With over a 6th of the world’s population, and around 1/2 a million in the UK celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit, rescues across the UK are bracing themselves for a surge in unwanted rabbits once the celebrations are over.
News wires Reuters, CNN, The Associated Press and others have already reported a brisk sale of rabbits in some parts, and although the coming of the Chinese New Year will be less marked here in the UK, there is no doubt that ‘rabbit fever’ will strike some who will become enchanted by the many images of cute and fluffy bunnies or their association with good fortune.
“Sadly it’s an inevitability”, reports rescue owner Helen Halliday. “Any time an animal is featured prominently in the media, people want them and simply go out and buy one without a thought for the long term consequences. Contrary to popular belief (and some comments in recent news reports), rabbits are not easy to care for; they require a great deal of attention, time and money.”
“We are beginning to see a significant rise in admissions following Christmas, and we’ll see the same after both the Chinese New Year and also Easter” Helen continues “They strain on rescues is overwhelming. Many rescues have waiting lists of rabbits needing to be admitted which is already greater than the capacity of the rescue! People need to realise that buying a live animal really is a big deal, and they should research it thoroughly before taking on the commitment.”
The Chinese New Year of The Rabbit coincides with the launch of the 2011 annual Make Mine Chocolate! Rabbit Sale Amnesty being held across the UK.
“The Make Mine Chocolate! campaign aims to put a stop to the impulse buying of rabbits” says campaign manager Lisa Whitty. “We encourage people to buy toy or chocolate rabbits instead, and we provide care information to potential new owners via retailers or the makeminechocolate.org.uk website so they can determine if rabbits really are the right pet for them before potentially making a very bad mistake.”
With around 35,000 rabbits passing through rescues annually and the RSPCA reporting rabbits are the most neglected pet in England, only time will tell if this really is the Year of the Rabbit.
If you are trying to decide if a rabbit is the right pet for you visit our Bunny Basics pages to find out what you need to know to help you make that decision.