Thursday, March 15, 2012

Respect The Rabbit - Easter Amnesty Program

It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that Easter can be a difficult time for rabbit rescue groups.  Every year we see rabbits who are purchased as impulse gifts for the holiday, and then neglected or discarded when the novelty wears off.  New rabbit owners are often ill-informed about proper rabbit care and the need for spaying or neutering.  The lucky ones are turned into Red Door or other rescue organizations, but too many are dumped in the wild under the mistaken impression that they will survive.

That's why we are excited about this year's new 'Respect The Rabbit' campaign!

   Through press releases, radio spots, and posters we are working to spread our message about rabbit education!

No Greg, that's not what we meant ...

"We want the public to become more familiar with rabbits and educate them on proper care" says Rabbit Adoption Coordinator Toni Greetis.  "Most people think of rabbits as low maintenance starter pets who only live for a couple of years. Red Door wants rabbits to have the same level respect that is given to dogs and cats. the more people know about rabbits, the less likely they are to make impulse purchases."

Stores participating in the Amnesty program agree not to sell any rabbits between April 1st and April 15th, and to display our poster in their store. 

The Amnesty simply prevents people from buying a rabbit on impulse just because it looks cute cuddly and fluffy. But the Amnesty also works to raise awareness of rabbit welfare issues. It is an idea opportunity for retailers to openly demonstrate how they take their animal care responsibilities seriously - and are both able and willing to put animal welfare before commercial profit. The Amnesty is also a great way of engaging customers, forging long-term relationships with customers and the local community through positive action...From the retailers perspective, acustomer who gives the rabbit up after a few weeks or months is only a very small and short-term financial benefit. A customer who is truly committed to the long-term care of their rabbit can be a great customer for 10 years or more!

  (from the program intro packet)

Over a dozen pet stores were approached, and we are pleased to announce that  The Animal Store  and Wilmette Pet Center have teamed up with us as part of this new campaign.  Each store will be featured in an upcoming blog entry, and we encourage you to choose them for your pet supply needs and to let them know how much you appreciate their taking part in this campaign. 


Pet Lover said...

Why are they not letting people to buy Rabbits ?

Red Door Animal Shelter said...

Many rabbits are purchased around Easter on impulse, for a "cute" Easter gift for children.

But rabbits live on average 8-10 years with proper care, so these impulse-buns are often forgotten or neglected in a few months. Many are "set free" in the mistaken idea that they can survive in the wild. The lucky ones make it into shelters and rescues (we usually see a huge spike in dumps and surrenders about 2 months after Easter every year).

We at Red Door advocate the responsible ownership of rabbits, with the full knowledge of their habits and care. We are not telling people NOT to buy rabbits, but to stop and think before they do, and perhaps to consider adopting a rescued bun. We believe that this two-week amnesty period will help cut down on the impulse purchasers and educate people about the needs of these wonderful animals.

If people really are interested in having a rabbit as a pet, and are willing to do the research and take the responsibility, then we welcome them to come back in mid-April, when we will be happy to help them with resources and care information.