Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Ruin a Spa Day for Rabbits

Taxpayer funded Bunny Massages have been all over the news in the last week along with nine other wasteful taxpayer funded projects.
The National Institutes of Health did a study involving Swedish Massages for rabbits to the tune of $387,000. Eighteen New Zealand white rabbits received 30-minute massages, four times a day. Hey, I am all for massages for rabbits. They deserve it since they are routinely  brutalized in most other experiments.  As a species rabbits are sacrificed by the millions in the name of science, fashion and dinner.
The really crazy part of the entire study for me wasn’t wasteful spending since I think all rabbits should be pampered. It is much worse. It has been reported the rabbits were euthanized after the study was completed. That’s right – massaged and then killed! It is a turn of events guaranteed to ruin any spa day. The rabbits were not infected with disease or sick.  In fact, I would suspect all the rabbits were in peak health. Yet the NIH in all their wisdom killed 18 New Zealand rabbits I know as a breed can be affectionate companions for people. Senator Tom Coburn may stir up public outrage over wasted taxpayer money, but what about the animals?
(Pictured rescue rabbits Tansy - Rex breed and big beautiful Rosie - New Zealand White Breed)

A Case of Viral Bunny Memes

In the last few days the internet put bunnies in the spotlight from Japan as smartphone case holders. The Japanese love their bunnies and routinely dress them up in costumes and have elaborate outfits for taking their rabbits for walks.  I doubt any rabbit is comfortable in all the clothes, but it is temporary. The bunnies certainly look well cared for and even spoiled.

However, the new rabbit meme doesn't sit well with me because the rabbits need to be on their backs to hold an IPhone 6 and that's putting them into a state of "tonic immobility."  I have addressed the T.I. controversy on my web page about "Trancing Your Rabbit." I am generally not in favor of it.  Yes, it spoils everyone's fun to say bad things about putting rabbits into this state.  Rabbits go into tonic immobility as a defense mechanism when grabbed by a predator in the wild. If the predator loosens its grip, the rabbit will explode into action to escape. When rabbits are on their backs it replicates this defensive and unnatural position for them.  I hope the bunnies put into tonic immobility for these IPhone photos are only kept this way long enough to get a photo to send to friends. My other issue with T.I. is when the rabbit rights itself and possibly drops to the floor. This can happen easily enough if the rabbit is being handled by someone who isn't familiar with how fast rabbits can burst out of their immobile state.  Over the years I have received more than one email about a newly paralyzed rabbit after it fell to the floor when it suddenly squirmed out of a "trance."

Don't get me wrong, I am all for rabbit memes and anything showing rabbits as fun companions for people.  However, when one article suggested attaching the rabbit to the phone with rubber bands that stretched my patience with this nonsense too far.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Some Communities Get it Right on "Easter Animal Sales"

Take for instance San Antonio . . . Animal Care Services is reminding residents the sale of baby animals as holiday novelties is illegal. The ordinance says it is illegal for any person to sell or offer for sale, barter, lease, rent or give away baby chicks or ducklings or rabbits less than eight weeks old as pets or novelties.

Fortunately, San Antonio included the dyeing or staining of baby chicks, ducklings, or rabbits in their city ordinance, as is even possessing animals that have been colored in this way. They also restrict the sale of animals on any roadside, public right of way, commercial parking lot or at any flea market or festival.

Unfortunately, not all cities and towns adopt humane ordinances and continue to allow these practices. In sharp contrast to San Antonio, I read a story on KTVI in St. Louis recently.  This community has brightly colored chicks available in locations such as Home Stores and Dickey Bub Farm.

Even if the dyes used are non-toxic the colored chicks, ducklings and rabbits look like brightly colored toys instead of creatures that need veterinary visits, daily care and a safe environment. Adult animals are disposed of after the newness wears off with the color because they are no longer "cute." For instance, rabbits can become aggressive and spray urine when they hit puberty in 4 to 6 months if they are not neutered or spayed. Most people don't realize  rabbits can live to ten years old and those baby chicks can have a lifespan of 26 years.

More communities should consider what San Antonio has done and pass ordinances to make selling baby animals as holiday novelties illegal.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rabbit Hopping Part of Easter Celebration in Prague

NBC News featured the photo below of people watching rabbit hopping at the traditional Easter market of the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, on Monday.

Comic Relief: Toy Bunny Poops Jelly Beans

After my last blog post about all the fancy chocolate rabbits available online, my sister sends me this -- "Funny Bunny: He walks and poops jelly beans" available on Amazon. Perhaps this is much needed comic relief. After all, Funny Bunny could be a teaching moment about rabbit digestive systems.  Obviously, this rabbit only eliminates the dry variety of fecal matter represented by the jelly beans.  If something representing cecotrophes were part of this toy, Funny Bunny would be a mess because he doesn't look bendable enough to eat them.

