reducing pet populations but his actions prove otherwise. He doesn't deserve your business; please be a voice for the rabbits.
Do something, write a letter to Dan Urbani, the SPCA and your municipal councils. Keep the pressure up until this retailer stops selling rabbits!
More Bunny Debate & Petcetera (see Petcetera's replies)
Rabbit Advocacy wrote to a number of humane societies and media outlets. Our letter of March 4, 2008:
Easter is soon here, and once again Petcetera demonstrates its corporate irresponsibility by flaunting cute little baby bunnies on its current flyer. Mr. Urbani, President and CEO, promised to stop sales in all BC stores by September 1, 2007, but hasn't done so. Stores right across Canada are selling unsterilized rabbits, while communities like Kelowna, Vernon, Victoria, Richmond, Calgary, and Canmore are overrun with cast-off pet bunnies. Rescue groups are beyond capacity and still others are being killed by larger organizations, like the SPCA, because of lack of space.
As part of our campaign to end the impulse buy and save lives we are running PSAs in the Vancouver Province, the North Shore Outlook, and the Agassiz-Harrison Observer.
Please support the efforts of the Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC.
Alerting the media to the flyer paid off. Yvonne Savard, Programs and Services Manager for Petcetera was on the defensive. Following is an excerpt from the story with our comments in blue:
Bunnies can end up abandoned
The rabbits advertised in the flyer, said Savard, were likely for sale in Petcetera outlets in the Interior of B.C., or Ontario. Petcetera sells baby bunnies from breeders in its stores across Canada, not just in BC’s Interior and Ontario, as Ms. Savard implies.
As for the picture of the rabbit with the Easter eggs, she said, "It's Easter, and bunnies and Easter, chocolate rabbits... It's just a picture. It's not promoting bunny sales. We didn't bring in extra bunnies." She added, "The animals that are listed are always in the flyer; it's not just because it's Easter."
The Petcetera flyer prompted the Lower Mainland based Rabbit Advocacy Group of B.C. to mount its own advertising campaign, urging parents not to buy their kids a rabbit at Easter.
"Every Easter, cute little baby bunnies appear in pet stores, exploited as perfect gifts for children," the ad states. "They are not gifts -- they are unplanned commitments ... Sadly, most 'Easter bunnies' end up unwanted, neglected or abandoned when the novelty wears off."
People may tire of rabbits because they spray urine (marking territory, just as dogs and cats do) or chew through electrical cords.
If you go for a walk through Minoru Park, it probably won't take long before you see a rabbit or two or 10 hopping through the grass. Rabbits abandoned in parks or elsewhere outdoors either die of starvation or fall victim to predators. Those that do survive breed -- as frequently as a litter of four to six kits each month.
The ads from the Rabbit Advocacy Group of B.C. urge parents to give their kids a chocolate or plush toy bunny for Easter, instead.
Reacting to the ad campaign, Savard said, "They have rabbits as pets. What gives them the right to say you can't own one if you want one?" The rabbits in our sanctuary were abandoned outdoors, rescued from organizations like the SPCA (a business partner of Petcetera’s) where they were under threat of being killed, or bought on impulse from Petcetera stores and no longer wanted by the “owners.”
Savard added, "[Rabbits] do make wonderful pets. "There wouldn't be a rabbit advocacy group if they weren't great pets." Our group does not advocate rabbits as pets, but focuses on ethical issues, education, changing legislation, and taking action to end the exploitation of rabbits by the industries (like the pet business) that live off the backs of not only rabbits, but all other creatures.
Dan Urbani, President and CEO of Petcetera, was not available for comment.
Update: Yvonne Savard left the company late this year. Petcetera filed for bankruptcy protection in March, 2009.