June 2012 USDA Proposed Rule and it's Effect on Rabbit & Cavy Breeders
The USDA plans to change it's rules regarding who needs to be regulated. This impacts rabbit & cavy breeders because USDA plans to require every pet rabbit (or cavy) be sold from your property or you need a license. They also view sales of show/breeding stock between rabbit breeders as a "grey area", giving rabbit breeders a mixed message. They may view sales between breeders as regulated and restricted to $500 or less per year gross income. This will also impact sales at rabbit shows. If you sell any rabbits wholesale (i.e to a pet store or pet dealer) or to animal auctions, research, to exhibitors you will be restricted to the $500 per year gross income rule. This means sales of show/breeding stock to other breeders, wholesales, auction sales, etc would be limited to a total of $500 or less per year or you require a USDA license.
USDA is accepting comments on this rule by July 16, 2012. It is crucial that rabbit breeders (and cavy) respond. A document will be placed in this spot by June 11 that will go into greater detail on talking points and how this rule may impact you, plus how and where to send comments. Be sure to let every other rabbit or cavy breeder you come into contact with know about this proposed rule. If passed as is it will be a game changer for every rabbit and cavy breeder in the US.Any cavy breeder who wishes to may send me a document with how this rule would impact cavy breeders specifically and I will post it. I'm not a cavy expert so we need to hear from you cavy breeders.
NYS Bills:Several bills have been introduced which will have a negative impact on rabbit and cavy breeders both in and outside of NY state. Please voice your opposition to these bills. Included here is a brochure explaining the bills and 2 form letters to print out, sign, and send to the NY Senate Ag committee chair and the other to the NY Assembly Ag committee chair. For more information and petition information visit the New York State Animal Owners facebook page or join the NYASO yahoo group NYSAO yahoo group
We welcome breeders and pet owners interested in animal welfare, not animal rights. The idea for this group began in 1997 and the goal is to educate all rabbit fanciers and promote responsible rabbit ownership. We need other like minded people to join us and help educate the public. There is far too little rabbit information currently available and we want to change that. These pages will strive to be a source of accurate and complete pet rabbit care information. It will also be a source of information for breeders to pass onto their pet rabbit buyers and also serve to inform all about what is going on out in the rabbit world. At this time there are no membership fees, if you want to join send an e-mail. We welcome articles about pet rabbits and responsible ownership.
Animal Terrorism and Opposition to Breeding, Showing, and Commercial uses of Rabbits
The RES condemns acts of violence, harassment, and theft committed against rabbit breeders, fanciers, pet owners, commercial meat producers, and research facilities by those who object to legitimate and legal uses of rabbits. Although we respect the right of individuals to express their personal opinions we recognize that their right does not include preventing others from pursuing a lifestyle which differs from that opinion. The RES does not support individuals or groups who oppose the legal right of Americans to breed, show, or raise rabbits for commercial uses and believe in the right of individuals to pursue these activities without interference.
Rabbit Rescue Groups
The RES is not in opposition to rabbit rescue groups. The problem is many rabbit rescuers and groups are extremely anti-breeder and engage in breeder bashing, harassment, and distortion of facts and those people, groups, and practices is what RES opposes. RES does support those rescuers and rescue groups who are willing to find a middle ground to work with breeders and blame abandonment on the true culprit, irresponsible pet owners, as well as understand that breeders have much to offer regarding rabbit care knowledge and practices.
Legislation and Restrictive Breeding Ordinances
The RES supports reasonable legislation that is designed to protect the health and welfare of rabbits and is based on facts rather than animal rights propaganda. The RES opposes legislation that is designed to restrict or regulate the rights of responsible rabbit breeders, such legislation includes breeding licenses or permits, bans on breeding, number limits, mandatory spay/neuter laws, livestock classification for zoning, and licensing or differential fees. This sort of legislation has been proven to be ineffective in preventing pet abandonment and therefore unnecessary .
