In the last couple of days many have seen the disturbing Youtube.com video from two Minnesota brothers of the so called "Frankenstein Rabbit." The name is, of course, referring to the fictional story of scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature. It looks like the malady the little cottontail is suffering from is a medical condition that could be cancerous.
In all my years in rescue and living with house rabbits, I have seen plenty of rabbits meet their end by some cruel and yes, often grotesque disease. My rabbit, Sweetie, passed away recently at 9 years of age after suffering from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, i.e., Green Fur Syndrome. Sweetie's immune system was apparently already compromised. I took him to three different veterinarians including a specialist. I gave him around the clock care and feedings (he had stopped eating). The infection won at the end and my little lop had many large bald spots on his face, chest, neck and forepaws. He was quite the opposite physically of a "cute" rabbit and I loved the little guy just the same. I never thought once of making a video of Sweetie as an ugly anomaly of nature.
Even though the rabbit the young men video taped in Minnesota is grotesque, there is no doubt he is suffering. Because the rabbit is wild it is unlikely anyone will intervene and the end result will be more suffering. In my opinion, the most disturbing thing about this is the response of one of the brothers when he stated:
"It's turning into a thing on animal rights ... it was just supposed to be something fun between me and my brother."
It is about common decency and compassion for animals. Certainly there is a vast amount of cruel social media involving animals and this video joins the legions of shame. The young man's statement framing the video as a "fun" activity as a way to dismiss the cruelty is disgusting. Unfortunately, it appears he has not learned anything about compassion for animals from the controversy over his video.