Tuesday, 12 April 2011

ANIMAL SHELTER WARNED THE PUBLIC OF BUYING BUNNIES ON A WHIM

In spite of many warnings on the news, parents still buy bunnies for their begging children around easter. Even so, some progress is being made by those of us who have long advocated for proper rabbit care.

In April of 2000, an Edmonton TV station interviewed me regarding this perennial problem. The reporters also went to the city's animal shelter and interviewed the caretakers about the abandoned bunnies they receive each year. I uploaded the clip to YouTube and you can watch it at this link.

I also wrote about the day I was interviewed in my When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) memoir. This is how the interview went.

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One day, I got a call from A-Channel, a television station in Edmonton that was eager for a novel story angle. For the past couple of Easters, I'd been campaigning about the harm in buying rabbits for children. Most of my letters to various radio stations, newspapers, and TV stations had been ignored, until A- Channel called.

A camera crew, consisting of reporter Stacey Brotzel and a man who videotaped my bunnies, arrived at my house the next afternoon. Stacey was surprised when Gideon hopped into his litter box and started eating hay. I'm certain that she had never seen a rabbit use a litter box.

"Look at that!" she exclaimed.

She asked the cameraman, whose name I can't recall, to get a shot of my bunny boy. I felt embarrassed when the poor man tried to step over the cardboard barrier, but didn't quite make it. Fortunately, no damage was done to him or to the camera he carried on his shoulder.

Stacey and the cameraman must have used at least a half hour of tape as they shot Buns doing cute things in his cage and Gideon being his princely self. While they filmed, I straightened the cardboard sheet out and propped it back in the doorway.

When the footage aired during the six o'clock news, there were only thirty seconds of my bunnies and me. There was also a short segment on how the SPCA staff wanted the public to think first before adopting rabbits. A guest doctor explained that when rabbits hit puberty and the novelty wore off, many were returned or dumped outside by disappointed owners.

It didn't take long before the next news story was on and our short TV appearance was over. But thanks to an advertising video which the IGA grocery chain sent to home owners in my area, I was able to record the broadcast and once again watch all those sweet rabbits at the shelter. I was delighted that I had received useful junk mail in my letter box for a change.

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When a Man Loves a Rabbit contains many more fascinating stories of life with house bunnies. These range from the tragic to the hilarious. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.