Welfare organisations now understand well what rabbits need for their welfare to be best met. However, this knowledge has far from been adopted by the general public at large. There is still a huge gap between the general public’s traditional view of rabbit keeping and the modern day view held by welfare organisations and the Rabbit Welfare community. New figures from the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) the UK’s leading authority on rabbit welfare reveals that at least 67,000 abandoned rabbits pass through UK rescue shelters each year.
"What is really worrying," said Richard Saunders, RWAF Veterinary Expert Advisor, "is that this number only reflects the cases where the rabbits have made it into rescue. We can't possibly quantify how many more are dumped in the wild and left to fend for themselves, which leads to almost certain death, by the way. Then there are those who, when the novelty has worn off, are simply neglected and left often in a hutch with no access to exercise space and almost no attention except for a handful of food now and again." The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund
In their press release (Nov 2012) the RWAF give a clear message: “Rabbits are not the cheap and easy children's pet that they are often mistaken as being. They are as big a commitment as a cat or dog, and people should think long and hard, and do their research before taking them on. And even longer and harder before they decide to breed 'just one litter' from their pets, all of which will then need to find homes. If you can't commit to providing rabbits with the space, companionship, vet care and proper diet for ten years or more, then rabbits are not for you.” The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund