Thursday, June 30, 2011

21 Confiscated Rabbits May Give Oakland "Paws for Thought"

A couple of weeks ago the City of Oakland Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal modifying zoning regulations to allow “crop growing” as a home occupation. This only includes plants. However, there are those who want to add animals to Oakland’s urban agriculture. The case of 21 rabbits officials removed (see photo of two above) from a home in Oakland Tuesday night that were set to be butchered for food should give officials “paws for thought." It was reported neighbors informed the SPCA about the rabbits caged at a Lake Merritt apartment complex. Wire cages were stacked and the rabbits were covered in their own urine and waste with urine scald sores plus the smell was overwhelming. Their diet consisted of white rice and they suffered from malnutrition. Their stomachs were bloated and their bones deformed. Megan Webb, the Director of Animals Services summed it up well, in the SF Chronicle stating, "This blurs the lines for animal cruelty. When is it okay to raise something for food, and when is it cruelty?" she said.

When the Oakland Planning Commission met I am sure they did not imagine potential abuses that could result from raising animals for food within their city limits. Unfortunately, the abuse of the 21 rabbits described above shows what could happen. In the coming months there will be modifications proposed and submitted to the community, Economic Development Committee and then the City Council in Oakland for consideration  Several weeks ago a speaker at the meeting  said, “We’re very concerned that animals will be part of urban agriculture,” because it could cause public health and animal welfare issues.  She did not know her concerns would be validated so soon with 21 suffering rabbits.  Photo credit: Lance Iversen / The Chronicle

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

UK Study Wants to Know What Makes Rabbits Happy

In the UK, researcher Jenna Hill, wants to hear from as many rabbit owners as possible about all aspects of their rabbit’s lives. The research study by the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences hopes to find out how people care for the rabbits such as where the "rabbits live, how they behave, what they eat and how healthy they are, as well as how they interact with their owners.” With around one million rabbits in the UK, they are the third most popular pet, after dogs, and cats. I hope Veternarian Hill shares her research data with vets in the United States once her study is completed. The more we all know about rabbits will help improve their care. I encourage anyone in the UK with a rabbit to participate (see link above).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rabbits "Going to Pot" in Germany

Just when I think I have heard it all then I read police in Brandenburg, Germany located a large plot of cannabis and also found that an 84-year-old woman in the neighboring house had been feeding her rabbits the plants. According to the Local Online, she told the investigating officer she had not grown the plants herself, but that they had simply started growing there. A spokesman for the Brandenburg police said her explanation had sounded plausible, but the officers could not leave her with the plants. The plants were confiscated and taken to a forensics laboratory for testing to determine levels of THC (the psycho-active ingredient in cannabis) they contain. Someone needs to send this woman a nice fresh bale of timothy hay. There is much conflicting information on the web as to the toxicity of cannabis in rabbits and most of the information seems to indicate the leaves are toxic to bunnies. I am certain rabbits are much healthier and much better suited to grazing on grass - the low green narrow-leaved plant that grows in fields and makes a nice lawn.

200 Bunnies in Ontario Rescued

Rabbit Rescue in Ontario, Canada is helping with a large rescue of 200 rabbits that included pregnant does. According to the Guelph Mercury online, Havina Porter of Rabbit Rescue has been as busy as the Energizer Bunny and already has foster homes lined up for about 50 of the 200 rabbits seized from a home in Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Across the province animal shelters are taking in the rabbits to assist the Sudbury branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention against Cruelty to Animals. Rabbit Rescue will be accommodating most of the rabbits. Since the investigation is ongoing the circumstances surrounding the rescue raid in May are not being discussed yet. The rabbits have been examined by a veternarian, and they will be neutered and spayed. For information about this rescue, to make a donation or to apply to adopt a rabbit, visit Rabbit Rescue, or email These are adorable bunnies and more photos of the rabbits are at this Link. (Photo Credit: Rabbit Rescue)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

23 Foot Rabbit Statue Gets Facebook Page featured Harvey, a 23 Foot Rabbit statue who presides over a stretch of highway in a suburb west of Portland, OR.  Harvey, now has his own Facebook page with over 6,000 fans.  The big bunny is smartly dressed in a blue jacket, red ascot, and starched white pants.  He is not a cuddly vision of that other blue coat wearing bunny, Peter Rabbit.  But Harvey has rare blue eyes and his body used to be a service station man before his head was transplanted on top.  He fronts a marine store which is okay, but I think he could be put to better use.  Harvey could be a big attention getter for all the rabbits who are waiting for forever homes in the Portland area.  He certainly has some marketing chops.  I haven't contacted the good people at Rabbit Advocates about this idea. They already do a great job in rescue and adoption of rabbits. And, in some ways Harvey may send the wrong message about rabbits like it's okay to dress them up in clothes and then house them outside near a noisey highway. However, I have to admire Harvey for his ability to attract fans.(Photo credit:

Monday, June 20, 2011

On the Wild Side: Jackrabbit Joins Golf Tour

Last week a jackrabbit decided to tag along with the Fort Morgan City Council on their tour of a local golf course. The reporter at the Fort Morgan Times called this a “rabbit,” but one look at those ears and there is no mistake this is a hare. “Jackrabbit” is a confusing name since hares are only cousins to rabbits like cottontails (or domesticated rabbits). They were give the name since their ears were similar to a male donkey's (also known as a "jackass"). Colorado is home to white-tailed jackrabbits, black-tailed jackrabbits (it's smaller cousin), and snowshoe hares. All jackrabbits (or hares) are built for speed. They can easily span 5 to 10 feet in one hop and upwards to 20 ft. when escaping a predator. Even at a moderate pace every fourth or fifth hop is considerably higher so they can see predators or just get a better look around. I’m sure the golf course looks like dinner in the evening for these grass grazing lagomorphs. (Photo credit: Fort Morgan Times)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Earless Rabbits New Media Sensation

born rabbits without ears recently.  The adorable grey bunnies already have a youtube video online. 

