Bunny Ownership Guide

Are you really ready to buy a bunny?

There are around 1 million bunnies living in households in the UK, but not many people are aware of the kind of commitment that is required to responsibly keep these sensitive social animals.

Buying a pet rabbit is an important decision that should not be undertaken lightly. Despite what many think rabbits are by no means a ‘casual’ pet, they require consistent care, freedom, socialising and feeding in order to live happy lives.

Choosing your rabbit

Picking your rabbit is not simply a task of finding the ‘cutest’ or ‘most adorable’, it’s important to consider the breed of rabbit that you’re buying and how that might affect your involvement in its care. For example, the Cashmere Lop is a stereotypical ‘fluffy’ rabbit which has a wide appeal to young and old alike, but this long-haired variety requires regular grooming to avoid their fur matting and infections setting in.

Whichever breed of rabbit you decide on you should always buy from a certified breeder rather than a pet shop, as you can better guarantee your rabbit’s good health and well-being pre-ownership. Lastly, rabbits are very sociable creatures, so unless you’re planning on spending a great deal of contact time with your pet you should buy a companion of the opposite sex to keep it company. Getting both animals spayed and neutered should be a top priority as this will avoid medical bills and potential fatalities in the future.

Where will they live?

Traditionally rabbits have been kept outside in hutches, although this is a legitimate way of keeping these creatures it is now becoming more common to keep them in the house. Litter trays can be bought for them to defecate in, you should also create dark spaces for them to relax in during the day.

Rabbits are delicate creatures who require enough space to run and jump so that they can stay in good shape, if you do choose to keep your rabbits in a hutch then it is vital that you let them have free reign of open space for at least a few hours a day, otherwise they will soon grow depressed and lethargic.

What do bunnies eat?

In order for bunnies to stay healthy they need access to a constant supply of food that is high in fibre, as well as fresh water. Hay (which can be bought from most large supermarkets) is a rabbit’s staple food so they need to have plenty of this readily available, as well as a variety of greens to simulate the occasional leaf or vegetable that they’d be able to pick up in the wild.

A rabbit’s front teeth grow continually at up to 3mm a week, they like to chew on things to keep their teeth filed down so you should also make sure that you’ve got something to gnaw on, otherwise you might find that they get to work on your home! You can buy chew toys for them but spare bits of wood, pine cones and cardboard boxes will also do just fine.

How do you play with them?

Rabbits are naturally prey so their instincts lead them to be easily frightened. In order for you to interact and play with them you’ll need to gain their trust which takes both patience and time.

When you first purchase your rabbit it might take a few weeks for it to grow accustomed to you and its new surroundings, so you’ll need to make sure that it feels as comfortable as possible. Don’t approach it from behind and refrain from touching it unless it is actively seeking your attention. Once you’ve spent enough time together the rabbit should be relaxed enough for you to pet it.

Victims of the Fur Trade: Animals That Need Protecting

Millions of animals are killed for their fur every year…

These are the victims of the fur trade:

Beavers

Left to their own devices beavers can live for nearly 20 years, but due to rampant hunting these creatures’ lives are often cut short. These industrious creatures can grow up to 4 feet long and are incredibly sociable, working to build dams and tunnel systems that entire families live in. Beavers work in conjunction with the environment creating entire ecosystems as a result of their dam-building, making an attack on them an attack on our environment itself.

Rabbits

Highly sociable and incredibly sensitive, rabbits have been hunted for decades – however it could be argued that farming of these gentle creatures is infinitely more cruel. PETA have recently released footage of incredible cruelty being committed against rabbits in Chinese Angora fur farms. Rabbits are easily startled animals who require very specific living conditions in order to live happily, these farms ignore these needs completely and wilfully harm these animals for the sake of a better profit margin.

Dogs and Cats

As unlikely as it might sound millions of dogs and cats are brutally killed every year in China for their fur. These animals are often kept in terrible conditions for their entire lives before they are killed in the most brutal of fashions. Witnesses have seen dogs and cats bludgeoned, hung, strangled and bled to death all for the sake of trims and novelty. China supplies more than 50% of fur garments imported for sale in the US, not to mention the numerous other items that are imported into the EU, so often those that choose to buy fur might not be getting exactly what they’re  paying for.

So what can you do?

It’s up to the consumers to ‘vote with their money’ and make demands of the brands and labels that support this violent, inhumane industry. By pressuring companies to provide you with a manifesto of how they deal with fur you can force them to take a serious look at how they’re using animals and (hopefully) make them understand that we will no longer accept this barbaric tradition. Many cultures still prize fur above all other materials, this will only change when people start challenging the status quo and it begins with you!

Before you go and buy a new faux-fur pom pom hat or faux-fur parka coat you should make absolutely sure that the faux-fur is what it claims to be. There have been a number of reports unearthed recently that have proven many faux-furs to be anything but, so it’s worth contacting a company beforehand to get a concrete statement from them that they will be delivering what they are promising. No company wants to be exposed as acting negligently towards the public, especially when the issue of animal cruelty is at hand, so by forcing their hand you’ll be able to make them aware that this is an issue that they need to take seriously.