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. Matt

    awh hell nawww.

    January 25, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sean

    VooDoo MaMa JuJu

    This story seem somewhat pointless. What is all the fuss over a rabbit? Come on folks – it is an animal we're talking about here – not another human being.

    and what do you think Man is? here something to concider, we ( mankind ) is Just One Of Millions of different life forms that happen to live on this planet. Your post is pointless in my opinion.

    January 25, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tiluyonovich

    Well PETA's point about bunnies being high maintenance is pretty much mute if they arrive dead, isn't it?

    January 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      It's 'moot'.

      January 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Any loss of human space exploration

    They can always eat them; waste not want not.

    January 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Realist

    China acts like it is stil 1870.

    January 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fierybuddha

    humans rarely suffer for their stupidity of animals, but the animals sure do. those poor rabbits. how cruel and thoughtless to "ship" live animals like that..

    January 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Johnna

    Funny to think the Chinese would own pets. I think this is just another ruse for meals on wheels or mailed meals how innovative. Where would the Chinese be today with out American ingenuity and technology!

    January 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. davetharave

    Putting live animals in shipment for 5 (or more) days is just plain stupid. Does anybody remember stupid ?

    January 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fig1024

    seriously, how could they possibly justify shipping live animals as packaged goods on regular mail?
    these people are sick. Damn Chinese

    January 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DeeMadison

    doesn't surprise me.. they kill their babies if they are born girls...and one child to a household.. so ironic.. so to them what's a few dead rabbits.. they only care about the cost...

    January 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Heather King

    From the department of No Brainers: Commerce generally trumps humanity. If you think you can turn a profit you turn a blind eye to common sense. I agree with others who have asked why you'd ship a rabbit in the first place. Thanks for speaking up PETA.

    January 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mary J

    What the eff? Why, why, why would ANYONE think it is a good idea to send a live creature through the mail?!

    January 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kado

    This is such a shame. It takes no time to read the article but quite some time, I'm sure for each of these rabbits to starve, dehydrate, suffocate, or freeze to death. Just irresponsible. And, I agree...this is not a race thing. Animals all over the world are mistreated and the emphasis needs to be on treating them with compassion. As for PETA, I am a proud member and I don't understand one poster's comment about "I hate to admit semi-agreement with PETA". I guess it's still considered corny by some to care about animals. I'm not sure why. It's definitely a sign of intelligence to show respect and compassion for other living species.

    January 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol Reins

      I'm a member of Peta and PetaAsia has spoken up for the rabbits...including those skinned alive for fur. I don't know why so many people hate the ethical treatment of animals...humans that are insensitive to the pain and suffering of animals have no soul or compassion.

      February 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. biff

    Just another reason Douglas MacArthur was right, we should nuked the slant eyed creeps years ago.

    January 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeepers

    I knew a girl with a rabbit fur coat when I was a kid. I was jealous of it.

    January 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
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