Rabbits and Easter

2 years ago my partner and I were driving home when we spotted a small white rabbit on the side of the road. It was a rural area with no houses in sight. It was late at night and it was 2 weeks after Easter. We pulled over and got out of the car thinking we would scare her into the woods away from the road. Once we saw that she was entirely white and clean and not afraid of us in the slightest, we realized that she was a domestic rabbit and likely dumped just moments before we spotted her. Having absolutely no experience with rabbits, but knowing that she would die within a few days if left on her own, we scooped her up in a big sweater and large shopping bag and took her home. What followed was the first of many frantic Google searches on rabbit care.

Renovation day. Binks enjoys new flooring.

Renovation day. Binks enjoys new flooring.

We initially thought that we would give her over to our local SPCA to be adopted, but once we learned how careless people tend to be with rabbits we couldn’t stand the thought of her living less of a life than what we could offer. We desperately hoped that our cats would accept her. They did within just a few days.

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What started as this…

Let Me Out!!

…Ended like this

Since adopting her we’ve learned that rabbits are routinely bred and sold for Easter and then a whopping 80 percent are abandoned within just a few months. And like in the case of Binks, the irresponsibilty is so extensive that people will dump them at the side of the road to die within a few days by cars or predators rather than own up to their abandonment at a shelter. The Easter rabbit problem is so widespread that rabbit rescue groups actually have campaigns along the lines of “buy chocolate rabbits instead.”

Binks reads Animal Liberation and encourages you to do the same.

Binks reads Animal Liberation and encourages you to do the same.

Rabbits require a lot of care. Their homes need to be cleaned everyday. They need fresh vegetables and hay everyday. And perhaps most importantly, they need to spend a minimum of 2-4 hours roaming freely everyday. Ideally, they can always roam freely and choose to go back to their digs when they see fit. They like to chew and dig, so bunny-proofing your house is a must, and even with some Binks-safing measures, we still find many items mysteriously chewed and need to fix or replace just about all of our baseboards. House rabbits live for 8-15 years and we spend much more time caring for Binks than we do our two cats.

Still, she’s an absolute joy. Her sensitivity and delicacy are heartwarming, and her spunk and demanding nature make us laugh everyday. It’s wonderful how much life she’s brought to our home, and devastating to think what would have happened if we hadn’t been in the right place at the right time.

Binks helps do laundry.

Binks helps do laundry.

Do not buy rabbits as pets. Learn everything involved in proper rabbit care and adopt from your local shelter.

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My Experience of a Livestock Auction: The Unbearable Moments of Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World

I went to a livestock auction in late November. It took me a while to process the experience because it was so traumatic. For anyone who isn’t familiar, livestock auctions are where farmers buy and sell the animals they exploit. … Continue reading

We’re Already Vegan in Our Hearts and Minds

I am not an “animal person” – never was. But it doesn’t take a special kind of person to know that suffering and killing are wrong.

Spending so much time at a sanctuary, I find myself more invested in the stories of the individual animals.

The oldest potbelly pig Charlie has some digestive issues so he gets Metamucil everyday with his food, and Country Time Lemonade to watch it down!

Everyone has their own diet to meet their special needs. The folks in Animal Care work so hard to take amazing care of everyone.

Carmen the Barbados sheep is a natural sheep with no wool, who sheds excess fur. Yup, that’s right, thick “wool” that needs to be sheared is not natural, it’s the process of thousands of years of selective breeding. Carmen came to Animal Place a young lamb, very lucky to be alive at all. She was being raised on a small family farm in rural Nevada County when she broke her leg. For weeks she stumbled around on the farm as the leg became infected. The property owners did not provide any veterinary care, at which point a neighbour intervened and convinced the owners to sign custody over to Animal Place. They rushed her to the UC Davies veterinary centre, but they were unable to save the leg. She now hops around on 3 legs, and seems pretty happy. She’s a little shaky, probably because it’s hard work on her muscles to support herself. She’s certainly enjoying herself here!

Panda is a cow who was being raised at a school, as part of an FFA or 4-H program. Someone broke into the school at night, covered him in lighter fluid, and set him on fire. When he was found, the person raising him for slaughter wanted to save him – meaning save him so that he could sell him at auction to be killed later. A private donor stepped in and helped Animal Place save his life.

It’s easy to see a case like Panda’s as simply as aberration, but the fact is that this kind of extreme cruelty is the inevitable result of seeing beings as things. When animals are converted into things for our purposes and are legally owned, we can’t expect for them to be treated with any respect or dignity or justice. If they happen to be treated well, that’s great, but it’s just lucky. The harsher reality of their mistreatment is built into the consciousness that looks out at the world of other animals and sees things to use for our selfish purposes. The problem is use not treatment. We react to “cruelty” cases with repulsion whenever the cruelty at hand is not the institutionalized, business-as-usual cruelty inflicted on animals every single day. The basic moral principle that underlies our opposition to these individual cruelty cases is that it’s wrong to cause unnecessary suffering and death to sentient beings. So, since we don’t need to eat animals, any suffering or death inflicted on them for food production is precisely the unnecessary suffering and death we oppose in individual cases.

Most of us are already committed in principle to do no harm.
We’re already vegan in our hearts and minds.