Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rabbits are Live Lunch at Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, FL

A recent YouTube video posted in early February was brought to my attention depicting two young bobcats who were orphaned and taken to a sanctuary. Then the next segment of the video shows the cats killing at least two domesticated rabbits in an enclosure at the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. Subsequently, I read an article also posted online in February aptly called “There's No Kibble Served at the Big Cat Rescue” about their practice of feeding live rabbits to bobcats in preparation for release into the wild. I am outraged at this video.First of all, the tame rabbits used as “prey” for these cats would not prepare the cats for reintroduction into the wild. An agouti colored rabbit actually goes up to the young cat and touches his nose. (Pictured above from video) Only a very trusting, docile rabbit would interact this way. The cats in the video already have their predation and stalking instincts honed as demonstrated by how quickly they dispatched both rabbits.
Secondly, the domesticated rabbits shown do not stand a chance. A wild rabbit would know his territory, and have a fighting chance to escape. The domesticated rabbits were quite literally “fed” to the bobcats. The Big Cat Rescue must stop their cruel practice of live feeding domesticated rabbits and find another way to condition their cats for release. Further, not only is the video posted on Youtube.com with warnings about graphic content by Big Cat Rescue, but several others are, too.
Finally, this is a gross affront to anyone who has compassion for animals and especially domesticated rabbits, but particularly those of us who know them as pets. The third most popular pet in the United States is an easy lunch at the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. I am truly appalled. Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue is: Carole Baskin, 12802 Easy Street, Tampa, Florida 33625, info@bigcatrescue.org; The Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 3607 N Armenia Ave., Tampa, FL 33607 813-876-7138 Animal abuse or complaint line - Hillsborough County Animal Services (813) 744-5660 (Photo: Big Cat Rescue image from video)