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Are Rabbits For Me - Rabbit Welfare Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund

So, you think rabbits might be the right pets for you? Thousands of rabbits end up in rescue centres every year (or worse, neglected at the end of the garden) because their new owners just didn't realise what was involved. Taking on the care of rabbits for their lifetime is a big commitment: in fact, it's almost like a marriage. Indeed, well-cared for pet rabbits will live longer than many marriages!

For better for worse.....
Your rabbits will be completely dependent on you. They will need affection and attention every day, 'and cannot be left for more than 24 (ideally, not more than 12) hours without being checked and fed. They're just as much of a responsibility as a cat... can you take on that kind of commitment for the next decade?

Your rabbits will all need to be neutered, and to have regular vaccinations against VHD and myxomatosis

For richer for poorer.....
Pet rabbits are usually inexpensive to buy, but they should not be seen as 'cheap' pets. Building a safe, secure outdoor enclosed complex can cost several hundred pounds. Or, if you decide to keep your rabbit indoors, an indoor cage (remember that our minimum size of accommodation is the same as outdoor bunnies)... and essential equipment will not leave much change out of £150. Your rabbits will need regular supplies of a good quality rabbit food, hay, and bedding. We estimate that a pair of rabbits over their lifetime will cost around £11,000 – can you afford that?

Pair of rabbits

In sickness and in health.....
Your rabbits will all need to be neutered, and to have annual vaccinations against VHD and myxomatosis. Veterinary fees for a rabbit are very similar to those for a cat, so pet health insurance cover is strongly recommended in case of serious health problems. However, rabbits often have dental problems, which are rarely covered by insurance. If your bunnies are affected (and they are very likely to be, unless you feed them a grass/hay-based diet!) then the cost of essential regular dental treatment can quickly add up to hundreds of pounds each year.

Till death do us part.....
The maximum life span of a rabbit is about 12 years, and in general small breeds live longer than giant breeds, but most properly cared-for rabbits live 7-10 years, so you are taking on your pets for around a decade. People often see rabbits as children's pets but don't consider the fact that within afew years, a child may well have lost interest (or even left home!) whilst the rabbits still have several years to live. You will sometimes see the lifespan of pet rabbits quoted as only five years, which is a very sad reflection of how few rabbits are looked after properly. Sadly, kept in the way that British pet rabbits have traditionally been kept, many rabbits do die prematurely... there is a good reason why "a hutch is not enough"

A note about your legal duty:
Since 2006, any pet owner has legal responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act and must provide their pets with.

  • A suitable environment (place to live)
  • A suitable diet
  • The opportunity to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • Appropriate companionship
  • Protection from pain, injury, suffering and disease

Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison.

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