Anne Boxhall Column June 24th 2018..
Rabbits are now rated as one of the top five companion animals in Australia. Thousands of homes have rabbits as a valued and loved part of the family.
Veterinary science tells us rabbits are intelligent, communicative and sensitive. They bond to their human families, can differentiate between humans and recognise words such as ‘treat’ and ‘come’.
As the popularity of rabbits grows, who knew these same pet breeds are intensively farmed for meat. Like battery hens, they are confined to suffer in wire cages so small they can’t stand up or stretch out. A report into Australia’s rabbit meat industry released last year by researcher Dr Reem Lascelles highlights our general lack of awareness about farmed rabbits and the cruelness of this industry.
Perhaps the great divide between pet rabbits, wild rabbits and farmed rabbits has made it easier to turn a blind eye. There has been no humane legislative response to practices which ignore even the most basic welfare standards around housing, handling, and slaughter.
Remember there is no difference between rabbits who are eaten and pet rabbits who are loved by many. Many individuals and groups work hard to get rabbits out of meat farms. In Tasmania, Big Ears Animal Sanctuary purchased an operating meat rabbit farm to rescue 300 ex-meat rabbits.
Some rabbits were so sick they were beyond saving, others needed treatment for infections and abscesses before being desexed, vet checked and adopted. However, meat rabbit farming continues in Penguin and other locations in all states except Queensland.
To help raise awareness or join the campaign to bring an end to this industry, visit downtherabbitholes.org Dr Lascelles’ full report into the rabbit meat industry can be accessed at eversanctuary.org
Here is the link :