A mother and father purchase a baby male Holland Lop to put in their 6 year old daughter’s Easter basket. On Easter day, little Samantha sees the rabbit sitting in a bright pink basket amongst various colored plastic eggs- Samantha is giddy with excitement! The baby bunny’s soft fur, little paws, big ears, and his twitching nose are delightful to behold! The curious bunny hops out of the basket and he begins to explore the living room. Samantha wants to pet the bunny, so she begins chasing him throughout the room. The terrified bunny darts about the room, but he soon finds himself trapped in a corner. Little Samantha reaches down and clumsily picks up the tiny bunny. The bunny desperately wants to escape from Samantha’s grasp, so he kicks his legs as hard as he can until she releases him. The bunny flies through the air and falls to the ground with a loud thump. The horrified parents see that the bunny’s hind leg is dangling from underneath him.
The veterinarian tells the family that the bunny has a broken hind leg and that it is going to cost between 500-1500 dollars for the rabbit to be treated depending upon if the x-rays show that he will need surgery. The dejected family asks the doctor to wrap the leg without setting it, then they take the bunny to a local animal shelter where they drop him off. As they are driving away, Samantha asks her parents, “Why are we leaving Thumper behind?”. The mother and father solemnly tell Samantha that they cannot keep the rabbit and that he has “Gone to a better place”. Little Samantha clings onto her stuffed bear, buries her head in his synthetic fur, then sobs the entire way home. Meanwhile, two exhausted volunteers from the shelter look in the box and see the injured rabbit. They sigh, contact their vet, then one of them takes the rabbit to get treated. It is the eleventh rabbit that has arrived and they are expecting hundreds of more abandoned and injured “Easter” bunnies to arrive for weeks to come. As the two volunteers are leaving the shelter, one woman says to the other woman, “Do you think it will be better next year?”, the other woman disconcertedly replies, “For the sake of the rabbits, I hope so”.
The story above is just one of the tragedies that happens during Easter time. Unfortunately, the novelty of owning a rabbit will eventually wear off for a lot of children and parents. Many neglected rabbits will eventually be released into the wild where they will die from dehydration, starvation, predation, or from a number of other horrors. Other abandoned rabbits will end up at shelters where the majority of unwanted Easter rabbits are euthanized.
When parents go to purchase a baby bunny for Easter, many don’t realize that owning a rabbit is big commitment. Rabbits live between 8-12 years and rabbits are not suitable pets for young children. Rabbits require copious fresh hay, fresh veggies, a limited amount of pellets, nail trimmings, brushings, toys to chew on, a bunny proofed play area, fresh water, and they must be spayed, or neutered to ensure that they do not mark your house or get testicular, or ovarian cancer. Rabbit owners must also learn how to properly handle a rabbit since rabbit’s bones are quite fragile. If dropped, or handled incorrectly, rabbits can be severely injured.
Please save the Easter bunnies this year and choose a plush, or a chocolate rabbit for your child. If you understand how to properly care for a rabbit and you would like to have one, there are thousands of sweet rabbits waiting in shelters for a forever family. You can visit www.bunnyworldfoundation.org for more information on adopting and caring for bunnies.
Written By. Heather Lei Hernandez
~Bunny World Foundation