MSPs are considering giving better protection for pet rabbits, hoping to prevent neglect and abandonment, two serious problems that affect rabbits all over the country, not just in Scotland. The public petition seeking improved legal protection for rabbits, raised by the campaign group Rabbits require Rights, received 2,044 signatures. The petition has been providing in evidence to Holyrood’s public petitions. The petition, which is now closed after the third hearing by the committee, called for rabbits to be given the same protection as dogs and cats and also introduce regulations on the minimum size of housing and breeding regulations.
MSPS were informed that the Scottish government will consider the welfare of rabbits as part of a wider review in the regulation protecting pets. A spokeswoman for Rabbits Require Rights Scotland told reporters that the campaigners were happy that their call for action has been heard by MSPs.
The SPCA rescued 728 rabbits in 2014 and 699 were removed and taken into care during 2015. The rabbits taken into care included escaped pets as well as unwanted and abandoned rabbits. Mike Flynn, the Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, said that one of the common excuses for abandoning rabbits is that the children who wanted the rabbits become fed up. Another common reason is the owners say they don’t have the time to look after their pet. Mr Flynn also said that one of the biggest issues is that rabbits are being left alone in a hutch with no interaction apart from a quick visit for feeding and to provide water. Those rabbits are ‘literally suffering in silence, living a miserable and lonely life”.