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RABBITS

IF IN DOUBT CONSULT A VET FOR ADVICE 

Before choosing a pet it is imperative that a great deal of thought is given to ensure that it is suitable for both your environment and family situation e.g.:-

  • How much time are you prepared to spend on them?
     

  • How much house room have you got?
     

  • Are they suitable for children?
     

  • How much will they cost to keep?
     

  • Are you fit enough to keep them properly?

RABBITS

This subject has caused a great deal of debate and discussion as the advice I originally set out has been condemned at best as being misleading and at worst down right irresponsible.

In order to set the matter straight I would like to stress I am no expert and have very little experience of rabbits except for the fact my children had two as pets many years ago.  The points listed have been gleaned from various sources, individuals and organisations over the years.  However, there are many who disagree with this point of view and their comments together with links to specialist sites are also shown in the hope this will enable visitors to make up their own mind as to what is best for the rabbits.

Mr. DeGroff, in particular, has been really upset by the advice initially featured on this page and in order to rectify this matter I give immediately below information he feels would be more appropriate on this subject.  Other comments received from this gentleman together with others is given further down.

I urge everyone to read the rest of this page before making any decisions.


  • These will need feeding twice daily, and their living quarters need regular cleaning out.  The more they are handled the better they will respond. 

  • They make ideal pets for school age children who are prepared to look after them regularly, even if under supervision.

  • The cost of upkeep is fairly low but they will require commercial rabbit food as table leftovers are not enough, housing, fresh bedding (straw) etc., vet's fees.

  • Owner's mobility, or lack of it, is not important apart from the hutch cleaning and obtaining fresh bedding etc.


  • Rabbits need to be kept outside in a sheltered area, they are too messy for indoor living but should be given regular exercise in a purpose made run.  Detailed advice on this can be found at http://www.houserabbit.co.uk/resources/content/leaflet_pdfs/SECS130807.pdf 

     

Advice from Mr. DeGroff -

Let people "make up their own minds" by giving them factual data.  Posting false information and calling them  "Facts" is misleading - which is why people are on your butt about it.

It doesn't matter what you gleaned through the years, if it's false information...  Many people hear wives tales through the years that are not based in fact.   But when that facts finally arrive, you obviously are indignant to believe the old wives tales and present them as "facts" on your site.

Your "facts" aren't facts.  I've disproved many of them already, and have challenged you to experience owning a house rabbit for yourself if you can't bring yourself to learn from people who own house rabbits.  Passing on incorrect information is one thing, but arguing with everyone about it, instead of correcting it just shows that you have little desire to help other people...

If you wanted to help people, you could take the information you've been given and modify your "Facts".....

You could say "Rabbits make good pets for children, provided children are taught not to pick up a rabbit, like other animals such as a cat.  Rabbits do not like being held against their will, and thus will dig their nails in to scratch their captors as a means of breaking free"....    June....  this kind of help is factual and gives me as a parent ample warning about how a rabbit might act around my 5 year old daughter (who loves to cuddle with animals).

You could say, "Rabbits require a great deal up upkeep. a potential owner should weigh that carefully before deciding to bring one into their home.  Although many owners report a high success rate of litter training, it's wise to research methods of rabbit proofing your house before allowing a rabbit to run loose in the house".  If this is not desirable, rabbits do well in a cage - provided they are given adequate room and allowed a few hours of exercise time outside the cage each day"

By modifying your advice, you can offered a far more balanced view instead of just simply passing off incorrect, incomplete data as fact.

It's up to you... right now your web page just looks like a war zone.. and you appear to be stubborn.  Once someone researches the subject further, they are going to see why people were on your butt about it and thus, your credibility will be lost.  If a person finds part of your site to be hogwash, then they will very unlikely find any merit in the rest of it - because you've lost their trust.

Anyway, this is my last email....  I no longer want to argue the subject with someone who refuses to learn anything new.... has no personal experience on a matter, yet argues with people who do.


It is very disappointing to see Web Sites such as yours purport that they are experts when in fact they know very little on a topic. Kind of like "jack of all trades, but good at none". How frustrating for an animal care worker such as myself to read your "advice" on rabbits. And even more frustrating (and sad) for the animals acquired by the people who read your site information, believed the information and then their animal purchase turned out to be not as defined on your Web Site.

Please listen to people such as Mr. DeGroff. He is someone who is providing correct information. With respect to your "Cats" section and "Hamsters, Etc." section I am absolutely bewildered at where you get your information. My suggestion ... enroll in an Animal Welfare course, learn the correct information, and then create your Web Site.

