RSPCA issues Easter rabbit warning as charity faces influx of unwanted bunnies

RSPCA issues Easter rabbit warning as charity faces influx of unwanted bunnies

RSPCA share the 'best rescues and releases' during lockdown

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The animal charity is being overwhelmed with unwanted and neglected rabbits. It fears people impulse buying bunnies over the Easter period could make the crisis worse.

The charity’s rabbit welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson said: “We do see more interest in rabbits traditionally around Easter.

“Rabbit ownership should not be entered into lightly regardless of the time of year.

“It is very concerning for us when our numbers are already high.”

Dr Tyson added that rabbits, which live for eight to 12 years, are “one of the most neglected pets in Britain”.

She said: “Rabbits do have complex needs, they’re not easy to care for, they’re not cheap to care for.

“That’s something I don’t think everybody appreciates when they take on rabbits.”

She urged people to “think very carefully” about getting a rabbit for Easter, which is just around the corner.

Dr Tyson said: “People really need to think very carefully about whether rabbits fit in with their lives and whether they’re able to cope with them in terms of the time that they take to care for and interact with, and the financial cost.

“Not just the cost of getting them, but the ongoing costs of caring for them throughout the rest of their lives.

“If people have done their research and are fully committed to these animals and really think that they can provide them with a good home then we’d urge people to come to rescue organisations like the RSPCA.”

Two young rabbits were found abandoned in a car park in Highbury nine days after Easter last year.

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The RSPCA took 859 unwanted rabbits into its care in 2021, up 28 percent from 672 in 2020.

The number of abandoned bunnies also increased from 1,242 in 2020 to 1,559 last year.

And almost 1,000 more rabbits were classed by the charity as neglected in 2021 with a total of 5,451, up from 4,544 the year before.

It is thought that people returning to their normal lives after the pandemic and the cost of living crisis could be factors behind the increase in unwanted rabbits.

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