Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Can Spook Rabbits

Tips to keep Halloween Less Frightening for Your Rabbit:
Photo Credit: Kimberly's bunnies Ginger & Cooper from California
Noise Rabbits can get spooked by strange noises anytime of the year. Just look at those ears.  They can hear what is going on outside the house.  Halloween night the door bell may ring more than usual and visiting goblins may create lots of sound effects.  Keep your rabbit away from the front door and in a quiet area.
Costumes (for people) Did you know your rabbit sees your shape first.  So if you are wearing anything that changes your basic shape, or scent and you put on an accent from Dracula's hometown, your rabbit may not even recognize you.  Speak to your rabbit normally and put on your costume after you have settled the rabbit in for the night.
Candy Those sugary treats especially chocolate should be kept away from rabbits during and after Halloween night. Give your bunny a bit of apple for a Halloween treat.
Decorations The stringy cobwebs and other filmy decorations should be kept away from rabbits. They maybe tempted to chew on them and they can cause serious digestive problems.
Candles Burning candles in jack-o-lanterns can be dangerous especially if a rabbit is hopping around in the house.  Rabbits are as curious as cats and may investigate. They can knock them over creating a fire hazard.
Pet Costumes  Not recommended, but I am guilty of placing a witch hat over those long ears.  If you want to dress up your rabbit, don't use rubber bands, ties or  too tight elastic that can constrict breathing or movement. Some rabbits will try to remove the costume especially around the neck/upper body and can become entangled.  Other rabbits may become too stressed or too warm especially if the costume is tight. After all, they are already wearing a fur coat. Take a picture and then get the bunny out of costume.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Unwanted Hare

Will Bullas, master of watercolors and puns has painted more lagomorphs. It is something all rabbit rescuers can relate to . . . "Unwanted Hares."  Of course, hares are not rabbits unless they are a Jackrabbit and rabbits are not hares unless they are a Belgian Hare - which always makes correctly identifying them confusing. Nonetheless, even though I know the difference between rabbits and hares, I appreciate this white rabbit.  But it is bittersweet because I think of all the big white bunnies waiting for forever homes. 

Bunnies & Chicks Dyeing in New Hampshire Again?

According to CBS Boston, "lawmakers in New Hampshire could lift a ban on coloring chicks, ducklings, goslings or rabbits to enhance their sale. State Rep. Joel Winters, a Nashua Democrat, has proposed repealing a 1985 law that makes it illegal to dye the birds and bunnies to promote their sale, raffle or if they are to be given as a prize. Rep. Winters said Monday that he doesn’t think the law serves a purpose."

Fortunately, the former Agriculture Commissioner Steve Taylor who understands the importance of the law disagrees. According to the newspaper article, he fought for the law’s passage 28 years ago because the process stresses the birds and many die as a result. Taylor said too many people bought the cute colored chicks at Easter without knowing how to care for them.” This certainly is the same situation for rabbits at Easter when many rabbits are purchased on impulse to end up abandoned within six months.

Even feed store owners are not in favor of repeal according to the Telegraph Newspaper online. "Arthur Evans, co-owner of Derry Feed and Supply, said the history of dyeing farm animals goes back to the 1940s and 1950s, when they were routinely spray painted and sold as Easter gifts for children. When the novelty wears off, the baby chicks are either destroyed, sent to a farm or left in the wild."

I would hope that Mr. Winters’ bill doesn’t get support,” Evans said. “That’s crazy. That’s putting the evolution of all the chicken legislation back 50 years or 60 years, because this is why all that legislation came into effect – the abuse.”

Curt Jacques, owner of West Lebanon Feed and Supply, also opposes coloring chicks for the same reason. He won’t sell them around Easter because too many buyers don’t know how to care for them “New Hampshire would be wise to continue its progressive stance on protecting these innocent baby animals from stressful and profit-motivated artificial treatments.”

Another New Hampshire newspaper noted Florida repealed their ban on the practice a couple of years ago. The reason was dyeing show dogs.  Back then it was reported in the Sun Sentinel that "at the request of an Oakland Park groomer who wants to dye show dogs, State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Ft. Lauderdale, came up with an amendment that would repeal the 1967 law and tacked it on to an agriculture bill." However, since Floridians do not condone inhumane treatment of animals, the ban was brought back in 2013 and it is now once again illegal in Florida to dye bunnies.

Right now the law in New Hampshire does not allow inhumane dyeing of bunnies and chicks.  If feed store owners aren't in favor of repeal, then who is lobbying State Rep. Joel Winters to repeal this law?"  Or has he just gone hopping mad?