Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


It’s official: UVic moves to rabbit-free campus

January 20, 2011 It’s official: UVic moves to rabbit-free campus. Tom Smith, director of facilities management, says 823 rabbits have been removed from campus through permits granted by the Province of BC, and about 50 remain. They are slated to go to Coombs. Just over 100 were killed last May, prompting public outrage and legal action. A temporary injunction from the BC Supreme Court gave time for applications to be processed. These permits to remove rabbits expire as of March 31, 2011 and, with the support of the permit-holders, UVic plans to remove all the remaining rabbits from campus by the end of February.

Rabbits have been relocated to sanctuaries around the province and to the United States, notably the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in Texas. The roughly 55 rabbits temporarily housed at the PNE are expected to go to Precious Life Animal Sanctuary in Washington.

Although the University estimated the rabbit population at 1,400 to 1,600 last summer, it was reduced more quickly than anticipated through increased predation by birds of prey on the significantly reduced remaining population, the decreased seasonal reproduction rate, human-caused mortality like traffic deaths, and the success of the rabbit removal program. Members of the public also carted off rabbits a number of rabbits.

It is hoped that by implementing a no-rabbit rule, pet ‘owners’ and others will be discouraged from dumping their unwanted furry four-legged companion.

Please support our efforts to ban sales of rabbits in pet stores and other public venues. While rabbits and many other creatures are sold via the Internet, newspapers, auctions, or from people’s home, pet stores cater to impulse buyers. All animals deserve our respect and kindness, and the pet industry has a responsibility to both the animal and consumer. Rabbits are not starter pets for kids, nor are they disposable. 

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, which begins on February 3 and ends on January 22, 2012. Let’s make it a good one!

Update: With UVic’s announced that any rabbits found on campus will face the death penalty, we are looking at suitable alternatives. Also, the staff recommendation to Victoria City Council to NOT ban sales of rabbits in pet stores, drew considerable condemnation. Councillor Thornton-Joe said they have to be careful not to penalize one group when other groups are also causing the problem. The City received numerous calls and letters from individuals and groups like ours pointing out the obvious, link between impulse buying and pet dumping. The pet industry and those who profit from the exploitation of animals should not take precedence over animal protection and community interests. Rabbits are complex animals with very specific needs.

Over in China, the Shanghai Daily reports that dead rabbits are showing up in Chinese mailboxes as pets ordered for the Year of the Rabbit aren’t surviving the shipping process, which can take up to five days. Many have suffocated or frozen to death in the small boxes in which they are sent.

One online search showed more than 600 vendors selling live rabbits on e-commerce platforms. Listed as hot “items” and with packages are often labelled "Fragile: Glass" in a bid to avoid security checks, it’s little wonder that these poor animals end up dead. Chinese law bans the transport of living animals without a certificate of quarantine.

Add your voice to those taking action on behalf of rabbits and all creatures, everywhere. More info on the UVic rabbits and Rabbitats Canada: www.rabbitrescue.com

Please sign the petition to prevent bunny killings at UVic after March 1st: 

January 30, 2011 We had a great turnout for today’s information and drop-in event at the PNE. There was good media coverage from The Province, CBC News, the Xinhua News Agency, and others. Many people stopped by with all kinds of donations for the rabbits, while others bought assorted items, and picked up information leaflets on how to help make a difference in the lives of these precious creatures. CBC News report. CNC World.

The Province report Colonize, don’t cull bunnies: Group brought attention to rabbitats, a concept designed to help communities address populations of abandoned domestic rabbits in a humane manner. The secure shelters, to be located on private or public land, could house between six and 60 rabbits. With the number of feral colonies in BC alone, this is an idea worth exploring.  Rabbitats for Humanity was founded by Quan Myers of Maine and is the model for Rabbitats Canada.   

Canadian animal activists win fight to save rabbits 2011-01-31 by Al Campbell of the Xinhua News Agency was well received. This is the largest news agency in China, so not only here but abroad, people are hearing about the rabbits.

