Posted: March 30, 2010, 4:00 p.m. EDT
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Rabbit and veterinary organizations caution that pet rabbits have special needs, and only people who can meet those needs should adopt them.
Rabbits are commonly associated with Easter, and some people even adopt live rabbits at this time. But more and more organizations are cautioning people against this trend, because so many pet rabbits are abandoned in the weeks or months afterward.
"Rabbits can be affectionate, intelligent pets," said Mark Nunez, DVM, president of the California Veterinary Medical Association. "However, as is true with any pet, potential owners need to take the time to consider what they are committing themselves to rather than act on impulse."
Before adopting a pet rabbit, the CVMA urges people to consider how it will change their life. Consider factors like the life span of the rabbit; its needs for the proper diet, exercise, habitat, veterinary care and training; and its need to have a responsible owner who educates himself or herself about rabbits and takes time to learn their own rabbit’s personality.
"Rabbits make wonderful companions for people who have done their research and are making a commitment to the long-term care of their rabbit," Nunez said. "Adopting a rabbit is a big decision and should not be made on the spur of the moment around Easter — it may be better to wait until after the holiday and make an informed decision."
An option to adopting a live rabbit for Easter is to get a chocolate one if the responsibility of a live rabbit is too much. That’s the idea behind the Make Mine Chocolate campaign. Started in 2002 by the Columbus House Rabbit Society, the Make Mine Chocolate campaign seeks to educate people about the needs of rabbits and break the cycle of adoption and relinquishment. And it all started with a pin in the shape of a chocolate rabbit!
Education is at the heart of most efforts to save rabbits from being adopted and then abandoned once the reality of caring for the rabbit sets in or its novelty wears off. Pet rabbits are living beings, not toys. The Bunny Bunch in Montclair, California, requests people to consider posting a flier that drives this point home.
The overall message? If you can’t provide for and commit to a pet rabbit for its lifetime, then a rabbit isn’t the pet for you.
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