RSPCA highlights plight of unwanted rabbits

As part of Rabbit Awareness Week, animal welfare charity, the RSPCA is raising awareness of the responsibility of caring for rabbits.

The RSPCA has joined forces with Burgess Pet Care and other animal welfare charities, such as PDSA, RWAF, Blue Cross and Wood Green, The Animals Charity, to support Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) between June 2-10.

The RSPCA takes hundreds of unwanted rabbits into its centres each year, as owners don’t often realise the responsibility they are taking on.

Inspectors at the animal welfare charity regularly collect dumped rabbits and they believe this is partly due to a lack of understanding around the amount of care rabbits need.

In 2017, the charity investigated 2,428 complaints of neglect about rabbits and more than 2,000 bunnies were rescued by the charity.

In the same year, the RSPCA received 874 abandonment complaints relating to rabbits – this works out as more than two complaints every day of the year.

The annual RAW campaign is dedicated to helping tackle the welfare needs of 1.1 million pet rabbits in the UK. This year the campaign is focusing on diet and is urging pet owners to move away from muesli, as rabbits actually need a hay-based diet.

RSPCA rabbit welfare expert, Dr Jane Tyson, said: “Sadly rabbits are one of the nations most misunderstood animals. Lots of rabbits are still kept in small hutches without access to an area in which to exercise, many rabbits are housed alone instead of in pairs, and not all are having their nutritional needs met.”

“For example. Well-meaning owners think they are doing the right thing by buying muesli-based rabbit food but what rabbits actually need is a diet that is made up primarily of hay and/or grass. Eating hay and/or grass helps to keep teeth and tummies healthy, which can help to avoid some of he problems that rabbits are presented to vets with.”