Carmina Gooch, president and founder of the Rabbit Advocacy Group of British Columbia, estimated about 50 rabbits still remained at the University of Victoria campus, and eventually they would also be removed.

Admitting that there was "no easy solution" to the situation, Gooch said the university knew years ago the rabbit population was climbing and failed to react to the situation. She argued the City of Victoria did not help the situation in not banning the sale of domestic rabbits or in introducing rules related to the domestic breeding of the animals.

"I had even written [university] officials, and I know other people did too, asking what are they going to do about the rabbits? People, again in general, they leave things until it's too late. Or when it is really necessary to take action they decide lethal action, thinking it's quick and efficient, whereas it's not," Gooch said.

"People are still going to dump rabbits regardless, because that's what they do. Unless you change peoples' behavior and get them to value the animals and things, it's not going to get better. But the university's attitude that lethal control is acceptable nowadays; that's wrong. It's morally wrong. We've got to look for alternatives. We're taking away the environment and habitat of so many species."

February 3, 2010 At UVic, it's the year of no rabbits writes Craig Mcinnes of the Vancouver Sun. There are only a small number remaining, with one lone black rabbit outside the administration building, wondering what’s happened to all his buddies. Rabbits found on campus after the end of February will be shown no mercy. Tom Smith, speaking for the University  said they will be killed, no exceptions.

Smith is confident that the last remaining rabbit will be trapped and put out to pasture by the end of the month. That's when the permits expire that allow them trapped and kept alive in captivity and the message from the province is they won't be renewed, he says.

The message Smith wants to get out now is that any pet bunnies abandoned on the grounds after that date will be killed. "Many lessons have been learned," says Smith. Including one of the oldest, which is that the best time to solve a problem is before it starts.

February 8, 2011 Tomorrow, at 3 pm the UVic Friends of Animals Club is holding a Freedom March around Ring Road in a demonstration to support the continued presence of  rabbits on campus.

The Year of the Rabbit has officially begun and in order for it to be a good one, we need your support in letting politicians know their lives matter. The BC SPCA and the Ministry of Environment are still of the mindset that these animals are somehow undeserving of their time and attention.  Now is the time to contact them. There has been a global outcry over the recent revelation that 100 Whistler sled dogs were massacred post-Olympics 2010 and with the NDP and Liberals both in the midst of leadership races, we may finally get their attention.

Animal cruelty is a summary offence that comes with a small fine ($5,000 maximum  - and that's total, not per abuse, according to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture) and a maximum of six months in jail. Under the Criminal Code of Canada in a shocking 99.075 per cent of these cases, the perpetrators walk free due to significant flaws in outdated legislation. No wonder- animals are still regarded as property and wilful intent must be proven to secure a conviction.

While there was a huge public outcry over the repeated stomping and final end to a rabbit’s life in October, 2008: Cruelty charges will not be laid against a pest exterminator (EBB) alleged to have stomped on the head of a rabbit that had been shot with a pellet gun. Kelowna had hired this outfit to eradicate its rabbit population, pets and their offspring abandoned by owners to the outdoors.  

A woman who claimed to have witnessed the act told CBC she saw the exterminator walk over to the shot rabbit that was "flopping around on the grass," and stomp on its head several times.

But Const. Steve Holmes of the Kelowna RCMP said the police investigation found that the person had not intended to cause the animal undue or prolonged pain and was "engaged in a lawful purpose in dispatching the rabbit."

Rabbits are regarded as alien invasive species under the Wildlife Act of BC and are granted no protection.

The BC SPCA and Ministry of Environment (among other  BC government officials) were made aware of a video in which two dogs can be seen mauling a stray rabbit to death at the Cadboro Bay Sailing Club, yet we haven’t heard back as to whether any action was taken against the sailing association or the person allegedly hired to rid the private property of wayward rabbits. The rabbits are more than likely those that came from the University of Victoria. 

