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. rogersmeyer

    for the life of me i can't find a rabbit in that picture!

    January 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mudfoot

    Rabbits are easy to care for! I leave the cage door open so he can run around the house and he only does his business in his cage; which is changed every other day. He also comes to you when you call his name.

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

    Killed Slaves, owned slaves, killed the Indians, butchered people around the world is that Inhumane and Horror? Beautiful White people-Thank god I'm not White and Racist like all of you.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      i wouldn't be so sure about that last part...

      January 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walken1

      You should study history more. Almost every culture – whether white European, Asian, African, native American, etc. – had slaves at one time or another. It's not a "white thing" - it's a human thing... unfortunately.

      January 21, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • TK

      Jack: You are a real a$$ and certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed lil guy. Go to school.

      January 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Belarius Marek

      I must disagree with one of the posters saying you were not the sharpest tool.. You are certainly and without a doubt a tool. An EXTREME tool. Sharp? Well.. Even a dull tool has its uses.. But certainly a TOOL you are..

      January 24, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. AGeek

    Well, it's a darned good thing this isn't the Year of the Musk Ox, African Elephant, Blue Whale, Clydesdale, or any other significantly massed animal. Still ..poor bunny.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Doug

    Hey Jack, How about we talk about racism. The last time I checked "Whitie" couldn't get into Grambling nor could a male get into North Texas Woman’s University. We have a Black Entertainment Network (BET) but no White Entertainment Network because it would be racist, nor is the an Ivory magazine to go with Ebony. The Mexican government kills anyone trying to illegally get into Mexico from the south of their border, but we are condemned for not putting watering fountains in the Texas desert for illegal’s coming into the US. So why don't you and the rest of the world lay off what happened hundreds of years ago, we've been paying the price for what happened long before our time. And one last thing Whites were not the only slave owners there were plenty of rich Blacks who owned slaves as well. Do some checking before you start blaming other people.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fiona

    Shipping living creatures as if they were books! China is a sick country.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. clgpdx

    The Chinese are barbarians – plain and simple. Idiots.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      You can't call these people barbarians simply for following a tradition. I don't agree with what they've done, but it's not like everybody else hasn't done anything wrong. It's just another wrong on a huge list of wrongs humans have done.

      January 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DM

    wow people are stupid!!

    January 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Texas Pete

    I guess that we are lucky it wasn't the year of the tiger.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Melissa

    The article clearly talks about the "situtation" in China but why is the picture taken from a pet shop in Singapore? Does the writer think that Singapore is a province in China? FYI Singapore is a small country in Southeast Asia, its not part of China.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walken1

      Excellent point. To answer your question, a number of Singaporeans observe the Chinese New Year. It may be that it's also a lot easier for a journalist in Singapore to get permission to take photos for a foreign news outlet than it is in the PRC...

      January 21, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • TK

      Singapore was establisehd by Chinese, is largely a Chinese culture, and the majority of its citizens are of Chinese origin. I've been to both countries and Singapore is one of the safest, cleanest, and nicest places in the world.

      January 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. publius enigma

    It used to be the phrase "the rabbit died" was pretty scary.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. laura gilmore

    Rabbits can not be shipped like chicks because they need a constant supply of food and water. If they dont eat for a few hours they get sick. Rabbits actually make better pets than dogs or cats. They dont bark, they can be litter box trained and dont smell. People dont know they need to be spayed/neutered. They can live 12-15 years if fixed, 3 if not.
    People are idiots.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GB

    Animals are shipped in the US also. For example, UPS tells how to package and ship live animals on their website. Their list of acceptable animals: Accepted Live Animals

    "This is a comprehensive list of live animals accepted for transportation. Shippers are prohibited from shipping any animal not listed here, and all other live animals will not be accepted for transportation. The following live animals are accepted for transportation unless poisonous, venomous, and/or a Threatened or Endangered Species.

    Amphibians (All): Examples: frogs, salamanders, toads
    Crustaceans (All): Examples: crabs, crawfish, lobsters, shrimp
    Fish (All)
    Insects (Limited to beneficial insects only): Examples: bees, butterflies, crickets, lady bugs
    Mollusks (All): Examples: clams, mussels, snails
    Reptiles (Limited to the following):
    – Lizards: Examples: chameleons, geckos, iguanas, monitors, flying dragons
    – Turtles: freshwater turtles (except: snapping turtles), land tortoises, sea turtles
    Worms (All)"

    I don't know if the shipping of fish has changed, but I saw how they arrived in pet stores years ago. They arrived in a foam cooler in little plastic bags. Always some of the bags would shift so that fish would end up in a part of the bag without any water. A large number always died because of this method of shipping. Hopefully it is more humane now.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kraznodar

    Isn't it funny that the organization that kills the most pets in the USA, much more than any 2 other organizations combined, is bent over dead bunnies in the mail? PETA must just be angry that they didn't get to kill those bunnies themselves.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 4walls

    Okay!! You can have all the jobs!! Just please don't hurt the little rabbits.....!

    January 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12