Giant rabbits that were ‘bred for their meat’ are still searching for new homes after being rescued from an overcrowded allotment. The RSPCA rescued 42 Flemish giant rabbits found living in dreadful conditions in cramped hutches, where they had been left to breed with each other.
They were split up between the charity’s centers, branches and licensed private boarding kennels, including those at RSPCA Great Ayton and RSPCA Northumberland West Branch, while some others were looked after by inspectors. Of all the rabbits rescued, the largest weighed in at more than 8kg (17.6lb), the weight of a medium-sized dog, and had ears that were seven inches long.
Rehoming co-ordinator at RSPCA Northumberland West Branch, John Billany, said: “We took 11 of the rabbits, mainly female ones, but we still have two young ones and two adults whom we are trying to find homes for.
“They are a big breed as their name suggests, so they are probably suited to the more experienced rabbit owner who has had giants before. They are nice rabbits, but they are just big and potential owners need to know what they are doing and how to meet their needs.”
Bronco and Bucks are among the giant rabbits still looking for their new homes.
Of the duo, who are around three to four months old, the branch says: “These boys are extremely friendly and well handled. They love to run over and see what tasty treats they can steal off you. Because they are giant cross breeds they are bigger than a ‘normal’ rabbit, so they will require more space to live a happy healthy life.”
Cookie Crisp, who weighs in at 4kg, is still at Great Ayton, where a branch spokesperson said: “He’s a big boy and an inquisitive young rabbit who loves exploring and playing.
“He is really starting to show the affectionate side of his personality and is starting to come over to us for treats and head scratching.”
The RSPCA believes the Flemish giant rabbits removed from the allotment in Ashington, in Northumberland, were being bred for their meat.
RSPCA inspector Trevor Walker, who helped rescue the rabbits over several days in July, said: “Two or three of the rabbits were really big, while others were crossbreeds and were smaller in size.
“They all went to various branches for rehoming apart from one who had to be put to sleep sadly as she was suffering from an eye infection.
“Despite their size they will make good companion animals and they have a nice temperament.
“Sadly, rabbits are becoming an increasing problem across the RSPCA as we are seeing more and more coming into our care, many as a result of the cost of living crisis.”
All the branches’ rabbits will be neutered, microchipped and vaccinated before they are found new homes.