Rabbits, and all creatures are valued members of society. Contact rabbitadbc@shaw.ca for further information.

RAG BC PSA: Who’s protecting our animals?

"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace." Dr. Albert Schweitzer

February 14, 2011 Whitehouse, Texas is proposing an ordinance that only allows for four animals per household and this could affect the future of the UVic rabbits. From KLTV: The rule was drafted in part after several complaints were filed against a Smith County animal rescue.

Hundreds of rabbits are the latest addition to the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch. "They traveled over 2,400 miles to come here," said Bob Lenham, owner of the 43-acre rescue operation. Lenham fears he may have to give up the 200 rabbits he just rescued from Canada if the proposed ordinance passes Friday night. "We feel we've been targeted," he said.

A number of residents spoke out about some council members' haste to pass the ordinance now and revise later, saying "it's overreaching," "over regulating" and systematically taking away their freedoms. Residents asked the city council to form a citizen-based committee to come up with a solution for a pet ordinance that they said would better fit the agriculture roots of the city. Along with limiting the number of pets per household, the proposed ordinance also addresses enclosures for pets, animal waste and impoundment.

After three hours of discussion and debate, City Council members tabled the proposed ordinance. Laura-Leah Shaw of Vancouver, who spearheaded the effort to safely relocate the rabbits to the ranch said she hopes the city will rethink the ordinance and the impact it could have on the refuge and the missed opportunities for jobs, eco-tourism and education from the animals at Wild Rose. She further added that all bylaws were checked before the rabbits headed to Texas and, as far as residents are concerned, properties in that area are zoned agricultural.

City Council will further discuss the proposal at the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 22. Please take the time to write Mayor and Council.  The proposed ordinance does not address core issues such as backyard breeding operations, pet abandonment, and unsterilized animals, which are real problems caused by irresponsible and thoughtless people.  Contact info: Whitehouse City council: http://www.whitehousetx.org/cc.php  Wild Rose Rescue Ranch email: lenhamw@aol.com

If the ordinance passes, Georganne and Bob Lenham, will be given up to 45 days to relocate the 230 or so rabbits. In addition to the rabbits, there are a dozen horses and 30 dogs.

However, Lenham says this is just small-town vindictiveness and that it is against the constitutions of Texas and the U.S to pass laws retroactively. Also, there is confidence that right-to-farm legislation - especially when applied to a 19-hectare property that always has been used as a ranch - will trump a municipal ordinance.  

February 23, 2011 The vote for the new ordinance limiting the number of pets to four per household was passed unanimously last night, although the usual small town politics was at play. Effective date to be declared. The assistant city manager suggested that the rabbits at Wild Rose are safe under the new regulations.  

From the Tri County Leader 2011-02-24

Whitehouse City Council Members did pass the revised animal ordinance that does limit a household to no more than four dogs or cats or a combination of the two. A resident, however, may continue to keep more than four as long as their animals are not a nuisance to neighbors or the community.

Councillor Parker said the focus of the animal control ordinance was to provide guidelines and security for the community, especially regarding dogs freely running about.

Council Members considered different numbers or leaving the number allowed in a given household up to the discretion of the animal control officer on a case-by-case basis and based on complaints by neighbors or the community. Steven Evans, the city’s attorney, said subjective numbers are not enforceable, citing speed limits as an example. “Objective standards are superior for enforcement,” Evans said. “It provides consistency.”

March 1, 2011 Media sources report that UVic is almost bunny-free. Nearly 900 rabbits have been relocated to sanctuaries, most of which are residing in Coombs.  Eight have eluded capture, with four in one group and four singles still running about. There has been some tampering with traps, so officials aren’t saying where the rabbits are. They will go to Coombs if caught, and any new ones found on campus will be “humanely killed.”  The government  permits to remove rabbits expire as of March 31, 2011.

