About the Rabbits
Our comfort rabbits are super sweet and we are so blessed to be able to help with their care and to help protect the environment through our island projects.
We will not be able to answer all your questions, but we hope this helps to clarify some messages we think are important.
Caleb found 362 rabbits on Craigslist just in Minneapolis-Saint Paul right after Easter, along with rescues that were mostly to completely full. He wanted to stop the pet abandonment cycle before people bring one home through opportunities for education. This project grew out of this motivation.
1) Considering a Pet Rabbit?
Do your Research. Volunteer with a rescue. Foster First if possible.
A huge percentage of our rabbits that now have a FUREVER home with us were surrendered or abandoned. Why? Lots of reasons, some spoken, some not. Life change: moving, kids, new pets. Not a good match. Unknown allergies. "No time and feel guilty." Tired of cleaning cages. Kids not interested. Rabbits poop. Avoiding medical bills. Old. Chewed something. Getting a dog.
Good intentions apparently are not enough.
Many were brought home on impulse, so we encourage people to make informed decisions. The Rescues and the House Rabbit Society provide great resource for meeting people committed to raising pet rabbits indoors. Check our their materials. Spend time with pet rescues: find out if you or a family member is allergic to rabbit and/or sensitive to hay/grass/dust which often goes with their feed or litter. Find out if rabbits are the right pet for you and how to be the right person for your pet.
First: Are you a pet person?
Second: Are you a rabbit person?
Third: Is this particular rabbit a good fit for you and your family at this time and in your particular housing?
2) Please don't give a pets as a gift.
I know it's unfair that they are so cute! And at first it may feel like you'd be the best parent or friend ever to give an animal for a present. But that takes "informed decision making" out of the equation for what may be a ten year commitment for the person who received the rabbit. That doesn't set the person or the rabbit up for success. As alternatives, give a stuffed animal, go with them to volunteer with an animal nonprofit, choose to pet sit or foster together. There are plenty of ways to get involved with reputable rescues or organizations and share your love of bunnies.
3) FUREVER HOME.
Our program includes many rabbits that aren't showable/competitive, or that do not choose to participate in our comfort rabbit programs or animals. But rabbits in our program have a FUREVER home. Please spay/neuter pets that are rescues.
So why do we have baby bunnies in our program from time to time?
A) We are often able to take in pregnant & new moms with their babies.
B) No we don't take in wild rabbits. They go to the wildlife rescue.
C) Rare, exotic and heritage breed rabbits have a special place in our hearts. They are often the largest and fluffiest of the breeds.
In transparency, we are part of a larger program that does allow very limited breeding with purebred pedigreed rabbit breeds, especially those listed with the Livestock Conservancy and the rarest breeds listed with ARBA including: American, Beveren, American Chinchilla, Blanc de Hotot, Silver Fox, and Silver Marten. Think of us as a biodiversity ark to help make sure that certain breeds to do not disappear, especially with very real risks to their survival such as RHDV2.
No, we do not breed in order to sell our rabbits and our comfort rabbits are guaranteed a forever home with us. Just like other organizations, we do what we can to prevent unwanted baby rabbits that would likely grow up to be unwanted adult rabbits.
4) EDUCATION - PREVENTION FOCUS
We believe that the key to stopping the pet abandonment cycle is respectful education. There's nothing like engaging with a rabbit to being to appreciate how much you don't know about rabbits. We are pleased to share time with our comfort rabbits, but only when they want to engaged with others. Conversely, we respect their choice when they don't want to interact with us or want to stop, allowing them to opt out. Not every rabbit is a good fit for our program, and that is why we are not a rescue that accepts every rabbit that people want to drop off. Rescues address one end of the abandonment chain and we address another and together we can help prevent the preventable.
The youth volunteers are very effective in sharing with their peers about how special the rabbits are as a species , as individuals, and as representatives of different breeds. It feels really great to know that we have helped prevent impulse rabbit buying and helped other families keep the rabbits they already have in their home. Some groups have different stats, different focus or methods, but together we can reach more people with the key messages that are very similar. Everyone with rabbits has something they have learned and has something to learn. We love creating that space for discussion.
5) We welcome your insight. We continue to work with several veterinarians, vet techs, public & environmental health professionals & professors, and animal scientists who specialize in rabbits. We are so grateful to the team of experts who have been advising us on this project to keep the environment, the rabbits, and our volunteers safe. We know that people who love animals may disagree with each other. Even with the same values, sometimes we approach the same goals differently. We welcome you to email / share your insights with us.
No program or organization is perfect and we continue to strive to "do better." Constructive criticism makes things better for everyone and we remain open to hearing your perspective. We remain optimistic that rabbit organizations and experts will work together focused on kindness. And we're glad you're along for the journey.
Blue Beveren (Austria)
White Beveren (Blue eyes)