In this year’s Easter season advisory, Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation reminds the public that real baby rabbits, chicks and ducklings make poor Easter presents.
If you are tempted to buy a real rabbit for the Easter basket, please reconsider. The typical “Easter bunnies” sold illegally on the streets or in pet stores are tiny babies, taken from their mothers before they are properly weaned. Many of these baby rabbits will die soon after purchase–hardly a fun experience for kids.
When you adopt a rabbit, you’re making a commitment to support a small, fragile prey animal over the next 10-15 years. Rabbits are not low-maintenance pets. They require feeding, cleaning, attention, and humane indoor housing in a bunny-proofed room. Veterinary care can be expensive. Exposure to other animals and young children must be supervised.
Furthermore, rabbits are not ideal pets for small children. Most do not like to be picked up and held, and may scratch or bite in an effort to get free, or be injured when dropped.
Similarly, baby chicks and ducks need a proper environment and diet. When they grow up, chicks may turn into roosters that disturb neighbors. In an urban environment where owning them violates zoning laws, many adult chickens end up in animal shelters.
Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation would like to make the following recommendations:
A stuffed toy bunny is a safer option than a real rabbit (or other animal) for snuggling, and chocolate candy rabbits are usually a big hit in the Easter basket.
It’s important to learn about basic rabbit care before acquiring a bunny. If a rabbit is the right pet for your family, adopt from an organization that neuters and house-trains the rabbits.
Michelle Kelly, Ph.D. is the founder of Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation, the Chapter Manager of House Rabbit Society in Los Angeles City, and has been a licensed Educator for House Rabbit Society for over 10 years.