Updated: Mar 15, 2021
In the UK rabbits are normally living wild in fields or kept as pets in people’s homes and gardens. But in other countries rabbits are considered to be food. Rabbits make lovely pets, they’re gentle and cute and they have nice soft fur. Keeping them as pets isn’t always kind though. In the wild rabbits will run and dig and forage for food traveling over large spaces every day. As a pet most rabbits are kept in hutches until someone lets them out, they are also not able to behave in natural rabbit ways.
In the wild rabbits are free to do as they please, they will eat, play and socialise as much as they want, going back to their warrens when they want to. They also look after their warrens, keeping them clean, tidy and warm. Rabbits are herbivores, they will eat grasses, clover and some cruciferous plants, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts. They are also opportunistic feeders and will also eat fruits, seeds, roots, buds, and tree bark, but they don’t eat any meat. Rabbits are very sociable animals and live in large groups called colonies. They like to come out of their warrens at dawn and dusk when the light isn’t good so that predators can’t see them well, it keeps them safe. Rabbits also love to dig which can be impossible for them if they spend a long period of time in a hutch or cage.
When rabbit are farmed all of their natural, happy behaviours disappear. Rabbits are kept in small cages which can be stacked on top of each other. The cages aren’t made comfortable and there are no toys for them to play with. The rabbits become stressed and upset which can make them behave strangely. They will pace around their cages, stop eating and pull their fur out. They’ll chew the bars of the cages and become aggressive, they don’t act like normal, happy, rabbits at all. After 12 weeks, the rabbits are big enough to be sold for meat, but they are also used for research, testing products and for their fur. It doesn’t seem fair that these cute, friendly little animals should suffer this way. Especially as we don’t need to eat rabbits, people choose to, there are other ways of testing products that don’t harm any animals at all and we don’t need real fur for clothes, fake fur looks and feels good too.