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 accurate 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.
Sadly in recent years rabbit "rescuers" and their supporters have begun using social media such as Facebook to harass rabbit breeders, farmers, and anyone else they disagree with. This harassment includes stealing photos from personal facebook pages and using them on websites created to harass and intimidate breeders, posting lies and false information on such websites, going to legitimate business websites and leaving negative reviews without just cause, falsely reporting breeders and farmers to animal control, bullying pet owners who purchase or tried to purchase from rabbit "rescues" had a problem and left a negative review of their business. The targets even include youth breeders.
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. Sadly at this time there are practically no rabbit "rescuers" or "rescue" groups who do not engage in breeder bashing or inaccurate rabbit care information. If you know of any please let us know.
The Rabbit Education Society has learned that rabbit "rescues" purchase rabbits raised for meat, rabbits directly from show breeders, as well as purchase rabbits at auctions to resell as pets often under false pretenses (pretending to be a legitimate buyer). The RES opposes rabbit "rescue" filling up their "rescues" with rabbits from these sources. We also question the practice of trolling craigslist for freebies to market as "adoptable" pets. The purpose of "rescue" was suppose to be to save rabbits in shelters. If they purchase rabbits they are no longer "rescues" they are used pet dealers. You cannot say an "overpopulation" exists when you purchase rabbits and resell them as pets when they were never intended to enter the pet rabbit market.
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 and burdensome .
The Rabbit Education Society does not believe a pet rabbit "overpopulation" exists. There is no reliable information proving an overpopulation of pet rabbits even exists. And given the widespread practice of rabbit "rescue, both individuals and organizations PURCHASING meat rabbits, auction rabbits, and rabbits direct from show and pet breeders obviously there aren't enough rabbits in the shelter system to "rescue". 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:
The Rabbit Overpopulation Myth discusses the lack of accurate information about abandoned rabbits and the practice of rabbit "rescue" of making up "statistics". There is no central reporting agency for rabbit shelter data and other than what the Rabbit Education Society has on this website regarding shelter surveys and data nobody has numbers or statistics. What you read about coming from rabbit "rescue" groups and individuals is made up, lies. It's the rabbit "rescue" agenda to get people to believe in an "overpopulation crisis" so they can get restrictive laws passed banning rabbit breeders and giving "rescue" a monopoly on pet rabbit sales.
The Rabbit Education also wants all shelters and rabbit "rescue" organizations and individuals to publicly reveal what their return rate is.
We have learned that rabbits are sold or if you prefer "adopted" out by shelters and rabbit "rescue only to be returned to the shelter or "rescue" or abandoned elsewhere. This may be widespread, it seems to be rabbit "rescues" best kept secret. We realize you would rather not let the public know your return rate because it acknowledges your role in perpetuating the shelter cycle. But hiding it doesn't make it less of a reality. Statements by rabbit "rescue" reveal that they believe the problem is much worse than the return rate of shelter dogs. The A$PCA estimates that rate is 20%. So when it comes to rabbits rabbit "rescue" over 25% (or even higher) of rabbits in shelters and rescues originated in a shelter or rescue.
Rabbits Used For Meat
The Rabbit Education Society supports the use of rabbits as meat. We think most everyone realizes rabbits were domesticated as a meat source and have continued to be used as both food and pet. This is an important use because rabbits are prey animals so they are geared toward fast reproduction to ensure a food source for animals If we cease using rabbits as food there really will be an "overpopulation" crisis. One need only look at what happened with horses when the H$U$ succeeded in banning their use as meat. Today there is no market for horses and alot of suffering. Horse "rescue" centers are overloaded and unable to adequately care for horses. If we were to ban the use of rabbits as meat there would be no suitable legitimate and humane outlet for them. Eventually all breeding would have to be ended and then we would lose all our wonderful breeds and varieties as well as cease any future pet rabbits. Of course this is what animal rights fanatics want but the rest of society doesn't. Nobody is forcing anyone to use rabbits as meat or eat them so please be respectful of those who do use rabbits for food.
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 some 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.
The Rabbit Education Society opposes pet store bans on rabbits. Some local governments are passing bans on where pet store stock is obtained, limiting it to only shelters and "rescues". However it is an established fact that all over the US many rabbit "rescues" are purchasing meat rabbits, rabbits at auctions, and direct from show and pet breeders to resell. They label it "adoption" and then insanely state that when a pet store ban is passed one can't "purchase" rabbits but rather "adopt" them. If money changes hands in order to obtain a pet it does not matter if you call it an "adoption fee" or not it is still a SALE. It is ridiculous to limit the choice of where a pet store obtains rabbits to sell. A "rescue" or a shelter are merely used pet dealers and should be regulated by the USDA for selling to pet stores.
RES Report on "Rabbit Mill" Myths. Once again alot of the information Online is made up and propaganda to further an agenda of eliminating all animal use. Information about pet stores and so called "mills" is usually inaccurate and this document will provide you with factual information as well as a definition of a substandard rabbit breeder
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.
However we also believe veterinarians as well as rabbit "rescue" be honest about the risks of spay/neuter. One of the risks is scar tissue leading to chronic and serious GI stasis. Rabbit breeders do not see GI stasis as much as pet owners with s/n rabbits. This is a serious complication of s/n and pet owners deserve to know. Also s/n does not eliminate in all cases behavior problems so it should not be marketed as a cure all.
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.