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.