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. hmmm

    and these are the people taking over the world. bunch of idiots.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hmmm

    we are inhumane in the west, too but the chinese take the cake. when i was a child, my chinese grandmother said the chinese are the cruelist people on the planet because life is cheap there. i agree.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 11:11

    I despise PETA, but they are correct on this one. This is what PETA should focus on instead of worrying about who eats meat or wears leather. That being said, anyone who adopts and animal needs to understand how to care for it. I keep a flock of 60 chickens a dog, three cats, two rats and a south american frog and it takes at least 40 minutes a day just to feed and water them all. Cages have to be cleaned and litter changed on a regular basis. It is a labor of love that you need to be prepared for before you ever get the animal.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Henry

    As I said earlier, US mail live animals ALL THE TIME, anyone with a little bit of knowledge of the real world knows this, this article only gets attention just because it has "CHINA" in its content.
    most of the poster here are just racist, guess you guys will never learn.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. truthinrock

    Leave it to the Chinese to mail rabbits. For all of you screaming about cruelty to animals, check out the "cat in a box" trend that's been going on for YEARS and then start screaming.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Henry

    If somebody actually viewed the picture, that picture has nothing to do with rabbits nor china, guess nowadays anyone can pin anything on china just because it says "china", relevant or not, nobody seems to care

    January 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walken1

      "A clerk holds a rabbit ..."

      How again does the picture not have anything to do with rabbits? DOH

      January 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. michael

    Asians are really stupid and cruel to animals in general. They eat dogs, cats, still hunt whales under the guise of "research and just really don;t care about animal life. The Asian life is all about respect...just not for animals.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • hello

      To Asians, dogs ARE their food. They were taught that they were acceptable to eat. It's not like they treat the animals as companions then eat them. They're raised, just like a chicken or a cow. And think about it: pigs are actually smarter than dogs, but many Westerners eat pork without complaints.

      January 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Akira

    Why are people sending rabbits through the mail? That's completely asinine!

    January 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Julie

    It would be horrible to buy any animal that needed to be shipped and have it arrive dead. But animals are shipped all the time, have been for years,centuries even, and although it's traumatic for the animal and not the best way to get an animal if it can be avoided, it works out well most of the time.
    Everyone should also remember that Easter has been a big chick and bunny buying holiday for years in the US, and alot of those pets wind up dead or abandoned too.
    The real issue here is human selfishness, greed, stupidity and irresponsibility – which is just impossible to overestimate. I'm sure all those people who abandoned their bunnies on the college campus, or flush little pets down the toidy, or let snakes loose in the Everglades, or dump cats along roads all think they're nice, intelligent people. Well they aren't They're just walking away from their dirty work.
    There's alot of special places in hell waiting for many of us.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. COL. BAT GUANO

    "Year Of The Rabbit" by Al Stewart

    January 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Meladee

    I can't wait until they start mailing humans....they are the ones that deserve death like that. Humans are the worst creatures on earth. I don't care what color, we all have cruel and stupid ideas when it comes to the treatment of animals. Use your brains, people! They are little lives that have feelings just like you do...hunger, cold, pain...they feel it all.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bostongye

    @Jack, yeah, us whites are totally racist. The US president, "leader of the free world" is a black man, elected by a country whose majority is white. Get over yourself.

    January 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chinese again?

    The Chinese government have no rules for welfare of animals, and the way they treat their citizens are not far from it. I pity all the cats and dogs especially that end up tortured for fetish websites and for fur trade (yes, google or youtube it if you don't believe me)

    January 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Karl Blessing

    Mail order pets... bout the only thing that can survive that, especially in the manner the chinese ship them are typically insects. At best in the US I've heard of reptiles and fish being transported, but they're often shipped with very special restrictions. Never heard of a mammal being shipped in a box, likely cuz it leads to problems like this.

    January 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Perilous

    This is horrific. My disgust with humanity knows no bounds.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
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