Information from the House Rabbit Society on why to spay or neuter your rabbit:
- Altered rabbits are healthier and live longer than unaltered rabbits. The risk of reproductive cancers (ovarian, uterine, mammarian) for an unspayed female rabbit stands at is virtually eliminated by spaying your female rabbit. Your neutered male rabbit will live longer as well, given that he won’t be tempted to fight with other animals (rabbits, cats, etc.) due to his sexual aggression.
- Altered rabbits make better companions. They are calmer, more loving, and dependable once the undeniable urge to mate has been removed. In addition, rabbits are less prone to destructive (chewing, digging) and aggressive (biting, lunging, circling, growling) behavior after surgery.
- Avoidance of obnoxious behavior. Unneutered male rabbits spray, and both males and females are much easier to litter train, and much more reliably trained, after they have been altered.
- Altered rabbits won’t contribute to the problem of overpopulation of rabbits. Over 7 million adorable dogs, cats, and rabbits are killed in animal shelters in this country every year. In addition, unwanted rabbits are often abandoned in fields, parks, or on city streets to fend for themselves, where they suffer from starvation, sickness, and are easy prey to other animals or traffic accidents. Those rabbits who are sold to pet stores don’t necessarily fare any better, as pet stores sell pets to anyone with the money to buy, and don’t check on what kind of home they will go to. Many of these rabbits will be sold as snake food, or as a pet for a small child who will soon “outgrow” the rabbit.
- Altered rabbits can safely have a friend to play with. Rabbits are social animals and enjoy the company of other rabbits. But unless your rabbit is altered, he or she cannot have a friend, either of the opposite sex, or the same sex, due to sexual and aggressive behaviors triggered by hormones.
- Spaying and neutering for rabbits has become a safe procedure when performed by experienced rabbit veterinarians. The House Rabbit Society has had over 1000 rabbits spayed or neutered with approximately .1% mortality due to anesthesia. A knowledgeable rabbit veterinarian can spay or neuter your rabbit with very little risk to a healthy rabbit. Don’t allow a veterinarian with little or no experience with rabbits to spay or neuter your rabbit.
I had the opportunity this summer to offer an all-day “Bunny Boot Camp” as part of an Animal Day Camp hosted by the local animal shelter, R.A.P.S. We had a great day while the campers learned about rabbits and rabbit care (i.e. food, shelter, vet care, toys, behaviour, etc.) and enjoyed lots of “hands-on” experience caring for the shelter rabbits. Educating our youth is an important part in helping rabbits receive the care they need and preventing rabbit abandonment.
Sinking Hopes for Rabbits
There is a saying that goes something like this: No matter how hard it gets pushed down, hope always floats to the surface.
I used to believe that hope will always float up. But lately, I am not feeling that way. After years of watching the suffering and pain that occurs regularly here in Richmond, and yesterday seeing the terrible damage inflicted on a small, helpless, completely innocent creature, I am sadly losing hope. Hope for change, hope for the future, and hope that humanity still exists here.
For those of you who don’t know or for those of you who have forgotten, Richmond has a problem. The problem is pet rabbits are routinely abandoned in our parks, beside our streets, and on our doorsteps. And life for those rabbits is hell on earth. They go hungry, they are attacked, they become sick, and they live short lives full of misery.
And right next door to the million dollar homes, the high end shopping malls, and all those new and improved public buildings, are the cemeteries of the rabbits. One of the largest is called Minoru Park. This park is full of the dead bodies of pet rabbits. You may not always see the bodies, but they are there. Sometimes they lie out in plain view for a while before being whisked away, but more often they are hidden deep in the bushes. That’s where the abandoned rabbits go to curl up and die slow and agonizing deaths.
Now there are those individuals who try to help the abandoned rabbits. But they are a small army fighting a quiet war in the shadows. It is a difficult war and sadly they are losing. And you need to be concerned about this. For the problem goes deeper than failing efforts to save the lives of the abandoned rabbits and stop owners from abandoning their pets.
It’s not just the rabbits who are dying; it is the last of our humanity that is dying here as well. When people lose their ability and willingness to care about the suffering of the smallest and most innocent creatures, the fate of our humanity hangs dangerously in the balance.
And the price to be paid for ignoring and tolerating the inhumane suffering of our rabbits is going to be high. In the words of Albert Schweitzer: “Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives.
I always believed that no matter how hard it gets pushed down, hope would always float to the surface. But now, under the weight of Richmond’s endless inhumane treatment of the abandoned rabbits, I don’t know how hope will ever float up again.