Tuesday, November 26, 2013

[Bunny Rant] Rick Mercer (@rickmercer), 4H and Bunnies.

Dearest Rick,

You know I love you. You're my second favourite Canadian behind Michael J. (Sorry, he's cuter.) I love you ahead of my, and the rest of Canada's, boyfriend George S! If that isn't adoration, what is? However, on your show tonight (November 26th, 2013) I twitched; twice. It wasn't just a friendly nose twitch, it was a golden education opportunity missed. Yes, I'm talking about your bit with the rabbits; you chose 4H as the representatives, but that's like asking pork farmers to tell you about truffle hunting. I'll apologize now for coming across as the zealot I am when it comes to pet rabbits.

The "Look lady, I have stuff to do, politicians to harass, jokes to write" short form is :

- Hutches aren't enough. Bunnies need room to run.
- Bunnies are indoor animals. Predators can literally scare them to death outside, and if not possums, then weather.
- Bunnies are litterbox trainable.
- Bunnies are intelligent, creative and like having cute little three year olds hopping around your feet.
- Bunnies need to be spayed or neutered. (Just like cats and dogs!)
- Bunnies can be clicker trained. (As you saw when you got to do bunny jumping.)
- Bunnies are a long time commitment! They can live 10 - 12 years!

If you're still with me, here's the longer version of the shpiel. A better written version can be found over on The House Rabbit Society's website.

Bunnies, like cats and dogs, are indoor animals who need room to move, the right food, care, toys, and love. Many think bunnies are boring animals that live in a cage, eat carrots, poop and live to the "ripe old age" of four or five. You'd be pretty boring too if you spent your entire live in a two meter by two meter box.

The house rabbit (aka, the pet bunny) needs hay and lots of it. It should have access to fresh hay at all times, preferably timothy or orchard grass. If you're not lucky to live in farm country, then you can always find lots of the internet. You can also typically find horse people who'll sell you a flake so you don't have to buy an entire bale and wonder what you're going to do with a huge chunk of hay for the rest of the year. They deserve a salad to eat each dinner, from the store spring mix if you're lazy like me works well. Pellets should be limited and should be timothy based. Sweets like carrots, or apple, or other tidbits should be treats only. A fingernail size per pound of bunny is a serving.

Bored bunnies are destructive bunnies, just like bored dogs or bored humans! Bunny toys are a mix of creative ingenuity and raiding the stocks of other pet aisles. Bunnies like to fling things and chew things. Stackable cups, toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay, parrot wood and rope toys, all these keep a bunny happy and busy. A companion is also a good choice since if you're not around to snuggle or play with your bunny, they will get very lonely.

A happy bunny is a farting bunny. Bunnies require knowledgeable vets. Aside from being fixed to make them better companion animals, bunnies have delicate bones, delicate digestive systems and respiratory issues. Downside is, not all vets study bunnies and not all are willing to learn about them so vet care can get quite expensive quite quickly. A lot of animal insurance companies also don't consider rabbits eligible.

When someone says they have forty-seven rabbits, I automatically wonder how those rabbits are living. They can't possibly be getting the love, attention and exercise they need. Even rescuers who have divided up their house to help the rascally rabbits would blanch at taking care of that number. I often tell would-be rabbit slaves, er, owners, that they need to watch Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck .. and they'll have less luck than Daffy.

If you want to spend your afternoon being overrun by cute, I'm sure that Rabbit Rescue Inc would be thrilled to help you.

Thank you for listening!

Stepping off my soap box,
Lorna Appleby

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