RAW: Rabbit Awareness Week
I’ve made it pretty obvious here about my love of rabbits so I thought I’d let you know about a hugely important date on the animal welfare calendar, which is Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW). So, calling all bunny owners, this is for you!
RAW is an annual campaign, initiated by Burgess Pet Care, that came about due to the dismal fact that so many household rabbits are acutely neglected and misunderstood, despite bunnies being the 3rd most popular pet in the UK today. Rabbits are incredibly intelligent animals with complex needs, requiring ample space, a specific diet and companionship of their own kind. What we know about rabbits today is a far cry from the victorian era when rabbits were first confined to hutches as farming methods. A life of social isolation in a cramped wooden box and a meagre diet was never intended as the proper, humane way to keep a pet, and for an animal whose life can span 10 years plus, it’s our responsibility to bring the life of all pet rabbits up to standard.
Previous RAW campaigns have highlighted crucial issues including the importance of providing space beyond the outdated pet store hutches and cages more akin to prison cells (Rabbit Welfare Association’s A Hutch is Not Enough), and the importance of the now combined bi-annual or annual vaccinations against myxomatosis and VHD. This year the topic is clamping down on the abolishment of muesli style mix feed with the ‘Say No To Muesli’ campaign, a particular subject close to my heart. I have long believed that muesli feed – with their coloured biscuits and high sugar additives – is closely linked with obesity and dental disease, with deformations and abnormal overgrowth (malocclusion) being the most common health condition I’ve recognised as associated with this poor standard of food. By my own experience, muesli feed provided me with numerous cases of dental disease requiring hours of corrective veterinary work. Since the introduction of an extruded pellet or nugget feed, malocclusion in my own furries has literally disappeared.
Myself with Burgess Pet Care for RAW in 2010
Knowing the amount of time I fed my animals muesli feed, and the trips I made to various veterinary specialists up and down the country, I literally wish I could turn the clock back and throw that food in the bin. It’s true that pellets or nuggets do cost a little bit more than mix but the difference is incomprehensible when compared against the vet bills and heart ache when the fight of disease proves too much. It breaks my heart to admit I have lost countless little lives all because of muesli.
If you’re a rabbit owner yourself and buy muesli feed for your pet, I would urge you to gradually introduce an extruded diet. I would hate to see rabbits continue to suffer at the mercy of an inhumane feed and whole heartedly believe in fighting for it’s abolishment. Will you join me?
Me with my beautiful Bobby
Image by Jade Photography