Make Mine Chocolate - A List of Chocolate Rabbits Online

It looks like Rescue Chocolate is sold out!  Rescue Chocolate partnered with the House Rabbit Society  to promote “Make Mine Chocolate,” a campaign that encourages the purchase of chocolate bunnies for Easter rather than live rabbits. It seems a lot of people did just that with a successful campaign. With only a few days left to fill an Easter Basket with a chocolate bunny instead of a live rabbit, there are still plenty of options. Chocolate rabbits are lined up in grocery stores right now and there are still a few online.  I have put together a list of some of the more interesting chocolate rabbits available online below:

Harry & David get the prize for the longest ears. 
Christopher Norman Chocolates has lively hand-painted truffles.

Conrads Candy 26 inch Tall Bunny & will set you back well over $150.

Burdick Chocolate - Truffles for White Chocolate fans
Harbor Sweets with Dark & Milk Chocolate Bunnies
Moonstruck Chocolates has truffle bunnies with heart shaped noses. 
Lake Champlain Chocolates and their Car Crazy Easter Rabbit
Godiva goes Traditional with a Milk Chocolate Rabbit & Lots of Baskets

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Noah Star Tweets About Her Bunny

I love it when celebrity actors show us their bunnies on twitter like Emma Watson this past week:  "Florence the bunny rabbit is helping me get ready today! - x "

200 Rabbits Being Rescued from Hoarding Case

So often it is someone who goes to purchase a bunny that discovers a bad hoarding situation with rabbits in bad health and terrible conditions.  This happened this week when apparently a rabbit breeder was reported to officials in West Viginia.  "Harrison County Humane Officer Lieutenant Greg Scolapio and animal control officers seized about half of nearly 200 rabbits from a residence in the Rock Camp area of Wallace on Friday.
"The rabbits were being kept in deplorable conditions, cages that hadn't been cleaned for months, with an accumulation of feces and urine in all the cages," said Scolapio."  Photo of Humane Officer Scolapio on right with one of the rabbits. See news article at WBoy.Channel 12 news. Thanks to Officer Scolapio and his team for taking on this challenging rabbit rescue operation.

Prevent Hare Loss this Easter!

Once again it's time to Prevent Hare Loss at Easter.  I do this every year trying to help get the word out.  Anyone can go to the website and download photos, see the press release and find out about rabbits as companions at this LINK.

The Art of the Rabbit

Rabbits are not only wonderful companions, they also make personality filled subjects for art.  Occasionally I stumble upon an artist who captures the pure "bunnyness" of these animals.  This daily painter, Elizabeth Barrett, who had a few bunny paintings on her Ebay auction is one of those.  Check out the rest of her art at this LINK.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Netherland Dwarf Makes Rounds as Therapy Rabbit

Laura VanDerLind of Shell Beach, a speech pathologist who works with dementia patients, works with a more unusual therapy pet: her year-old rabbit, Chubby Bunny (photo on right).  Chubby is a 2 year old, 2 lb. Netherland Dwarf breed rabbit. 

I have often heard Netherlands are biters and some people even say they are "mean."  This is so far from the truth.  They are one of the smallest size breeds and a lot can seem threatening to them. My sister, Bonnie, had a Netherland Dwarf for many years she adopted from a humane society.  Her nickname for Miss Sage that first year was "raptor" because she bit every hand that got near.  Eventually with gentle care she became a calm, very non-aggressive bunny girl. Even when Sage required lots of handling for medical care later in life she never once bit or nipped a hand after her first year with Bonnie.  Chubby Bunny shows what good care and kindness can create for a Netherland Dwarf rabbit who now brings "smiles from end-stage dementia patients who otherwise sat mute in their wheelchairs."  Full article at Tribune News. (Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Tribune News)

Read more here:

Read more here: smiles from end-stage dementia patients who otherwise sat mute in their wheelchairs.

Read more here:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Firefighters Save 2 Rabbits in Oregon

A firefighter/paramedic with the Estacada Fire District, holds a rabbit crews rescued from a shop fire southeast of this small town in Oregon on the highway to Mt. Hood. (Photo Credit: Estacada Fire District).

In UK a Family of Rabbits Rewrites History Books

Land’s End one of the UK's most popular tourist attractions and even more so because of newly discovered archaeological finds from the Bronze Age. The irony is that it wasn't university trained archaeologists who brought the artifacts to light.  It was Oryctolagus cuniculus better known as the European Rabbit - the wild version of all our domesticated rabbits.

The bunnies were starting a new warren at the site last year and began digging up things that were similar to ancient human tools.  It turns out the objects dated back about 5,000 years and the dig revealed a grave, burial mounds, a hill fort and other treasures.  The human archaelogists called it a "goldmine" and "one of the most important archaeological finds ever uncovered in Cornwall."  (Photo: a domesticated rabbit, Bungee, doing what he does best - starting a backyard warren.)