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25th Jun, 2022

Hop to it! How an event at RSPCA’s Worcester animal centre will put rabbit welfare in the spotlight

Rob George 1st Apr, 2022

AN RSPCA animal centre in the West Midlands – which has been inundated with unwanted rabbits in recent weeks – is hoping an information and awareness raising event will help people to better understand the needs of the UK’s third most popular pet.

Staff from the Holdings Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Kempsey are encouraging potential owners to come along and find out more about what is involved in keeping a rabbit, amid concern that a lack of understanding about the animals’ needs and the cost of caring for them is leading to an increasing number of the pets being abandoned or finding themselves in rescue.

People will be able to come along to the centre between 1pm and 3pm on Sunday (April 3) to get advice and guidance from the RSPCA team on all aspects of caring for bunnies, including accommodation requirements, diet, enrichment and more.

There will also be a chance to meet some of the many rabbits they are currently caring for, including Jabba the Fluff, Jar Jar Binky and Valentino.

Claire Wood, from the Worcester and Mid-Worcestershire branch of the RSPCA which runs the centre, said: “Rescue organisations are inundated with rabbits and there is real concern that people are taking on these animals without thoroughly understanding their complex needs.

“We are seeing more rabbits handed in to us than ever before and currently have 24 on a waiting list; we think some may have been bought as pets during the recent Covid-19 lockdowns and are now being relinquished because children have lost interest.

“This event gives potential owners the opportunity to find out what’s really involved in caring for a pet rabbit so they can make a fully informed decision based on sound advice. Rabbits are incredibly rewarding, but complex animals, so we think it’s vital to share as much information and advice as possible.

“If people think they can offer the necessary time and commitment we would encourage them to adopt a rescue rabbit, and we have lots of them at our centre who are waiting for their second chance.”

The Worcester and Mid Worcestershire branch is so concerned about rabbit welfare that it’s also launched an email advice service offering guidance and support to first-time owners – as well as more experienced keepers – regardless of whether they have adopted their rabbit from the RSPCA. The service can be accessed by visiting their website where you will also find a guide to caring for pet rabbits.

Nationally, the picture is just as concerning. Figures released by the RSPCA earlier this month show that 859 rabbits were taken in by the charity in 2021, an increase of 28 per cent on the year before. By mid-February, nearly 90 had come in and that figure is rising.

In 2021 there were 4,741 incidents relating to rabbits reported to the RSPCA, compared to 4,508 in 2020. The number of abandoned rabbits dealt with by officers also sadly increased to 1,559 last year, compared to 1,242 in 2020.

Ways you can help the RSPCA’s Worcester and Mid Worcestershire branch to continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals.


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