Friday, December 11, 2009

Why neutering is only part of the answer

Caroline, who runs the Rabbit Residence where most of our rescued rabbits are fostered, always asks people who hand in rabbits for rehoming to complete a questionnaire. This has shown that at least 90% of surrendered rabbits originated via pet shop purchases. Some of these were the offspring of pet shop rabbits who had produced unexpected litters, either through incorrect sex identification or because of other errors, such as not realising how early rabbits become mature enough to breed.

Encouraging people who acquire rabbits as pets to keep them in neutered pairs would help to reduce the amount of reproduction due to human error (and greatly improve the rabbits welfare by providing them with companionship). However Caroline's evidence seems to show that it would have only a limited effect on addition to the total pet rabbit population as it wouldn't reduce the number of purpose-bred rabbits acquired through impulse purchases and then discarded to rescues when the purchasers find that keeping rabbits is hard work.

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