For the animals ... DeeJay


 

I have had a response from Ms. Tracey Hunt pointing out how unfair this statement was. She went on to say "Rabbits are, in fact, very clean animals that will only go to the toilet in one place, they use a litter tray like a cat.  Of course any animal living indoors will be messy if you do not provide them with toilet facilities.  If a cat is kept in all the time with no litter tray they would be very messy house animals.  It is actually incredibly cruel to keep an animal like a rabbit hutched.  They are very loving creatures that need space to move around in."

I thank her for this input and hope this puts the record straight.  She also suggests looking at http://www.rabbit.org for more information.


I have been brought to task yet again, this time by Sarah Goodwin, who has written as follows:- 

Unfortunately, your information on pet rabbits is all wrong. Rabbits should NOT be kept outside. There, they are vulnerable to weather, predators, flystrike, and they can even die if a predator comes near them, out of fear. They make wonderful indoor pets, can be litter box trained, and indoors, they are more part of the family. I have three that have free run of the house. You should, as I believe someone else advised you, check out the House Rabbit Society and get your facts straight. Also, there is a listserve called EtherBun where owners of house rabbits get together to discuss care of indoor rabbits. Indoor rabbits live ten years and beyond, while "hutch" rabbits tend to have much shorter, harder lives.

Also, rabbits are NOT good pets for young children. Their bones are fragile, they startle easily, and can bite or scratch when frightened. Most rabbits do not like to be picked up or cuddled, which children will invariably try. Plus, their complex digestive system means that their diet must be closely attended to. Pet rabbits should be neutered, and vet bills for "exotics" can be pricey. I volunteer with a group called Rabbit Rescue and Rehab, and half of the dumped rabbits are from misinformed parents who buy the bunny for their children, not realizing the amount of care they require.

Please correct your information. It would be a shame if someone read your erroneous information and some poor rabbit had to suffer for it.

I know there's lots of info and opinion to sort through...I checked out the Rabbit Welfare sight you mentioned, and found this: http://www.houserabbit.co.uk/rwf/articles/hey.htm"


Another person (Kellie Beamont) has contact me concerned about the information given -

"You should consider changing the information you have about rabbits on your website. The information is incorrect, if uneducated people were to be researching buying a rabbit, they would but it and keep it in cruel conditions and wonder why they have a vicious growing thing that hates contact with humans and runs away all the time! (The rabbit roundabout (South East London) has thousands of unwanteds dumped off every year) Rabbits become very depressed when kept outside on there own, and need a lot of time/attention and love to be kept indoors safely (as much as a dog), not really good pets for children!!!!!!

There are 100's of useful websites. Try the rabbit society!"


Dan DeGroff writes -

"I'm not sure why you stand by your advice and then point to correction letters as mere opinions when it comes to pet rabbits and/or rabbit care.

There is substantial information available on the net that factually supports many of the statements made by respondents to your rabbit section, including the Pet Rabbit Society who certainly has researched the matter far more thoroughly than I'm sure you would care to attempt.

To suggest throwing a rabbit in an outside hutch is humane as compared to properly caring for a domesticated rabbit in your home is completely contrary to what all responsible house rabbit owners already know from daily experience and careful research.

There is a large distinction between domesticated rabbits and wild rabbits and you can't classify them the same way. Nor can you apply the same standards of advice to both classes.

House rabbits aren't for everyone of course... it's important to the rabbit's health and happiness that you research the proper care of a rabbit before starting the process - however to simply say it's all opinion just tells me you have no personal experience on the subject, and shouldn't be lecturing or advising on the matter. Hands on experience and research is more valuable to prospective pet owners than your guesses ever will be.

If it's your opinion, then present it as a collection of your opinions or please document factual resources to support your statements...

Our house rabbit rarely makes a mess in the house. Far fewer times than the cats I've owned in the past. She uses a single litter box, sheds far less, grooms herself constantly, and will not drag a dead mouse up to the house when you let her in the back yard for an hour. After one year she is as clean as the day she was brought home - and does not require a bath or a flea collar (although fleas are a concern for outdoor rabbits). After a rabbit marks her territory with droppings (which are easy to sweep up), they soon drop the habit once they feel they've properly established your home as their own... I rarely find a dropping anywhere in my house.

Chalking my experience (which is commonly mirrored by thousands of rabbit owners) up to mere opinion is an insult... That's like telling you that your life experiences aren't real... just opinion.

