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. sman1234

    Where, behind the rabbit? You silly sod! It is the rabbit!

    January 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Burbank

    Rabbits, Roosters, Pigs, Horses, Snakes, Dogs.... What happens during year of the Dragon??? I'd hate to get a Komodo Dragon in the mail! Must be awfully expensive to ship, right up there with horses.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • dragon

      it will be fantastic!

      January 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dragon

    can't wait for the year of the dragon.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alex

    Stupid, stupid people. And, it's the poor animals that suffer because of their stupidity. I can't wait to see what they do in 2012 for the year of the dragon. Even though China's economy is growing faster than you can say, "Gung hay fat choy", over two-thirds of their population are impoverished, uneducated peasants. These incidents speak volumes over their unmerited ascent.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Shirley

    How incredibly sad, poor little bunnies! People are just so greedy and stupid stuffing them in a box and shipping them off without a care in the world. idiots.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. C-man

    And who thinks that Tiger parts sold at local medicine shops is just fine? Or that ground rhino horn is one of the most valuable natural substances in the world? You guessed it – the Chinese!

    January 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. borko61

    they should wait for Year of the Dragon....dragons will do much better in shippment.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Allison L

    The problem is, people are stupid. Yes, baby chicks are sent through the mail. I don't know the statistics on the survival rates of the chicks. I do know that if the rabbits aren't surviving the shipping process, then this needs to stop. Why aren't animal supporters trying to stop this?

    January 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack

    Its wabbit season!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chickenhawk

    "Some settling may occur in shipping"
    "Wrong rabbit? Please use our self addressed return to sender pouch"
    "STOP! Before returning dead rabbit, please call this number for CPR instructions"
    "For Sales, press 1. For grief counseling, press 2. For recipies, press 3."

    January 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • easter_bunny

      That is wrong on so many levels!

      January 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walken1

      LOL – way too funny!

      January 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. easter_bunny

    Oh Sh**T!! – excuse me while I cancel my...MAIL ORDER BRIDE!

    January 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bobby

    WHen will Aliens come and turn the tables on stupid human, Iand we become the live toy in a box.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mike

    The stupidity it must take to mail live animals through conventional postal service is mind-boggling.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lorin

    I feel terrible for these poor animals.... 🙁

    January 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • couldubanydumber?

      So do I.

      January 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ellgee209

    Just plain ignorance. Learn to treat animals with respect and perhaps better people would come of it.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
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