Monday, December 13, 2010

Rabbits need lifelong care

Rabbits need lifelong care

Being fragile creatures, they are not suited to being cared for by kids
05:55 AM Dec 13, 2010
Letter from Jacelyn Heng President, House Rabbit Society Singapore

I refer to the report on "Don't buy bunnies on impulse: SPCA."

I wish to urge members of the public not to buy a pet rabbit on impulse during the upcoming Year of the Rabbit. Having a rabbit - or any pet - is a life commitment and owners have to be prepared to take on the responsibility of feeding, caring and spending time with their pet.

The House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS)receives three to five emails per week from owners who need to give up their rabbits, citing reasons like a lack of time, children losing interest, development of allergies, arrival of a newborn, and so on.

These problems occurred because people often have this serious misconception that rabbits are low maintenance animals and are great pets for children.

On the contrary, rabbits require as much, if not more work than a pet dog or cat. As rabbits are highly fragile animals and need mature individuals to understand their unique needs and gentle way to handle them, they are not suitable for children.

Children often want something they can cuddle and play with, and a rabbit is not suited to do any of these.

Children also have short attention spans, and it is unreasonable for them to understand and take care of a rabbit for the duration of its 10-year life. Parents need to understand that they, and not the child, should be made the primary caregivers of the pet rabbit.

Another serious misconception is that setting their rabbit "free" (in parks and reservoirs) is doing them a service.

Domesticated rabbits cannot and will not survive in the wild and will end up dying slow painful deaths.

More than 1,000 rabbits are abandoned in Singapore every year. Domestic pets lack the survival instincts to fend for themselves. They must never be abandoned in public parks or other open areas.

The "lucky" ones that don't get eaten by predators get run over by cars or die from heat or disease. If one can no longer keep their pet, they should try to find a new home for it, or at least contact an animal welfare group for assistance. Pet abandonment, which is a crime where a person found guilty can be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months, should never be an option.

If you think you would enjoy sharing your home with a rabbit and are ready for the commitment, please choose to adopt over buying. You can adopt one from SPCA or from an HRSS foster home. There are too many healthy and sweet natured rabbits in need of a good home.

Let's make the upcoming Year of the Rabbit a real enjoyable time for our rabbits.