Besides being an important religious holiday, Easter inspires numerous traditions, including Easter egg hunts, Easter parades, Easter fashions, and, perhaps the biggest tradition of all, the Easter Bunny. At some point in history, people stepped beyond the mythical Easter Bunny to give living bunnies to children for Easter. For the past several years, many rabbit enthusiasts have fought against this tradition. Why? To save rabbit lives.
Rabbit Rescues Against Buying Live Rabbits For Easter
One of the best-known efforts to prevent gifting live rabbits at Easter began in 2002 by the Columbus House Rabbit Society. The Make Mine Chocolate campaign celebrates 15 years in 2017. The idea behind it is simple: Instead of giving a live rabbit, give a child a chocolate rabbit or a toy rabbit. It spreads the word through its website and the Make Mine Chocolate Facebook page.
Other rabbit rescues also act to discourage rabbit adoptions for Easter. This includes creating their own memes or fliers on the topic, or simply sharing those of others. Some, like the Columbus House Rabbit Society, create a full-fledged campaign. The Rabbitron Facebook page states that it educates people about rabbits and creates a yearly media campaign that includes billboards and more to educate people not to buy rabbits for Easter.
Space Coast Animal Rights in Florida is in the third year of its campaign against Easter pets, which includes both bunnies and chicks. Its website and hashtag #NotJust4Easter spreads the word on social media. USA Today ran an article recently with more details about this effort.
Bandaids For Bunnies, a group in British Columbia that helps rabbits abandoned on the streets or in parks, posted several memes to its Bandaids For Bunnies Facebook page summarizing why buying live rabbits for Easter isn’t a good idea.
Other Groups Against Live Rabbits For Easter
These days, stores are even joining the movement. A large pet store chain in the United Kingdom and some other pet stores have pledged to put a temporary halt on rabbit adoptions for the Easter weekend.
Another example of the message getting out through organizations other than rabbit rescues is a meme posted by the Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program.
The House Rabbit Society’s Easter Rabbit Stance
The organization with perhaps the most to say is the national House Rabbit Society. It amps up its efforts to educate people about rabbits so they can make an informed decision about whether to add the furry pet to the family. For Easter, it promotes plush bunnies, chocolate bunnies, or books about bunnies instead of live bunnies. It notes that “This common misunderstanding of rabbits as easy pets leads to many impulse purchases of bunnies during Easter time followed by the surrender of many bunnies to animal shelters shortly after Easter.”
What To Expect From Rabbit Ownership
An impulse purchase of a live rabbit is something everyone should avoid. Rabbits are wonderful pets when you know what to expect from them and your lifestyle meets with their needs.
- If you want a cuddly pet for a year or two, rabbits are not the pet for you. That’s because most don’t enjoy being held and their life span is usually 10 years.
- If you want a rabbit for a young child and expect the child to care for it, a rabbit is not the pet to add to your family. Young children often lack the coordination and understanding to handle rabbits correctly or prevent startling them. It’s also never a good idea to put the responsibility of feeding and caring for a pet solely on the shoulders of a young child.
- If you want a pet that never needs to visit the veterinarian, forget rabbits. Actually, forget any pet, because any pet might need veterinary care at some point.
- The cost of rabbit ownership is another factor, and the ASPCA put together a PDF comparing first-year costs of several types of pets. Rabbits came in fifth place costing a total of $802.80 for the first year. Ahead of rabbits were large dogs, medium dogs, small dogs, and cats. Their costs ranged from $2,008.31 to $1,174.
The Easter Message About Rabbits
One of the messages of Easter is of renewal/rebirth. Rabbit rescues want all rabbits to get a fresh start at a loving, forever home. The goal of the Easter campaigns isn’t to prevent rabbit adoptions in general. The goal is to prevent impulse purchases of live rabbits for young children.