These rabbits’ lives were spared because of intense public opposition to UVic’s plan to kill them all. When each and every one of us begin to change our ideas about animals, we can change the world for them.

Philosophers have led the way in helping us think differently. Academics should now stand up and contribute to furthering ethical attitudes toward animals. Discussion could include bringing awareness to differences in moral status between humans and animals. Government, the veterinarian community, (although the AVMA revised its oath in 2010) and organizations like the SPCA have NOT been initiators in developing policies and legislation that safeguard and improve the moral status of animals.  Let’s come together and raise the bar for ALL species.

March 28, 2011 The grounds of UVic are officially rabbit-free says Tom Smith, director of facilities management. Trappers spent the weekend scouring campus looking for – what they thought – were four remaining rabbits. It’s speculated that hawks picked them off, as none were spotted. Any new rabbits found on campus will be trapped by grounds crew and then “euthanized humanely” by a professional trapper permitted to handle wildlife.

BC municipalities have been pressed to revise animal bylaws to deal with our changing times. Saanich is among the municipalities considering new animal bylaws.  Recommendations regarding rabbits:  

- Prohibit the feeding of rabbits in parks or public places
- Prohibit the sale or adoption of rabbits that have not been spayed or neutered
- Prohibit uncontained feral or pet rabbits on private property
- Prohibit the abandonment of rabbits on private or public property

If approved by Council, regulations will be in effect by May1st. The public is becoming more vocal in speaking out on behalf of rabbits and all species, recognizing that they have rights, too.

April 9, 2011 The UVic bunnies staying at the PNE for the last few months are soon heading to their new home at Precious Life Animal Sanctuary in Sequim. Volunteers have done a tremendous job in providing day-to-day care, while others have contributed in so many ways to make this a truly collaborative effort.  A fundraiser and good-bye will be held on Saturday, the 16th at Tisol. (flyer)

April 20, 2011 It was a busy morning preparing the fifty rabbits for their journey south. Ralph Turner, Precious Life Animal Sanctuary founder, and his friend Pete, helped load the bunnies safely and securely in the truck after we rounded them up. The PNE had been their home for four months, and so it was sad to see them go. We know they’re going to enjoy their new home and are already making plans to visit.

May 2012 A number of volunteers who helped with the UVic rescue and relocation of hundreds of rabbits to sanctuaries continue to work on their behalf. These individuals are also part of a larger group working together for animals everywhere. There have been several recent fundraisers that saw funds directed to the sanctuaries in Texas and Washington to assist with the ongoing care and feed costs for the bunnies.

We haven’t heard much about the Coombs sanctuary rabbits, other than that the numbers are down considerably. A quick stop earlier this month indicated that this certainly appears to be the case, but we have been unable to get any information from the sanctuary operator.  

We did see domestic rabbits along the highway and on nearby streets. We didn’t see Eastern Cottontails. Both species have been part of Coombs for decades, with considerable fluctuations in population. One resident said about 15 years ago they were everywhere, and that five years ago there were noticeably fewer.

June 26, 2012 update: We have been contacted by individuals concerned about the report of the dropping rabbit population at the Coombs sanctuary. We are unable to say by what percentage but it is noticeable. We have not heard back from our source/s and Ms Vickery won’t comment. Improvements made to the sanctuary last fall have made it more secure and former volunteers are no longer permitted access.  

June 30, 2012 Evidently 2011 was a bad year for the Coombs rabbits. Many became ill and passed away.

July 15, 2012 The rabbits from UVic are enjoying the good life at Precious Life Sanctuary.

July 21, 2012 Gone from UVic, rescued rabbits lose financial support

July 29, 2012 We enjoyed a lovely afternoon at Precious Life, visiting the UVic rabbits and other rescued animals such as the wild turkeys, dogs, and burros. We also went to the co-op to pick up feed and once there our hosts directed our attention to the bulletin board. Posted was an ad reading baby bunnies for sale; great starter pets. Sadly, this is still prevalent, and frustrating to those working to improve the lives of rabbits, and all creatures. Kudos to everyone helping our animal friends!   




