Not Such A Merry Christmas – If You’re A Bunny

Today, I just wanted to share the recent “”Make Mine Chocolate”” Press Release with you:

Most people associate rabbits with Easter, but sadly it now seems that cute and cuddly bunnies are also seen as a great child’s Christmas present.

Many rabbits will be bought on a whim this Christmas and then given up to rescue during the following weeks and months once the reality of the care required and costs hits home – especially when the festive credit card bills start to arrive.

Rescue centres are already struggling to cope with the increased demands on their resources as the number of rabbits being surrendered has significantly increased during 2010.

In addition, fewer people are going to a rescue to adopt. Honeybunnies Rescue in Leicester is taking around 6 calls a day from people wishing to give up their family rabbit – for a variety of reasons. Jill Woodward, Rescue Manager, said “Honeybunnies is already full to bursting with rabbits desperate for new homes, and there is a lengthy waiting list already. A vast number of people calling seem to have suddenly developed allergies or have landlords that have decided to throw them out ‘today’ … just as the bad weather arrives. In reality people are just getting fed up of caring for their rabbit now it is cold”.

With weather conditions deteriorating over the holiday season, fewer owners are prepared to care for their rabbits. And along with the Christmas cuddly bunny impulse purchases, it’s clear rabbits are heading for yet more suffering. Even greater pressure will be placed on the already overburdened rabbit rescue system in early spring.

The issue is simple; people don’t have time for rabbits during the winter months. With weather worsening, funds being prioritised for the Christmas festivities, and maybe even space being made for the new pet arriving on the 25th December, the rabbit is the loser.

Some rescues have had people seeking rabbits for a Christmas present. The Rabbit Crossing, a privately run rescue in Surrey, has had more enquiries in the last two weeks than in the last two months. Rescue owner Helen Halliday commented “One e-mail said that the children wanted rabbits for Christmas, but by the time I had replied to the initial enquiry they had already found rabbits elsewhere. I imagine the urgency was because they just wanted to cross off a task on the Christmas ‘to-do’ list“.

Make Mine Chocolate!, the campaign to stop the impulse purchase of rabbits, reports that 40% or the rabbits currently in rescue have been given up within 6 months of purchase, with 60% within the first year. This clearly demonstrates just how common the impulse purchase problem is, and shows just how much rabbit awareness and knowledge must radically improve in order to stop the suffering of a great number of domestic rabbits here in the UK.

So the message has to be ‘Think Before You Buy!’. Rabbits make fantastic members of the family but do need a lot of time, space, money and effort. And remember, rabbits do not make an ideal present for the children – at Christmas or any time of the year. Contact Make Mine Chocolate! for information and advice about rabbit care, or details of your local rabbit rescue at

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