"A huge proportion of rabbits live out their days in a small hutch with little or no exercise, or are unwanted and discarded onto rescue centres that are already bursting at the seams. Most cases of cruelty and neglect towards rabbits are out of ignorance; people often don't realise they are doing anything wrong because they haven't done enough research into rabbit care and wellbeing before choosing to buy a pet rabbit". - Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund
Our Guides give advice on bonding rabbits, what to feed them, how to house them and a lot of information on healthcare. Please read them before considering adoption. Rabbits are a lot trickier to care for correctly than many people think but once you know the basics, you will be able to vastly improve the quality of their lives.
Rabbits are shy, ground-living animals that need time to develop trust with their owners before being picked up. If you adopt rescue rabbits, please remember that some have been handled either rarely or incorrectly and may take even more time to trust their new owner. Make sure you know how to pick them up correctly in order to avoid injuring the rabbit and yourself.
Excerpt from the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund website...
Did you know it was the Victorians who first kept rabbits in hutches - a short term storage solution before the animals went to the pot?
We've moved on a great deal since then, but the habit of keeping rabbits in hutches has stuck. Rabbits are not designed to live in a confined space. In the wild they cover an area equivalent to 30 football pitches. They're not designed to live alone either - wild rabbits live in large social groups, foraging, grooming each other and huddling together for warmth. Rabbits living alone experience high levels of stress. Domestic rabbits are not fundamentally far removed from their wild cousins. They share the same need to run, jump, explore and share companionship with their own kind, so their accommodation must allow them to display these natural behaviours.
The RWAF's "A Hutch is Not Enough" Campaign is pitched at 3 levels. Firstly, we are encouraging retailers to consider the welfare of rabbits in all their dealings with their customers. We are aiming to achieve this through our Retailer Charter.
Secondly, we want to give advice to people who are thinking of taking on rabbits as pets. The main problem faced by domestic rabbits is lack of knowledge on the part of their owners. Many people simply do not realise that it is cruel to keep a rabbit alone in a small hutch. Through education and advice we hope to make a real difference to the perception of rabbits as pets.
Lastly, we want to get through to people who already own rabbits. We have loads of advice on how you can improve your rabbits' lives and get so much more enjoyment from them. Read more »