September 24, 2012 What's happened to the Coombs rabbits? That's one of those questions that aren't going away. What we can say is that pictures taken this weekend show depressingly empty grounds whereas it was once full of life. Stay tuned..... 
September 28, 2012  Why would the Times Colonist, 07/21/12, report that “Vickery has about 500 rabbits,”  when this is obviously not the case at all?

More to follow. We are awaiting responses from several agencies.

Related: Richmond Auto Mall gets creative with rabbits

October 30, 2012 The executive director of Fur Bearer Defenders visited Coombs on the weekend with numerous pictures posted to their Facebook page. The organization was contacted because of concerns over the diminishing population of the UVic rabbits relocated there in 2010. Where there was once a sea of rabbits, the fields are all but bare. However, concerns went unaddressed. Willful blindness or deliberate untruthfulness? Look at the blog (it was quickly removed) and you decide. Rather, it was reported that Susan had taken in several abandoned pregnant rabbits and many of the photos show baby or adolescent bunnies. It is troubling to the rabbit rescue/advocacy community that FBD representatives haven’t taken more interest in the likely demise of so many UVic bunnies.     

There were many who funded and helped out with the effort and would like answers. Was it illness that spread, as at least one source indicated? People have asked whether records have been kept regarding medical interventions or deaths, and if pregnant rabbits were knowingly brought in why they went to term. To restock the refuge? So many questions.   

We are still awaiting a response from FLNRO officials on this and other rabbit matters raised in prior correspondence.

October 31, 2012 The FBD Director of Communications was contacted and he viewed the inaccurate portrayal of the sanctuary in the blog as that of “semantics.” After the visit he was told that everything looked fine, despite the relatively few number of rabbits, and the fact that many were not UVic rabbits.

November 29, 2012 Coombs Rabbits Questioned - hundreds dead

Comment: According to Vickery, a substantial number of rabbits died from an undetermined illness last year, as well as some from natural causes. Others were killed during a break-in and 25-30 were shot a month after arrival by a trapper hired by a neighbor when they strayed onto her adjacent property.  

Prior to the first UVic rabbits coming to Coombs in Sept. 2010, Susan Vickery had brought about 50 of her own rabbits from Salt Spring Island to the refuge. On a recent visit by FBD there were non-UVic rabbits, including babies and young adults on site, the opposite of what’s being told here, and in breach of the EARS contract with the government. Overall, the once abundant rabbits are rather scarce and that is concerning to many. Nobody knows what’s really going on.

NB: The article, as originally written has been heavily edited. We have been told, however, that the Ministry is swamped with letters on the matter. Rabbit Advocacy has also been advised that we can expect a response to the various issues and questions recently raised, some of which Ministry officials hadn’t really thought of before.

December 12, 2012 While we await a response from the provincial government, it is apparent that the issue of the Coombs rabbits is rather a touchy subject. Numerous photos taken on different dates by various sources indicate that there is reason for concern, (easily verifiable evidence) yet public statements made by the sanctuary operator and others would have one believe all is well. Ah, the vial of denial. And as George Orwell said so well: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

December 17, 2012  We have heard from the Ministry! Great detail was provided as to the Coombs facility, including the fact that “the permit holder is required to submit annual reports on the status of the wildlife in their care to the ministry.” The Wildlife Act remains unchanged although certain policies are being reviewed. Municipalities must give equal consideration to animal welfare issues and work toward solutions that prevent pathways to abandonment. The agricultural community and 4-H Clubs must also get on board. However, it’s individual change that drives societal reforms. Let’s not forget the rabbit – they deserve better!

Our thoughts are with the hundreds of rabbits who died at this refuge, most of which has been kept quiet and out of the public eye. We wish to thank all those who aren’t afraid of speaking out and exposing the truth. For the animals, always – get inspired!

