• Share to Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Email
    • Print

April 11, 2014

Thinking About Buying a Rabbit for Easter? Read This First

If you're ready to add a rabbit to your family, adopt from an animal shelter or rescue

  • Several rabbits were among more than 180 animals rescued from a suspected puppy mill in Arkansas. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

  • After a stay in the temporary emergency shelter, the rabbits were healthy enough for travel. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

  • The rabbits were transported to the Washington, D.C. area and transferred to local animal shelters for adoption. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

When rescuers arrived on the scene of a suspected puppy mill in Jefferson County, Arkansas, the 121 dogs on the property were not the only animals in need of aid. Several rabbits were among the dozens of other animals rescued that day—many of them living in feces and filth, without access to clean water or food, and suffering from medical problems.

For animals kept in breeding mills, such conditions are not uncommon. Mill operators profit from the demand for baby animals, while thousands of adoptable pets wait in animal shelters for loving homes. After cats and dogs, rabbits are the animals most commonly surrendered to animal shelters. 

Many of those surrendered rabbits filling up shelters and rescues were likely Easter gifts once themselves, given up after the novelty inevitably wears off and the reality of long-term pet care sets in. Less lucky than those in shelters are the pet rabbits released outside to fend for themselves (unlike wild rabbits, domestic rabbits can't survive on their own outdoors). Chickens and ducks, the other Easter basket mainstays, also require dedicated, consistent care, and far too many of these birds end up in shelters and sanctuaries in the weeks after Easter.

If you're sure a rabbit, chicken, or duck is the right pet for you, look up adoptable animals at your local animal shelters and rescues to find your match.

More ways to help rabbits

  • Sign Up
  • Log in using one of your preferred sites
    Login Failure
  • Take Action
  • Shop

Looking for a pet?

Find your perfect match at a local shelter.

Shelter Pet Project
can help.