Did you know we are in the middle of a rabbit rescue crisis?
Rabbits are all too often purchased without proper thought and consideration into what it takes to keep a rabbit, couple this with irresponsible breeding and selling of rabbits, the result is rescues are being overwhelmed with requests for surrenders, door stop drop offs and welfare rescues. Many rescues now choose to keep their address concealed to avoid door stop drops due to already being overrun. Many rabbits who find themselves in rescues have not been neutered either due to being used for breeding or the previous owners lack of understanding. Neutering rabbits is now an essential part of what rescues do, spaying and castration are costly procedures however they are entirely necessary to help manage the pet rabbit population. Rabbits are unique creatures which have evolved to reproduce quickly. Rabbits can become pregnant within hours of giving birth and with each pregnancy only lasting a month and producing anywhere from five to eight Kitts - rabbits can multiple fast if they are not neutered!
Rabbits are fast becoming known as the "forgotten pet" often bought as a "starter pet" for children or picked up on a whim. Many owners soon find the reality of rabbit care is far from simple. Rabbits require plenty of space for zoomies, a Bun-panion as well as lots of enrichment. Not only that but they need time dedicated for cleaning their homes, daily feeding schedules, grooming and regular vet appointments - it's not just a fluffy butt and golden poops!
In 2021 the RSPCA reported a 28% increase in rabbit intakes from the previous year. This year there has been a 77% increase in rabbit adverts online, which the Rabbit Welfare association has linked to the rabbit crisis. The RSPCA has seen a 33% decrease in people wanting to adopt rabbits which is also compounding the issue and creating a bottleneck in rescues who are having to rely more and more on donations and volunteers for long term fostering.
We are fully supporting the RSPCA's and RWAF's ethos of "Adopt,Don't Shop" for rabbits and all small animals. When you shop for a small pet you are supporting further breeding of these animals. Currently there is no legislation for breeding of rabbits in the UK which means all too often rabbits are used for breeding from relative infancy, with the breeding pairs being kept in poor conditions, in small hutches or crates with no room for exercise or access to the right foods, vet services. A healthy rabbit should live to be 8-10 years old however rabbits used for breeding in the UK have a much shorter life expectancy and that short life is extremely limited often resulting in health issues such a tooth decay, mobility issues and respiratory & digestive health problems.
We are trying to do our bit at Little Hay Co to ensure we are helping rescues around the country with keeping their buns fed with good quality hay and treats. We have set up an Rescue initiative which gives rescues 40% off all of our products. Further to this we have enabled the You Pay app on our website so Rescues can set up carts ready for their supporters to purchase on their behalf. We are running a series of "Rescue Spotlight" posts on our social media pages to draw attention to each rescue we support.
So if you are thinking about adding to your family in the furry friend variety, please be sure to do your research first, reach out to local rescues who are ready to give sound advice as well as have ample supply of cute buns ready for their forever homes. If you are not looking to expand your Fluffle but want to help the crisis, we have linked some of our favourite Rabbit Rescues below.