March 2013 Various agencies and authorities have been contacted regarding the questionable operations and activities of EARS/Susan Vickery. The untimely death of multitudes of innocents is a tragedy.

March 2013 BC SPCA launches new animal abuse hotline Anyone with information about a suspected case of animal cruelty is asked to call the new BC SPCA hotline at 1-855-622-7722 (1-855-6BC-SPCA). If it’s outside of office hours or an emergency call your local police department or the RCMP.

June 2013 Susan Vickery has turned her attention to the increasing number of deer and human encounters, hoping to raise funds for ‘”workshops” thru venues like Shell’s Fuelling Change environmental programs contest. She claims she “was able to raise $80,000 in support funds for the rabbits” from UVic that came to Coombs. Times Colonist: 24/06/13

Will we ever know how that money was spent and why such a high percentage of the rabbits died in less than a year? We do know that about thirty of them were shot within a month of arrival because they were running loose on a neighbour’s property. On one visit, we questioned Vickery why her rabbits from Salt Spring Island were running loose when the fencing was not yet complete. She was unconcerned, saying “they will find their way back.” The Salt Spring Island Conservancy and residents had also objected to her not keeping her rabbits contained.

August 7, 2013 Rabbitats has about 50 rabbits sitting in limbo at the Richmond Auto Mall after it let the permit to export them to Precious Life Animal Sanctuary in Washington expire. Under the Wildlife Act, domestic rabbits are considered a non-native species and wildlife experts recommend the options of either: 1) sterilization and relocation to a secure facility out of province, or 2) humane euthanization.” Rabbitats is now requesting permission to rehome the rabbits within BC.

However, the province said it would no longer allow rabbits to be housed in sanctuaries in B.C. after 500 rabbits rescued from the University of Victoria wound up at an animal sanctuary in Coombs a few years ago. Vancouver Sun: 8/13/13

Related: Rabbit Cruelty in Richmond; Minoru Park & Auto Mall rescue efforts; FLNRO position; relocation

Injunction dismissed, Canmore activists forge on, the politics of it all, EARS contract, concerns; lethal control

Some correspondence re: rabbits, reg's, abandonment, FLNRO bureaucracy; politics

September 2013 The Martlet, UVic’s student newspaper wonders whatever happened to the rabbits that had for decades been living on campus. The rabbits were relocated to various refuges but whether such a controversial project was successful or not is debatable. Concerned rabbit lovers have stopped by the Coombs facility located on the grounds of the World Parrot Refuge several times in recent weeks. It was nice to see rows of lavender planted around the parking lot which workers seemed quite excited about. However, when we asked about the rabbits we were told that nobody sees Susan Vickery/EARS much. We never saw her or her vehicle, either. There were some rabbits on site, but sadly many of them have not lived to enjoy a safe and happy life. We still see loose rabbits on neighbouring properties and streets.

October 2013 Rabbits stolen from Coombs 'sanctuary'

Comment: More sad drama in the ongoing saga of the Coombs facility rabbits. Finally, after months of rabbits missing from the site, the thefts are reported to police and the SPCA. Former volunteers were the culprits, admitting to the removal of ten rabbits. Vickery says some of the rabbits were sold as meat, but there’s no proof of that.

This professed ‘sanctuary’ has been anything but since its inception. First mistake, EARS made the location public. Secondly, rabbits were unsecured and free to roam outside the compound and then promptly shot when venturing onto a neighbour’s property. There have been nothing but problems since, with these trusting and dependent creatures, the littlest victims, paying the ultimate price. Heartbreaking, to be sure, which begs the question, what does the future hold (if any) and does this sort of publicity hinder potential sanctuaries or shelters from being set up.

Clearly, the rabbits are in jeopardy at this location. Ms. Vickery should not be putting additional lives at risk by taking in more. Her contract with the provincial government stipulated that the compound was for UVic rabbits only and that permit expires in March 2015.