Now is a rabbit in the wild happier than in a home? THAT would be a matter of opinion.... but you aren't posting a site to argue those points. You are talking about pets.... and when it comes to rabbits, you obviously don't have nearly enough data or experience to be passing YOUR opinions to others as if they were facts..

You have every right to look like an uniformed person who doesn't have a clue what she's talking about, but I hope you'll reconsider that path."

Mr. DeGroff continued -

You are taking factual data and/or hands on experience and chalking it up as opinion - when it is not opinion.

Can a rabbit be litter trained?   Yes....  that is not an opinion, it's a fact.  My rabbit is litter trained, along with hundreds of thousands of other house rabbits across the country....

Do rabbits groom themselves?   Yes....  they bath themselves constantly like any housecat does.  It isn't opinion, it's a fact.

Do rabbits shed fur?  Sure they do, but every rabbit I've owned sheds far less than most dogs or cats... and if you brush them now and then, shedding is almost a non issue.

Do rabbits destroy your house?  They can nibble things around the house, if you don't take some precautions, but again, the cats I've owned clawed my furniture much worse than any rabbit I've owned.

So for you to advise that rabbits are messy and thus should be thrown outside in a hutch, completely ignores the facts...  if you applied your standards across the board, all animals would belong outside in hutches....

Also, to say bringing a domesticated rabbit into the home is cruel.  Come on...   Every rabbit I've owned is in heaven when she's free to romp the house instead of confinement.  Rabbits are social creatures and many love to be around people.  If I leave the living room and go upstairs to work on the computer, the rabbit follows and then plays in the room while I work.  She hates to be put in her cage when it's time for bed and is revved up to come out of the cage early the next morning...

Only a free rabbit can fully exercise her instincts and behaviors the way nature intended.  Rabbits weren't hardwired to sit in a hutch.... For example... while cats play "catch" to hone their skills, rabbits play "Catch me, if you can" to hone theirs.   Throwing the rabbit into a hutch disconnects them from this important activity, along with hundreds of other embedded needs.

Having free reign of the house isn't as accommodating to these needs like living completely free in the wild, but it certainly comes much closer than sitting in a hutch outside.

Visitors to your site are trying to give you information based on fact and experience.. but you discount it all as opinion and post your views as "the facts"...   drawn on conclusions you have little real experience on.

If your site made it clear to the public that you have little personal experience on the matter... and that the statements you are making are your opinion.... then no one would care.....

 But visitors to your site are lead to believe you do have experience on the matter of rabbits and that your statements are factual. Which they clearly are not.

Did you really say rabbits are excellent for young school children?   There are other animals that are much more accommodating to young children than rabbits.  Rabbits hate to be controlled, lifted or held against their will....and it's easy for a child to be scratched, because children love to hold animals...  It isn't typically the best match - and shouldn't be promoted as such.   If you think it's an opinion, go get a rabbit and find out for yourself.  Your "opinion" will very likely change within the first 30 days.

p.s.   I have built and own several free sites.  Just because it's "free" doesn't mean it has to contain incorrect information.  But like I said, you're welcome to make yourself look as uninformed as you like.

 


I am really sorry if my rabbit information has offended anyone. The information is given in good faith and, as in most things, it appears to be a matter of personal opinion as to what is best. Some people think keeping rabbits in houses is unhygienic and cruel to the rabbit, whereas, others think it is the best place for them.

I don't consider the information shown on Hints and Things is actually wrong as can be seen on the Rabbit Welfare Association site. Even the House Rabbits site gives detailed information on how to keep rabbits outdoors http://www.houserabbit.co.uk/resources/content/leaflet_pdfs/SECS130807.pdf 

I am no expert and am only trying to give people all the various facts in order for them to make up their own minds. I feel I have made it very clear there are different opinions on this subject and have also taken the trouble to give other sites where more comprehensive information can be found.

The RSPCA (which is one of the largest animal charities in the UK) states that it is acceptable to keep rabbits either inside or outside, so long as their behavourial needs are catered for.

You can also download their booklet: How to take care of your rabbits (pdf 2.08MB).
 

No doubt, I could find sites which state categorically they should only be housed indoors and others where they say they should be outside. I can only supply the relevant information and leave others to make up their own mind.

I really appreciate these visitors' time and trouble as it helps me to give a more rounded viewpoint.

 

Keeping animals in the house such as rabbits is a contentious issue with many differing views and there are of course many other animals that make excellent pets including fish and birds.

 


 


 

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