Over 40 unwanted rabbits are desperately seeking help this week as a newly formed rabbit care & welfare organisation struggles to cope with the increased demand for their services.

Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care, based near Glasgow and serving across Central Scotland, provides rabbit care & advice, and provides rabbit rescue services using a network of rabbit foster carers. Since starting their service in December 2010, they have enjoyed a great deal of success in proactively re-homing a number of rabbits.

However, a recent increase in demand has resulted in the service creaking at the seams.

David Bell, co-director of the not-for-profit organisation, said “A recent case involving 17 rabbits in overcrowded, unsuitable accommodation combined with a further 3 unexpected litters has left us desperately seeking help from members of the public to allow the service to continue, and to ensure the longer term welfare of the rabbits involved”.

“All rabbits need vaccinated & neutering before they can be permanently re-homed, and some rabbits will also need additional treatment. To do this right will need a lot of time, resources and money.”

“We desperately need people who can offer temporary homes to rabbits in need by becoming a rabbit foster carer for us whilst we search for new permanent homes for the rabbits on our list,” adds Feona Lawrie, David’s fiancée and partner in the organisation.

It is estimated that it could cost between £50 and £150 per rabbit to prepare them for a permanent home, amounting to a total bill in excess of £3000.

“As well as practical help, we desperately need donations to give us the funds to adequately care for the rabbits. We don’t currently have any other funding, and are reliant solely on the kind donations of users of our service”.

A recent Animal Wellbeing report produced by the charity PDSA demonstrates that whilst the rabbit is still Britain’s third most popular pet, they’re also the most misunderstood. As a result there are an estimated 35,000 unwanted pet rabbits in the UK each year, and even more spend their entire lives in hutches that are too small and suffer from neglect and poor diets.

Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care aims to promote rabbit welfare whilst also providing a rescue and rehoming service. They are in the process of a Scottish Charity registration, which should allow them to apply for funding grants. “Charity registration can be a complicated business, and for the rabbits in need today it’s unlikely this will be completed in time for us to properly rescue the affected rabbits,” comments David.

As a result of the increased list of rabbits needing care, they’re looking for urgent assistance from members of the public with a desire to provide an excellent level of care to the pet rabbits.

Alison Duncan commented on the enjoyment she gets from being a foster carer for Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care, “It can be a lot of hard work, but there’s nothing more rewarding than to see a rabbit in need being successfully rehomed with a family who genuinely care and commit to their new pet.”

As the Easter period approaches, it is anticipated that the problem may get worse as more rabbits are bought on impulse as Easter gifts and find themselves needing rehomed shortly after the Easter celebrations. “If you want to buy a bunny at Easter, make it a chocolate one, and please consider donating towards saving the lives of one of the many unwanted rabbits on our list,” David pleads.

To offer your help to Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care, to donate to their appeal, or for more information, visit www.fairlybelovedrabbitcare.org or call 033 33 44 3272.

Picture: A photograph of a rabbit in an open topped pen inside an unsecure Greenhouse, rescued by Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care this week.