Easter Bunny: Major impulsive purchase

It's almost Easter gang! This holiday which celebrates the return of Christ, but also charming little chicks and fluffy bunnies. I can already see families going to small shopping center farms to pet all these little animals, so cute. So your children have fallen in love with the rabbits there. As you pass in front of the pet store window, you see some very cute little rabbits. The children beg you to go pet them, “just to see them”. The pet store advisor tells you “how easy it is to take care of them”. And, in no time at all, rabbit in a cage, arms overflowing with all the “essentials” to please the children, we board the car. Without knowing it, you have just made yourself the stereotype of the person who is poorly informed about rabbits. -100 points for Gryffindor.

You couldn't have known, what you're going to tell me. Well now you know. My goal here is not to lecture you. But to make you aware of the phenomenon of the “abandoned rabbit”, because a large majority of rabbits adopted during the Easter period end up in a shelter, or even worse, outside. We tend to innocently believe that the rabbit would be happy since he would be “free outside”. However, this is the cruelest option to consider. The domestic rabbit, far from the wild rabbit, will have a very minimal chance of survival outside. Easy prey for numerous predators. So option A turns out to be the best solution – abandonment in a shelter – but we still want to inform you enough so that you don't end up with that. We see a lot of rabbits passing through ALSA – nearly 250 to 300 per year – who are taken care of by a team of volunteers and foster families. Many come from abandonments, but some also come from pounds for rabbits found wandering outside. They are often full of mites, wounds, and sometimes even more serious parasites. They require a lot of veterinary care, which the shelter absorbs to help them. Others don't even have the chance to come back inside because they get hit by a car, or grabbed by a predator. So yes, abandoning your rabbit outside is a very cruel act.

Here is a rabbit who arrived at the shelter following an abandonment in the woods, filled with parasites.

The rabbit is now the 3rd most popular pet in Quebec homes. However, it does not require the same care as a dog or a cat. Much less vocal, it is the perfect companion for people who cannot have a dog due to barking. You should know, however, that rabbits need to chew, so yes they don't bark, but they still make noise. Also, the rabbit comes with its share of responsibilities. Regular litter change, suitable environment, fresh food (vegetables) every day. Some people adopt thinking that a rabbit lives in a cage, which is a real misconception of their basic needs. The rabbit needs to stretch out and be able to run at ease. It can very well be your couch companion even.

Small cages are very bad, even in the short term, because they can develop behavioral problems in many rabbits. Just like dogs and cats, it is strongly recommended to have your rabbit sterilized. In fact, in females, this eliminates a very high case of mortality from uterine cancer. This also prevents excess hormones and the not always pleasant character that comes with it. This also very often allows your rabbit to be clean in the litter box. You should know that a sterilized rabbit has a longer lifespan, which is around 8 to 12 years. So yes, have your rabbit sterilized.

Do you still want to adopt a rabbit? Alright Alright! Who will you turn to now? It is important to know that a rabbit coming from a pet store or a breeder will not be sterilized (unless there is an exception). Do you know that the cost of a sterilization is around $300 for a male, and up to 500$ for a female? It's a lot of money, but it's important if you care about your rabbit's well-being.

At the ALSA shelter, the adoption fees for a rabbit are $200 (male) and $225 (female), sterilization included. In addition, we have a team of experts who are there to support you in your adoption journey, and to answer your questions afterwards. In addition, it is important to mention that when you adopt from a shelter, you give a second hope to a rabbit who has not had the chance to have found his forever family.

My goal here is not to discourage you from adopting a rabbit, far from it. He could very well be your best companion. My goal is rather to make you aware of the responsibilities that adopting a rabbit entails. Now, when you pass Easter farms, with lots of little bunnies available for adoption, you'll know that most will either be released into the parks, fighting for their lives, or stuck in a cage far too small for them, bored to death, or dropped off in a box at a shelter near you because they were “too high maintenance”. And you will ask yourself if you really want to encourage an industry that prefers profit to the life of a small living being. If you too find that it is cruel and immoral, that you have learned a lot by reading this article and that you will continue to think before adopting impulsively, I will give you back your 100 points for Gryffindor.

Volunteer columnist and mother of Alice the Rabbit