SSPCA warns: Don't buy rabbits as Easter gifts

The Scottish SPCA is advising people not to buy rabbits as Easter gifts for fear of a surge in abandonments.
Scottish SPCA has issued the warning ahead of Easter. Picture: Peter Devlin.Scottish SPCA has issued the warning ahead of Easter. Picture: Peter Devlin.
Scottish SPCA has issued the warning ahead of Easter. Picture: Peter Devlin.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity is warning that a rabbit is for life, not just for Easter and will not be rehoming any rabbits from any of their animal rescue and rehoming centres over the Easter weekend.

Scottish SPCA Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre Superintendent Sharon Comrie said, “Last year we rescued a staggering 668 pet rabbits across Scotland and this year is proving to be challenging as well, with 121 rabbits already taken in.

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“There are lots of loving rabbit owners who treat their pets like one of the family and give them all the care and attention they need but sadly this isn’t true in all cases.

“The biggest issue is rabbits being put in a hutch and left at the bottom of the garden, with many enduring a life of solitude and boredom.

“We have come across many cases where rabbits have been left with horrifically overgrown teeth and nails. Rabbits need hay to gnaw on to keep their teeth in good condition, as well as regular nail trimming.

“They also need plenty of toys and tunnels to keep them occupied and ideally, rabbits should be bonded with a companion but where this isn’t possible they’ll need enough human contact to keep them stimulated.

“Rabbits are highly intelligent and sociable animals who can make fantastic family pets, though we strongly advise parents that they and not their children need to take responsibility for their welfare.

“People should not buy rabbits on impulse and should make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first.”

Sharon continued, “Pets are not toys and should never be given on a whim. However, you may want to consider sponsoring a space – and give the gift of caring for a number of rabbits in our care by helping to cover the costs of food and vet treatment year round.”

The charity are hoping to avoid spontaneous rehoming by preventing anyone rehoming a rabbit from Good Friday to Easter Monday, however they do encourage people who are serious about getting a rabbit as a pet to consider rehoming one of the animals in their care. You can find out more about rehoming and sponsoring a space on their website

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