Puppy Love - A Bonded Rabbit and Dog

A rabbit fan from Australia sent me this photo by Steven Jaquiery and a link to an article about a Chihuahua and rabbit who are best friends in New Zealand. This pair are almost the same size and according to the report they enjoy playing and are inseparable buddies. Read article at this Link. Rabbits can bond with dogs. However, it depends upon the dog and rabbit personalities. Any introduction and time together should be a well supervised.  For more information on bonding dogs with rabbits see this article at the House Rabbit Society website: When Fido Met Thumper.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SPCA of Upstate New York Hoarding Rescue

Rabbits seem to be in the news this past couple of weeks in several large hoarding or abuse cases.  The most recent was just yesterday when News 10 reported that 60 animals including several rabbits were rescued from a home in a hoarding case. That's the bad news, but the good news is there are people who go into these heartbreaking situations and help the animals! See video below:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Buns N' Roses in Singapore

Yesterday I received an email from Rani from Indonesia who sent me photos from the Flower Festival in Sentosa Singapore this past February. The theme was rabbits, of course. A few of her photos are shown below and you can see more about the Year of the Rabbit in Sentosa here. They also featured a giant topiary rabbit and palm trees wrapped to look like carrots.  Singapore has a very active House Rabbit Society Chapter and are dedicated advocates for rabbits in that country. See more about their rabbits and good work at the link above. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Year of the Rabbit Hopping All Over Cleveland

If you visit Cleveland before the summer is over, they are celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with 24 fiberglass rabbits. The sculptures feature designs created by Northeast Ohio artists. They have been installed throughout Cleveland's St. Clair Superior neighborhood and in other locations in downtown Cleveland.  Eight of the 24 rabbits were on display (pictured) during the Cleveland Asian Festival in May.  On September 24th, a gala auction event will be held at the Cleveland Masonic Temple and Auditorium. See photos of all the artistic rabbits here. Cleveland is also fortunate to have the Buckeye House Rabbit Society rescuing abandoned rabbits. Their rabbits for adoption are all beautiful originals. See their photos
here. Photo above courtesy A. Wellington.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thoughts on Lab Rabbit Rescue

Over a week ago I received a two sentence email about six “lab rabbits” that were scheduled to be euthanized later that day. It was vague, but it got my attention. The person who emailed me said his wife worked at a major research facility and the bunnies were not used as test subjects. He wanted to know if I knew of anyone who could take them. I wrote back for a location and sent him contact info for a half dozen rabbit rescue organizations in the Northern California Bay Area. The next day I learned the rabbits were safe with the good folks of Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary who posted their adoption photos. (Many thanks to Harvest Home!) I was overjoyed to see them - six big beautiful New Zealand white rabbits who will make wonderful house rabbits. By the way, you can meet Harvest Home’s adoptable rabbits on the first Saturday of the month at the East Bay SPCA - Tri-Valley, in Dublin, CA. Photo Credit: Matthew, former lab rabbit now available for adoption.

In 2007, (most recent year of available data) 236,511 rabbits were used in research in the United States. They are 23% of the total number of animals reported to the USDA making rabbits the largest category of reported species. With these staggering numbers, breeding rabbit “test models” is a multi-million dollar business as are the studies that use them receiving grants and corporate funding. It is easy to surf the internet and find specialized companies selling rabbit test models at prices over $100 each (multiple that by 236,511 rabbits for 2007).

Could this industry be worried about their public image? Recently, they pulled out the “cute kid card” by posting billboards pitting a rat’s life against that of a cute little girl. It is apparent they have the funds to spend on a national billboard campaign to try to sway public opinion. The better question I have seen asked on is: “Does the rat [or rabbit] have to die so a little girl can live?” Most times not according to Dr. John Pippin, an advisor to PCRM who said, "90 percent of drugs that worked on animals failed in human trials."

While I am thrilled six rabbits escaped possible pain and death, thousands never find a safe haven. These six “lab” rabbits will make wonderful companion animals - maybe even in a home with a cute young girl who loves bunnies.

More Info: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, The National Anti-Vivisection Society

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Tale of Peter Rabbit Hopped into Publishing History Today in 1900

At 27 years old Beatrix Potter sent a picture and story about a family of rabbits to the five year old son of her former governess, Annie Moore. (Beatrix Potter had a rabbit named Peter.) Moore encouraged Beatrix to publish the story which became a book titled The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor's Garden. She sent it to six publishers, and was rejected by all six since it did not include color pictures. Beatrix Potter was not the type to be easily discouraged so she self-published 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Within the year she signed a contract with publisher, Frederick Warne and Co., and by the end of the year, 28,000 copies were in print. This small book was the beginning of many other books by Beatrix Potter as we all know.  She was not only an artist and storyteller, but also a scientific expert on fungi and a conservationist. See more about her (and Peter) at The World of Peter Rabbit website.  Photo Credit: Beatrix Potter, ‘Pencil study of Peter Rabbit’ Frederick Warne & Co.