Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Not Fair

It’s that time of year again, when state and county fairs bring in all type of animals including rabbits to show. It seems a very stressful place for the rabbits. My sister and I go with Hopperhome cards in hand to talk to people about rabbits as pets and it is usually the hottest time of year in most parts of the country. I recently read about a fair in Indiana with triple digit temperatures and big fans blowing in their “bunny barn.” Last year when it was hot at my local county fair I saw one little girl misting water on her rabbit’s ears as the temperatures soared. With the rabbits starting to pant, I wondered why fair officials didn’t close it down.
My other gripe about rabbit accommodations at many fairs is that rabbits are not allowed any type of resting board. I asked a Rabbit Barn official last year why they didn’t allow them. “It’s messy – it’s only two days” she said. That was it – no more explanation. It’s simple, cheap and humane to put a resting board in a cage. Rabbits do have pads on the bottom of their feet. What pads they do have are very thin and much different from the thick pads of cats or dogs. The fur on the bottom of their feet is normally the only protection they have to cushion their weight. Many breeds do not have heavily furred feet. After all, a rabbit’s original environment was a soft forest floor or field of grasses. Fair barn cages with wire floors are not healthy or comfortable, and what’s “fair” about that?
Above, those bunnies who look like little tattooed jailbirds are beautiful Himalayans at the fair last year.