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Rabbit Awareness Week: Do We Really Understand Our Bunnies?

11 May 2015

UK - Everyone in the UK knows we are ‘a nation of animal lovers’, but are we really? Could we do better? Almost twenty years as a vet tells me we certainly can do better and I believe that children are the way to achieve that, writes Emma Milne.

Emma Milne
Emma Milne

Much of the suffering we see in pets is not through intent but sadly because of bad choices, lack of research and the impulse buying of animals. These are also major reasons for abandonment or relinquishment.

There are many people who believe that animal welfare should be a staple in the national curriculum and I am strongly in that camp. The importance of mental wellbeing and happiness is just as important as physical wellbeing for our pets.

The behavioural and social needs of animals resonate strongly with those of children and the natural empathy of children combined with their unquenchable thirst for knowledge makes them ideally placed to change the way animals are viewed and kept as pets for the better.

Having worked with several charities in developing countries I’ve seen the enormous difference children can make to changing attitudes and getting rid of out-dated beliefs which are perpetuated simply because things have always been done a certain way.

Millions of rabbits have been misunderstood and unintentionally caused suffering over the decades and it is time we tried to change that.

The Pet Detective series starts with rabbits and will go on to look at guinea pigs, cats, dogs and small furries.

The books will show children how wonderful it is to share our lives with animals but how important it is that we provide for all their needs no matter how inconvenient they may be.

The books will teach the children about the basic welfare needs of all animals and compare situations to ones which they be familiar with like fear, stress, loneliness and so on but also make children realise how important happiness is and how easily it can be achieved with the right information. Light-hearted sections and cartoons will keep a balance against the more serious undertones.

After the information about the animal in question they will embark on a fact finding mission and a virtual month of owning the pet. They will have to calculate whether they and their family have the time, energy, space and money for the pet they are considering. If the answer is no that’s ok too. That’s why they did the mission! If the answer is no the books will try to point them in the right direction and offer alternatives.

Children can change the world where grown-ups have failed for hundreds of years because they are willing to learn and listen and they tend to care deeply and naturally about the world they live in and the people and animals which share it. Now is the time for the change to begin!

Emma's book is available for pre-order here.

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