November 6, 2013 Five more of the stolen rabbits were discovered on a nearby farm property. Vickery says several sanctuary rabbits and locally adopted rabbits are still missing. What a nightmare. This 'rescue' has proven to be disastrous. 

She is asking for help in locating the rabbits. Anybody with information is encouraged to call the Oceanside RCMP.  

The government granted a permit for this facility as “a unique exception.” Abandoned European rabbits are regarded as a non-native species under Schedule C of the Wildlife Act and as such it does not normally authorize sanctuaries “for the preservation of alien, invasive species.”  It is responsible for the sanctuaries it approves and can revoke an operator’s permit if the conditions are found to be lacking. Coombs has had a history of distressing incidents.

November 30, 2013 Missing rabbit found with mutilated ear

Comment: Some of the missing Coombs rabbits have been found. “Vickery believes there are now fewer than 10 rabbits still missing.” She doesn’t know? As so many rabbit advocates and others have noted, this facility has been deficient in many regards and does not fit the definition of a sanctuary. There have been numerous mistakes on Vickery’s part that have resulted in untold casualties and other tragedies.

Considering its dismal record, it’s no wonder that there are calls to have the rabbits removed and relocated to safe locations outside of the community – before there’s another “what’s next episode?”

January 2014 Hundreds of rabbits lost their lives in the short time since they were relocated from UVic in late 2010. Many died inexplicably, some from natural causes, while others were shot to death or stomped on. Despite the numerous reports and concerns about this facility, it has been difficult to proceed much further other than to take complaints. The facility operator has repeatedly cried victim while refusing to accept responsibility.

Exposing the truth is never easy but eventually denials and cover-ups are revealed. Hopefully, some change will come from this debacle, although it will in all likelihood take considerable time.

August 25, 2015 UVic rabbits have left Coombs for Alberta (says EARS)

Comment: After the combined efforts of many to have the UVic rabbits moved to safety, the rabbits relocated to Coombs were, from day one, in danger. After only a month, the death toll began to mount. Vickery was not only incapable of caring for the rabbits, she refused help and alienated herself from others. Sadly, the rabbits have suffered the irreversible consequences of her personal drama and distorted reality.

September 7, 2015 There is a small group of people who have not given up in the quest to bring light to the terrible misfortune of these rabbits. For those interested, visit The Truth Behind EARS, a Facebook page complete with photos. By Vickery’s own admission in her annual report submitted to the FLNR ministry, 167 rabbits died last year – that’s about one every second day! There is never an excuse for animal neglect (or worse) and anyone who tries to defend, justify, or turn a blind eye to it, is likely of similar character.

While there are policies and laws to protect animals, the reality is that our system falls short. This is due to a multitude of factors, including the sheer volume of cases, the lack of resources, enforcement, and the people themselves. Offenders are rarely held to account.

Find out more: http://www.popcenter.org/problems/animal_cruelty/2

October 2015 update: We can verify that Vickery has her own ‘personal’ rabbits at the Coombs compound, although we were unable to determine an exact figure. There were two outside the perimeter fencing. (photo) Several more were spotted further up the road beside the fairgrounds.

Animal rescue is unregulated, leaving it wide open for the good and bad to operate. As a society, we need to do much more to protect the vulnerable, non-human species who rely on us for their well-being and survival. Never look the other way or be complacent – silence and denial are barriers to justice.

“Perhaps you notice how the denial is so often the preface to the justification.” Christoper Hitchens

2016 update: After the disastrous outcome and subsequent fallout of the rabbit situation at Coombs, Susan Vickery (EARS/Common Ground) retreated clear across the country midyear to the small, rural area of Lake Charlotte, Nova Scotia. Here this charlatan is free to begin new schemes that will undoubtedly involve the ‘rescue’ of animals as a tool in order to garner sympathy and donations.

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