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.

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Filed under: Animals • Canada • China
soundoff (328 Responses)
  1. Jet Lee, NYC

    Well said Jack!
    But Chinese people suck! We all are Selfish from the core. Even muslims love their pets.
    Buddha bless you

    January 24, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce Lee, SanFrancisco

      Good to hear that, I "was" from Hong Kong
      Chinese people are cruel

      January 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patty

    Wow. People are freakin' stupid.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. N.J.

    Rabbit Stew = Problem Solved

    January 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. brent

    Sounds like the year of the Dead Rabbit may be a down year for China.

    January 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    Don't act like it's not a big deal just because they are animals and not human. As if humans aren't animals as well? People are so stupid.
    The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated – Ghandi

    January 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ky

    Are these people completely without souls, idiots, ignorant or a combination of all three?? It never ceases to amaze me how low the human race can stoop.

    January 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cissy

    Stop buying them and then there will be no market for these heartless, greedy people who abuse animals!!! I wish I could stick one of you in a mailbox and see how long you would last!

    January 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wabbit Season

    Maybe I will order some Chinese for this New Year. I hope they survive the shipping process.

    January 25, 2011 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. nodat1

    Where is PETA on this issue? Other then Maggie Chen small blurb about rabbits being high maintenance, PETA is silent about shipping rabbits in the mail, Why? If this was a US owned business they would be all over it demanding that they stop this terrible practice,but because its predominant Chinese function its' OK to do. I guess PETA is showing who finances their protest and that they only care about animals just as long as they don't upset your sugar daddy. PETA is just another group that need to be taken down a notch or two in order to get them back to there core values....

    January 25, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. nodat1


    January 25, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. michiganhunter6969

    All this talk about dead rabbits has got me in the mood for Rabbit Stew, BBQ Rabbit, Baked Rabbit. mmm mmm mmm I think I'm gonna go hunting this weekend. And PETA??? Why does an organization use a name that sound so much like a food anyway. PITA, PETA, not much different. Just a bread I can stuff with some good Smoked Rabbit and some sautied onions, with a sprinkle of Tony Cacheras Creole Seasoning!! Oh Yah! Where di I put that varment rifle???

    January 25, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Proud PETA Member

      I want all of you to know as a proud member of PETA (People for the Eating of Tasty Animals) that there is room for all of Gods creatures. That would be on my plate next to the mashed potatoes. This includes rabbits!!!!!!

      January 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Reality

    PETA in China? That is hillarious. In a country that makes humans disappear and die in prisons on a routine basis, is supposed to listen to PETA? Ha ha ha. PETA should show the Chinese how to dump the rabbits into a dumpster properly. They did a fine job of killing all of those dogs and puppies a few years ago on the East Coast. Just another money grabbing scam to take cash from the feeble minded.

    January 25, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. happy

    Hate to see what the shipping will be for Year of the OX

    January 25, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. linda

    people are idiots.

    January 25, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. OMG IKR

    These are the same people that have issues with lead getting into food, toys, etc., so how should stupidity with animals be a huge surprise....

    January 25, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
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