Thursday, 17 April 2014

THE EASTER BUNNY HOLOCAUST

Am I being melodramatic when I describe the annual sales of under-aged rabbits to unprepared people as a holocaust? I don't believe so. Having adopted many cast-off bunnies from families who didn't want them anymore, I feel that I'm right.

Even my family succumbed to the allure of having a cute bunny. During April of 1968, my mom and I did some shopping at Woodward's department store. A fenced-in table attracted our attention. Six or eight tan-coloured rabbits regarded us curiously through the chicken wire as we strolled up to their enclosure. "Let's get one for Diane," Mom exclaimed. "Which one of them do you want?" I chose a lighter blond coloured rabbit. A store clerk put her into a cardboard box with holes punched in it and we smuggled our new pet home on the Greyhound bus.

My sister was delighted with our new bunny at first. As time passed however, both of us tired of her. She was eventually consigned to a lonely hutch in the back yard. That poor animal died during summer due to our ignorance.

For some perverse reason, people feel compelled to tell me their dead rabbit stories. I've heard of dogs attacking the bunny, "it" getting sick and dying, or even worse. The fact that a domesticated creature with emotions and feelings died or was left to fend for itself in parks doesn't impinge on their consciences.

Doubtless people would feel differently if they knew how to care for house rabbits and realized what delightful companions they can be. Since 1996 when I found out about the House Rabbit Society, I have shared my home with quite a few delightful bunnies. From the incredibly-curious Gideon to my present rabbit, Deborah, I've felt such a close bond to my long-eared friends. They also repaid me with their affection and cute antics.

Because of the rampant ignorance regarding rabbits and the tricks some breeders resort to, I wrote When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. It shows how each rabbit who entered my care changed from a shy fur ball to a charming and intelligent creature. By letting them be themselves, I've had many happy years of companionship with each of them. Check my Bruce Atchison's books page for more about this marvelous memoir.