Year of the Rabbit: Deadly start for impulse pet buys
A clerk holds a rabbit for sale at a Singapore shop.
January 21st, 2011
11:49 AM ET

Year of the Rabbit: Deadly start for impulse pet buys

Dead rabbits are showing up in Chinese mailboxes as pets ordered for the Year of the Rabbit aren’t surviving the shipping process, the Shanghai Daily reports.

The Year of the Rabbit commences on February 3 under the Chinese lunar calendar and bunnies are in demand to celebrate it. One online search showed more than 600 vendors selling rabbits at prices from 15 to 2,000 yuan ($2.25 to $300), Shanghai Daily reported.

But, the paper said, the rabbits can spend five days in shipment and many have suffocated or frozen to death in the small boxes in which they are sent.

At least one vendor had stopped shipments because of the deaths, the paper reported.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a statement from its Shanghai office on Friday urging people not to bring a rabbit into their home for the Chinese New Year.

"Rabbits aren't just cute and fluffy - they're high-maintenance animals who require significant resources, equipment, attention and veterinary care," PETA’s Maggie Chen said in a statement.

"Rabbits are complex animals, and potential caretakers - who often purchase the animals on a whim - rarely understand the specific needs of their new companions," the statement said. “Once the novelty has worn off, many bunnies are neglected, dumped at animal shelters, or simply turned loose in the wild.”

That’s the problem an ocean away from China at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

The school is saying unwanted pet rabbits dumped on its campus after February 28 will be killed, according to a report in the Victoria Times Colonist.

The university has been trying to rid its campus of the creatures for two years because of damage to landscaping and playing fields, according to the Times Colonist report. More than 800 have been trapped and moved to sanctuaries, it said.

But people are still seeing the campus as a place to dump their pets so the university is adopting the get-tough policy.

“While UVic is willing to dedicate some resources to rabbit removal, it is unrealistic for the university to divert funding to this task in perpetuity,” facilities management director Tom Smith told the paper.

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Canada • China
soundoff (328 Responses)
  1. dlb19595

    Oh I see how it goes people are dumping rabbits at the University of Victoria but instead of going after humans for doing so they are killing defenseless animals. How is it the rabbits fault? I say put 24 hours surveilance around the campus and arrest the humans for doing an inhumane act! Jesus if we don't make people responsible for the abuse of animals then it will no doubt continue!

    January 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. efinAshins

    Rabbits die of fright. Duh
    I thought Asian's were supposed to be smart.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    How about we declare next year as "Year of the Human". Stuff people in a crate, with no food, leave them in a freezing cargo hold, and see how they make out after 5 days.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. danno

    So when you tire of your pet rabbits, eat them. They are delicious.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. paradoX187

    "The measure of a society can be how well its people treat its animals."

    Awful. Yet another Chinese animal atrocity. Where will it end?

    January 26, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joey

    Rabbits actually make very good pets. I had a Dutch growing up along with a siamese cat and they got along rather well. The rabbit used the litter box like the cat and he was very much part of the family. He slept in bed with me as a kid and got up when I did. Very cool critter, and he lived to be 12 or so. But I would strongly urge anyone who wants a rabbit to contact a local shelter to adopt one, not buy. But don't think twice about bringing a bunny into your house.

    January 28, 2011 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12