Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bad Hare Day for Bunnies in Britain

The British Veterinary Association (BVA)was very disappointed to learn that their Government has no plans to publish a code of practice on the welfare of rabbits. Their governing agency (Defra) considers the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to provide for the welfare needs of animals as sufficient to ensure the necessary protection for the welfare of pet rabbits. However, the President of the BVA stated, “rabbits are such popular pets, but vets are seeing more and more husbandry-related problems with these animals. Dental disease and obesity are two of the most common problems we encounter and both are directly linked to inappropriate diets. Another issue of concern is inadequate space for exercise - but perhaps the most neglected of all the welfare needs is a lack of companionship for these very social animals.”
The PDSA just published a report (Animal Wellbeing) and found that "700,000 rabbits could be suffering, mentally and physically, because they are not receiving all the essential health and welfare requirements for their happiness and well being." (The PDSA is a veterinary charity in the UK. I read the report and you can find the section on rabbits here.) The Welsh already have a code of practice called “How to Look After Your Rabbit.” Pictured is "Rocko," a dwarf albino lop featured on the pages of Rabbit Rehome in the UK.