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Four Reasons to NEVER Buy a Bunny as an Easter Gift

Animal Justice March 28, 2018

Easter is just around the corner, and with it comes family gatherings, chocolate, Easter egg hunts and gifts. It’s also a time of year when local animal rescue groups brace for the impact of thousands of people buying bunnies as gifts for children. Tragically, many of the rabbits are abandoned in the weeks after Easter, once families begin to realize that caring for a rabbit is a major commitment. We break down why giving a bunny as a gift is a terrible idea.

1. Companion animals should never be bought or adopted on impulse

Rabbits are incredible animals, but there are many questions to consider and prepare for before bringing a rabbit into the family. Many families aren’t prepared for the responsibility of pet ownership, and the joy of a new rabbit can quickly wear off. A rabbit’s lifespan is 8-12 years, and if a family loses interest, the bunny could suffer years of neglect. Rabbits are sensitive animals, and don’t make good pets for small children. A child’s enthusiasm and handling can be stressful for rabbits or even injure them. Rather than viewing rabbits and other pets as consumer items, it’s important to understand that they are individuals.

2. Rabbits have complex needs

Caring properly for a rabbit can be complex. Rabbits are high-maintenance pets with many specific physical and emotional needs. Rabbits may suffer from boredom and depression if they are kept in cages, so they need many hours of free-roaming time and mental stimulation every day in a spacious, rabbit-proof area. If an area isn’t rabbit-proofed, rabbits may chew items. Rabbits also require a diet rich in hay and fresh vegetables.

3. Many rabbits bought for Easter will end up dead or abandoned before their first birthday

Tragically, it’s all too common for people to dispose of rabbits once the responsibility of their care sets in and the excitement of Easter weekend wears off. Many rabbits will be brought to animal shelters, end up confined in outdoor hutches, or simply be abandoned. Bunnies who are released into the wild usually die from starvation, the elements or from predators.

4. Buying from pet stores supports bunny mills

Just like in puppy mills, bunnies are often bred in large facilities where their welfare is not respected. Bunny mills force rabbits to live their entire lives as breeding machines confined in cages, with no ability to roam, enjoy being with their families, or perform natural behaviours.

Babies are often taken from their mothers too early, at only a few weeks of age, because they look cute and take up less space in pet stores.

Meanwhile, shelters are overflowing with loving animals, including rabbits, who need forever homes. Purchasing rabbits from pet stores and breeders condemns rabbits in shelters and rescues to death, increasing euthanasia rates of healthy, adoptable pets.

Try these alternatives instead

Who doesn’t like chocolate, especially over Easter? Try gifting a plush toy or a dairy-free chocolate Easter bunny!

Bring your child to an animal sanctuary or volunteer at an animal shelter with them. These are great places to interact with animals, to teach children about different animals, and how to properly care for and respect them as individuals, not consumer items.

 

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Animal Justice

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4 Reasons to NEVER Buy a Bunny as an Easter Gift

Animal Justice March 28, 2018

Easter is just around the corner, and with it comes family gatherings, chocolate, Easter egg hunts and gifts. It’s also a time of year when local animal rescue groups brace for the impact of thousands of people buying bunnies as gifts for children. Tragically, many of the rabbits are abandoned in the weeks after Easter,… Read more » Animal Justice

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How to Protect Dogs Left in Hot Cars This Summer

Animal Justice, Dogs May 29, 2017

After a long winter and rainy spring, the weather is finally heating up in Canada. But when the temperature rises, so too can the risk to animal safety. Animals can suffer in hot weather just like we do. Although it is becoming socially unacceptable to leave animals alone in cars, far too many animals—especially dogs—still die from overheating every year after being left unattended, locked in vehicles.

It’s illegal to cause suffering / distress to animals under federal criminal laws as well as provincial statutes, and some cities have their own bylaws protecting animals from abuse. Cars can heat up incredibly quickly even on mild days, and while some might think that rolling down the window a crack is fine, it does little to pets protects from suffering and dying in the heat.

Why are pets so vulnerable to hot weather? When people get too hot, we have the luxury of being able to sweat to cool our bodies down. But for dogs, panting is their only effective way to cool off. A dog’s body temperature rises quickly, but in a hot car panting does nothing to alleviate the heat. Consider this: A dog’s resting body temperature is 39° C; when it hits 41° C, the dog can only withstand this heat for a few minutes before suffering from permanent brain damage and eventually death.

So, what can you do to help a dog trapped in a hot car?

First, know the signs of heat distress. Some panting is normal for dogs, but if a dog is unresponsive, has their lips pulled back, is panting heavily, has bright red or purple gums, or a swollen tongue, they are experiencing heat distress and need immediate attention.

Next, call the authorities—your municipal animal protection agency, the provincial SPCA or humane society, and the police.  You should also take notes of the time you saw the animal, the location, vehicle model, colour, and license plate. It’s also worth going into nearby shops to try to find the owner and get the car opened.

What if you decide to break the car window yourself? It’s illegal to damage another person’s property in Canada, so breaking a window could result in criminal charges. Some U.S. states have already passed laws that let a bystander break a window to rescue a pet in distress, but Canadian provinces have yet to follow suit. In the meantime, you can contact your provincial representatives and ask for better hot car laws in your province.

Leaving animals unattended in cars is never worth the risk, so please help get the word out! Let your friends and family know what to do if they spot a pet in this situation. Together, we can enjoy the warmer weather the right way, with our animal friends in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Justice

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