Number of abandoned pet rabbits becoming an issue

The numbers of pet rabbits being found abandoned in Scotland has increased sharply, according to animal welfare charity the Scottish SPCA.

It said 29 had been rescued and taken into its care already this year, compared with nine in 2021.

The charity said one of the reasons could be people being unaware of the level of care rabbits require, including suitably large housing as well as dietary and veterinary needs.

Neglected rabbits can become bored and lonely.

Spokesperson Gilly Mendes Ferreira, said: “We have seen an increase in rabbits coming in to our care and being abandoned.

“We are concerned that this may have been a knock on effect from lockdown where people have taken on what they believed to be an ‘easy’ pet compared to a dog or cat and are now struggling with the reality of caring for quite a complex animal.”

The charity’s warning comes as new research, external suggests three in 10 pet rabbits in the UK are being inadequately housed in hutches and cages too small for their needs.

An estimated one million rabbits are kept as pets in the UK, making them the third most popular pet behind cats and dogs, according to the University of Liverpool.

But despite their popularity, research consistently highlights low awareness of their specific welfare needs.

Researchers at the university looked at data from the PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report from 2017 to 2019, which sampled 1,333 UK rabbit owners.

They found that one-third of rabbits were living in inadequate housing and half were housed alone.

Original Article – https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cd1kgd2191do

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