Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Easter Is Time To Reconsider The Rabbit

The Vancouver Sun By: Nicholas Read - March 30, 1999

Why do we find ourselves once and for all whether rabbits are food or companions?

Surely at this time of year more than any other, we can spare a thought for the rabbit. A traditional Easter symbol because of its fecundity, our feelings about rabbits are far more complex and contradictory than they are about almost any other so-called domestic animal.

Yes, complex. Think about it. Polite society has no firm place for rabbits, the way it has for dogs and cats on one end of the spectrum, and cows and pigs on the other. They don't neatly fit anywhere.

Dogs and cats, western mores dictate, belong curled up on cushions or in front of fireplaces with doting humans catering to their every spoiled whim. Yes, we use them in grisly medical experiments,, and we destroy millions of them in shelters, but society disapproves of that. We prefer not to know about the experiments so science, with the convenient connivance of government, keeps them secret. The shelter deaths are regarded as tragic wastes.

Cows and pigs, while every bit as individual as dogs and cats, and certainly every bit as capable of suffering, are the stuff of dinner. They are reared under the worst of conditions with almost no regard paid their basic physiological needs, and their only reprieve is death in an abattoir, hung up by their hind legs with their throats cut.

Rabbits, however, "belong" in neither camp and in both. Society would just as soon cuddle a "Bunny" with one hand as it would kill a hare with the other. It's a dichotomy illustrated best in Michael Moore's documentary film, Roger and Me. A woman hard up for cash has rabbits to sell. "pets or meat," she advertises. Let the buyer choose.

But we don't--or can't. At the same time rabbits are cherished like friends in such stories as Watership Down and Peter Rabbit, they are hunted like vermin everywhere wild populations live. We'd scream bloody murder if we saw a puppy hung up in a butcher shop, but a rabbit carcass, though offensive to some eyes, is acceptable.

Cross the road and you wouldn't be hard-pressed to find live rabbits (admittedly of a slightly different variety) for sale next to the kittens. In animal shelters too.

Pets or meat? We refuse to decide.

Yet for reasons that are unclear to me, we have decided about other domestic animals. Dogs are pets; cows are meat. Cats are companions; pigs are pork. Why? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in our relationship with the rabbit, so cute and cuddly to some members of society, and such a prolific pest to others.

It's not unlike the dilemma presented to children introduced to a world of animals by their parents. "Nice kitty," they're instructed, "don't pull the puppy's tail." "But finish your hamburger or there'll be no TV tonight." What sense can that make to them or anyone else? Why do some of our fellow creatures deserve kindness and respect when the best others can hope for is a sharp blade and a chopping block?

Somewhere the bunny is the bridge. Loved by some, despised by others, worthy of a thought by everyone. They prove that there are no absolutes, just a continuum beginning with humans and ending...how can anyone presume to say?

Comment: We've all heard the line from George Orwell's Animal Farm: "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." The true moral test of the human species consists of its attitude to those who are truly at its mercy - the animals.  Our power and dominance over all creatures and the Earth has been one of a cruel and arrogant tyrant. Can we change? Do we have the will to do so? I know that I will persevere in the fight for justice and a more ethical and compassionate world for the oppressed and voiceless.  

From RabbitWise Inc: I should be the poster child for animal rights. I am slaughtered for my fur. I am slaughtered for my meat. I am factory farmed in rabbit mills. I am tortured by vivisectors in their ‘labs.’ I am the third most commonly ‘euthanized’ companion animal. I am hunted and snared. I am the object of blood sports. I am often cruelly abused. I am given as a live animal prize. I languish in pet stores. Why aren’t I?”

Swedes flock to rent rabbits over summer  

May 27, 2014 The Local: Renting an animal over the summer is becoming all the more popular in Sweden, with kids favouring rabbits…

Comment: Animals are not commodities to be rented out like a bicycle or any other ‘thing.’ They are sentient beings whose lives matter to them. What happens if the rabbit is mistreated, becomes ill, or dies while being exploited in such a manner? Who pays the price?  

Contrary to how this program is being marketed, it is not in the best interests of the rabbit. Make no mistake, this is a money-making scheme, and does not promote adoptions. It merely bolsters the antiquated position of animals as property to be used in any manner benefitting the dominant human species. Our thought and relationship with other species must evolve if there’s to be any moral progress of society.

December 27, 2014 Say 'no' to rabbit cafes

Comment: The Rabbit Advocacy Group is in agreement with the HRS, in NOT supporting rabbit cafes, or any other exploitation of these vulnerable, sensitive creatures. For one, animals are still regarded as property under the law, and the fallout of their possession, including abuse, neglect, and abandonment, is colossal.

Any welfare/advocacy/rights group knows that the pet industry is full of suffering, and would not encourage or promote yet another business whose goal is to profit off their backs. It’s extremely discouraging that some in the field actually try to justify these schemes, but then again, they are motivated not by care or compassion, but by their own self-serving agenda. There will be no moral advancement of society unless attitudes radically evolve.

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Read more: How is the BC SPCA faring?; some letters; Bill 24 - new changes to PCA Act; FIRB; Ontario revises