Rabbits make excellent pets for those who can accept the responsibilities involved with proper care. These animals are cute, entertaining and very social when they are in a suitable environment and have their needs met. That being the case, why are they estimated to be the third most abandoned pets?
Though reasons can vary, there is one common, sad truth concerning pet rabbit abandonment. Even with all the available information, too many people still rush out and get one without doing their homework. Once the immense commitment, expense and list of ongoing chores is realized, it’s too late. The rabbit is wrongfully labeled as a problem and out the door it goes.
It doesn’t help matters that rabbit-related information can seem conflicting and confusing at times. There are several reasons why this could be true: 1) Rabbits have been lumped into the very broad category of “exotic pets” or are still considered “agricultural animals”; 2) Rabbit information is sometimes distributed without verifying whether it was actually based on rabbit-specific studies; 3) Academia (veterinary studies) often include rabbits in the context of exotic pet coursework and do not have comprehensive, rabbit-specific specialty programs; and 4) People have varying experiences and/or opinions (including scientists, researchers and veterinarians).
In some cases, it is not enough to read an article or popular website information. The report or study which has been used as the basis for rabbit-related information needs to be pulled, read and researched. Understandably, most people have time to read, but in-depth research requires skill and is also more time-consuming. Those who are apt researchers might find that popular information is not always based on a rabbit-specific study.
For example, one study was performed on whether agriculture or farm animals should eat certain type of plants or leaves. The findings or conclusions of that study might be assumed to pertain to rabbits when, in fact, rabbits were not actually studied. From there, information gets distributed as though the study itself was all about rabbits even though it was not. A more well-known example of conflicting information is the great debate on whether or not pine shavings are safe for rabbits. When it comes to conflicting information about responsible pet care, one could head down a number of rabbit holes (pun intended).
Rabbits Need Their Own Category
Many rabbit owners confuse an “exotic pet” expert with someone who is a “rabbit expert” or is considered to be “rabbit savvy“. As any experienced rabbit owner knows, some exotic pet specialists and/or veterinarians are rabbit-savvy, and some are not. Some exotic pet veterinarians do not even see pet rabbits on any regular basis, if at all. Many experts believe that rabbits should have their own category – and justifiably so. In many ways, they are fragile and somewhat unique.
If rabbit-specific studies were more common, pet rabbit owners might have it easier. Veterinary schools would also realize the need to implement more rabbit-specific programs rather than including them in exotic pet coursework. The historic categorization of rabbits (exotic pets, agricultural animals, et cetera) seems to be a contributing factor to some of the misunderstandings.
If you do not have time to do comprehensive research beyond easy-to-read articles, do not despair. Most of the standard information is reliable and easy to find. While balancing their lessons learned with rabbit-specific science, plenty of qualified people and organizations are happy to freely share what they know.
It is true that not all rabbit information sources will agree on some topics. If you run into something that does not sound right to you or does not make sense, research the it further. Most often, it is fairly easy to get access to studies and/or reports. It is usually just a matter of searching the internet and then doing some reading. Make sure you also read the peer review comments about that topic, as they can be quite informative.
Copyright 2016, Love Your Rabbit, janabrock.com, Author Jana Brock, Bunny Conversations, Happy Rabbit Tips and Rabbit Tails. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. This is not a veterinary site, nor should any information here be construed as veterinarian advice. Photo credits for this website: Jana Brock. Additional photo credits for some website content: volunteers who contribute to Pixabay.com. All readers, without exception, agree to the terms and conditions of this website. Information is shared under the Fair Use Act. “The “Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing United States Entrepreneurship Act of 2007” (FAIR USE Act) was a proposed United States copyright law that would have amended Title 17 of the U.S. Code, including portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to “promote innovation, to encourage the introduction of new technology, to enhance library preservation efforts, and to protect the fair use rights of consumers, and for other purposes.” CITED: en.wikopedia,org/wiki online 2016.