Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Sick rabbits seized; Investigators believe they were to be sold for Easter

March 11, 2008 WSLS News

Botetourt County prosecutors believe a county farmer was planning to sell dozens of sick rabbits as Easter bunnies at Happy’s Flea Market in Roanoke.

Botetourt County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jill Deegan tells us 53 rabbits were seized from a farm, and the rabbits keep having babies. Deegan says all of the adult rabbits have sarcoptic mange, which is a skin disease caused by a mite.  The skin condition can be transmitted to humans.
Deegan says several veterinarians helped in the four week investigation.  It started when neighbors called animal control about domestic rabbits in their yards.  Animal control officers realized the animals were sick, and seized them.  That led the officers to investigate the farm. The farmer’s name is not being released, nor is the name or specific location of the farm. The investigation is ongoing.  No charges have been filed. The rabbits are at the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection in Roanoke. Deegan says the rescue group Angels of Assisi will later take the animals to a sanctuary. 

Note:  The farmer has been convicted of animal cruelty twice before in dealing with horses.  


Comment: Rabbit mills, backyard breeders, pet stores, farmers, and anyone else trying to make a few bucks by advertising cute little baby bunnies in time for Easter - well, they’re everywhere.  These people don't care who they sell to - the bottom line is to typically encourage an impulse buy.  

Now that Craigslist is widely used for buying and selling, breeders also post pets for sale, even though the forum prohibits this.  They try to get around it by using "adoption fee", and because rabbits don't command a high price like puppies, it's easier to get away with.  As Easter approaches, we have seen an increase in the frequency of rabbit postings.  Don't be fooled, don't fall for their lines.  Contact your local humane society, shelter, or rescue group, if you are considering bringing a bunny into your household.

Rabbit gets face transplant; Amami rabbit being cloned; pet shop has 2-nosed bunny; pet industry players

Annual Easter Bunny Kill seen as Fun    

Comment: While a small number of rabbits are held in esteem, the majority of people are indifferent or downright hostile and cruel toward these creatures, regarding them as nuisances to be eradicated. Others see them useful only as in providing a living, with the bottom line always being the motivating factor. Government agencies, politicians, and animal welfare organizations, like the SPCA, have failed to provide leadership and programs to help in changing public perceptions toward animals. Easter’s here again and so is New Zealand’s annual rabbit slaughter. Thousands of feral rabbits will be shot to death. Media continues to make light of the event, referring to the creatures as pests, as if that somehow justifies the killing spree. Bunny burgers and sausage are all part of the ‘fun’ – a fine example for the kids. And we wonder why there’s no peace and compassion in the world.

In 2010, ‘hunters’ managed to shoot 24,368 sentient creatures, regarded by team participants and government as  pests - including 23,064 rabbits, 1152 hares and 54 possums - in the 19th annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt held in Central Otago's farm region. 

23,000 Easter bunnies shot in New Zealand

April 24, 2011 NewsCore

The shooting of more than 23,000 rabbits in New Zealand during a charity hunting event held over the Easter vacation weekend has drawn fire from animal welfare campaigners.

While organisers of the annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt, held across the southern region of New Zealand's South Island, argued the event was ridding farmland of an introduced, rampant pest species, welfare group Safe saw things differently, the Sunday Star-Times reported.

Safe director Hans Kriek said the event promoted the killing of animals in a "party atmosphere." "It's seen as a party atmosphere, sending people out as inexperienced hunters blasting away at animals," he said. "The ones they kill are one thing, the ones they injure are another."

Hunt spokesman Dave Ramsay said the rabbit problem was at its worst in the region for 20 years, and the annual event raised thousands for local charities.

In total 47 teams - with 12 shooters each - from all over New Zealand took part, Mr Ramsay told The Otago Daily Times. Although the event only carries total prize money of NZ$3500 (A$2600), the most sought-after prize was the trophy for the team which shoots the greatest number of rabbits, he said.  

Huffington Post Poll 04/25/11asked: How do you feel about the Great Easter Bunny Hunt? 

Useful & Necessary 28.7%
Cruel & Barbaric 57.49%
I'm Not Sure 13.8% 

March 31, 2013 For over two decades the Great Easter Bunny ‘Hunt’ has taken place in Central Otago, New Zealand. A despicable and cruel event, to be sure, held on a Christian holiday. Whatever happened to the teachings of love, mercy, and compassion? Organizers justify it as a way to improve the lives of humans, with this year’s proceeds going towards the purchase of a new CT scanner for the Dustan Hospital.  

A total of 432 shooters took part in the 22nd staging of the 24-hour event, with 18,027 bunnies eradicated on area farms. The Boy Scouts are commissioned by the Lions to pick up all the dead rabbit carcasses scattered in Pioneer Park in Alexandra and dispose of them in a purpose-dug pit.

“Last year, luck was considered to be on the rabbits’ side with 10,400 rabbits killed.” (Source: www.stuff.co.nz. 13/04/01)

March 26, 2016 Once again, Otago, New Zealand, held its traditional mass murder of wild rabbits, dubbed the Great Easter Bunny Hunt. A Christian holiday celebrated by destroying life is truly repulsive. What about peace and humanity?   

Hunt convener Dave Ramsay said the event did not make a significant impact on the overall rabbit population, but it was about fun and education. "The hunters learn that they need to keep going out shooting to keep them under control." This is the sick mentality of many human beings.  

This year, shooters massacred a total of 9680 rabbits, up on last year's haul of 8439. The Alexandra Lions Club runs the event. A total of 297,359 rabbits have been killed over the event's 25-year history.

Related News: In 2009, the dead rabbit toss was cancelled in rural Waiau, NZ, but in 2010 the possum toss went ahead at Colyton School. The primary school ran a possum-trapping contest  with teams of local hunters killing almost 1000 of the pests. Most were taken to a local fur trader to raise money for the school. A considerable outcry ensued about that, with calls for the Principal, Colin Martin, to be fired, while he fired back saying: "Our kids are taught by the SPCA and the Department of Conservation that these animals are pests and quite destructive ... That's how the country kids look at it.” "There's certainly a big difference between a cat and a possum, and our kids know the difference."  Mr. Martin added that some of the money raised would also benefit various charities including the SPCA.

Culling, which is the mass killing of animals considered to be pests with the aim of reducing their numbers or completely eradicating them, is not merely cruel and unpopular and likely to be met with fierce resistance from the public, but also ineffective in the long run. Time to change the course! 

No pity, no humanity, no kindness.

"There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is." Isaac Bashevis Singer

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