I would like to take a moment to discuss a question that we are frequently asked- why should I adopt a rabbit rather than buy one from a pet store?
There are many reasons why adopting an animal is better than buying one, reasons that apply to dogs and cats as well as rabbits. For starters, you are giving an animal a second chance at a home and happiness. Many of the rabbits in our shelter were surrendered by their owners for various reasons- they weren’t able to afford the rabbit, the rabbit wasn’t getting enough attention, they got a new animal that doesn’t get along with the rabbit, they are having a baby, they are allergic to the rabbit, etc. Some of the rabbits in our shelter were abandoned outside (domestic rabbits have an average survival of 1 week living outside). Still others were rescued from neglectful or abusive owners. All of these rabbits deserve happy lives in loving forever homes.
Pet stores are often part of the problem that leads to so many homeless rabbits. A pet store will sell a rabbit to anyone; they do not care what kind of home the animal ends up in as long as they make a profit. They often do not educate potential rabbit owners about what to expect when living with a rabbit. They tend to stock and sell many rabbits at Easter- a holiday notorious for people buying cute baby bunnies without realizing the commitment they require. These are the kind of irresponsible practices that lead to so many rabbits being abandoned or surrendered. If you know nothing about rabbits as pets and want to buy from a pet store, remember that the employees are not rabbit experts, just salespeople. If you are a knowledgeable rabbit enthusiast, why would you want to support a company who treats animals as profit?
Non-profit rescues, on the other hand, are concerned with one thing- the welfare of their animals. EARS is one such non-profit organization, we are run entirely by volunteers and supported entirely by donations (whether they be money, food, or other supplies). Although sometimes the need is overwhelming, we ensure that each of our rabbits is well cared for. Our rabbits receive healthy diets. We pay for every rabbit to have a health check, and be spayed or neutered (important for preventing the legendary rabbit reproduction, but also important because altered rabbits live longer and are less prone to health problems). We give our rabbits love and attention to ensure that they are well-socialized and friendly and therefore we get to know each rabbit personally. Our volunteers can give advice on rabbit care, and also on the personality of the individual rabbits in the shelter, which can help you to find a rabbit that is right for you.
So please, support your local shelter that is giving animals a second chance at a good home. Don’t shop, adopt!