The RES does not recognize the term "overpopulation" as it is inaccurate and has not been proven to exist and is a word meant to stir the emotions and demonize rabbit breeders as a part of animal rights propaganda. The RES does recognize that a problem exists with irresponsible pet rabbit owners abandoning their pets in shelters or in the wild and that all rabbit fanciers should work towards educating the pet owning public. We believe the majority of rabbits abandoned are the result of irresponsible pet owners making impulsive decisions and not accepting the long term commitment of pet ownership. In addition due to shelters not keeping records or accurate records; and no central reporting agency; and worse groups or individuals making up "statistics" about rabbits; besides the RES estimate, no accurate or valid information about rabbit abandonment is available.Related link:
Minimum Age To Sell Baby Rabbits
The RES believes there should be a minimum age at which a rabbit should be sold as a pet or breeding/show stock. Selling a rabbit at a younger age could result in sickness and/or death for the animal and is not a good practice (See our pet store report for mortality rates based on weaning age). However we also recognize that any legislation aimed at setting minimum ages would be unenforceable. We also recognize that any minimum age set should take into account differing rates of maturity between different rabbit breeds. Most fancy breeds should have a minimum age of 8 weeks to sell as pet or show/breeding stock. However, some commercial breeds are able to safely be sold at 6 weeks of age or younger.
People must also realize that rabbits are technically weaned at 4 weeks of age. Due to mixing of terms a breeder may use the term "wean the babies" to mean remove the doe or it could be used to mean when they sell a rabbit. Breeders should try to be more accurate in the terms they use. The general public must realize that the process of weaning and the sale of a baby rabbit are two separate things and while weaning can be done at 4 weeks of age selling to pet owners is usually done later at 8 weeks. Sales between breeders can be safely done at an earlier age.
Commercial Breeding, "Rabbit/Bunny Mills" and Pet Store Sales
The RES is not opposed to the concept of commercial breeding, a large scale breeding of animals for the sole purpose of marketing as pets to the public. Obviously there is public demand for animals bred commercially and as there are licensing requirements on the federal level we believe that commercial breeding is not evil or wrong.
The RES recognizes that animal rights fanatics opposed to all animal use have created the term "mill" to describe anyone breeding commercially. We recognize that this term is used as a propaganda tool to turn the general public against commercial breeders who have committed no wrongs.
The RES recognizes that too many pet stores fail to provide accurate and complete pet rabbit care instructions, fail to practice good husbandry skills while rabbits are in their, and sell rabbits too young or incorrectly sex bunnies. Due to these factors the RES encourages rabbit breeders to avoid selling rabbits to pet stores unless the store provides good care information, good husbandry, discourages impulse buying, and is willing to work with the rabbit breeder to ensure the health and welfare of their for sale animals. The RES also encourages pet owners to buy a rabbit from a responsible rabbit breeder or a pet store that provides proper care and proper information to customers.
Spay and Neuter of Rabbits
The RES supports and recommends that pet rabbits be spayed and neutered when possible. We recognize the benefits of spaying and neutering include lessening aggression due to desire to breed, lessening or prevention of spraying and mounting activities, and decreases the risk of uterine cancer in does We dispute the inflated estimates given out by "rescue" groups" regarding uterine cancer risk. We also encourage animal shelters and rescue groups to encourage spay/neuter of rabbits they adopt out to prevent them from contributing to more abandoned rabbits. We recommend rabbit breeders encourage owners to spay/neuter pet rabbits. We also strongly encourage veterinarians to sponsor spay/neuter clinics, reduced rates on spay/neuter of rabbits.
Use In Research
The RES recognizes that animal research has yielded important and invaluable knowledge and medical treatment to humankind as well as benefiting veterinary medicine. Although we are opposed to unnecessary research used on animals including rabbits we do recognize that at this time some research can only be done using animal subjects. The RES does strongly encourage the humane treatment of animals used in research and providing for pain management.
The RES believes it is important to provide buyers of pedigreed stock with accurate and complete pedigree papers. This ensures an accurate record of the family line and care should be taken to draft accurate pedigrees and also to credit breeder's of the animals that appear on the pedigree (using rabbitry initials). RES believes it is unethical to alter pedigree information or to provide inaccurate pedigrees, or to promise a pedigree and not deliver it in a timely manner.