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Rescue Centres - Adopt Don't Shop



33,000 rabbits are handed to rescue centres each year. [19]


Rescue centres do a great job taking in all of these unwanted rabbits, but they are being stretched by the amount of rabbits that are abandoned. There is an oversupply of rabbits, causing many rescues to become overworked and stressed. People should be doing what they can to help relieve them of the burden by adopting from them, rather than purchasing from a store or breeder.


A rehoming survey study carried out by Cotton Tails Rescue showed that the majority (over 80%) of rabbits in rescue centres originally came from a pet store or breeder, and that 60% of people felt they had been given poor or no information at the time of purchase. 84% of these rabbits were unneutered, and 80% unvaccinated. The study also showed that rabbits were generally given up within 4 years of ownership, with 22% in less than 6 months. The main reason being ‘novelty wore off/children lost interest”, and “not realising how much time/work was involved” coming second. [42] This highlights why it’s so important to take the time to learn about how to properly care for a pet to meet their welfare needs, before taking on the responsibility. Ask yourself ‘Is a Rabbit for Me?’ Rabbits should never be purchased on a whim or as an impulse buy.


If you’ve done your research and are sure that a rabbit is the pet for you, then don’t just go to the nearest pet store. Visit a rescue centre instead, where there are plenty of bunnies needing a good home. The rescue centre will be better equipped with knowledge and experience of rabbits to give advice and educate you on looking after your new pet. A good place to look at is the Rabbit Rehome website. Here you’ll find a database of places around the UK with rabbits up for adoption, and details on how to contact them, so you can easily find somewhere local.


When adopting from a rescue centre, there are certain things they will ask and expect from you to check that you are properly educated about rabbit welfare and ensure that the rabbit is going to the correct environment. Don't be put off by this, as they are just looking out for the best interests of the animal.


Rabbit Rescue Centres may appear irritating to deal with, but are worth it!!! The following comes from Alex's own experiences.


Rabbit"When I first phoned up a rescue centre to adopt some rabbits I was stunned by how long it took for them to get back to me and how many hoops they expected me to jump through prior to providing me with the 2 rabbits I’d asked for. I’d even said I’d give them a good donation!


Why were they being so awkward when I was doing them a favour???


Because I wasn’t, not necessarily! I just didn’t realise and I was being stupidly naïve.


Rescue centres are, in my experience, run by very hardworking, very passionate and very caring people. The rabbits they have rescued aren’t a nuisance to be rid of, but a part of the family who needs a good home. The rescue will not risk giving them to someone who doesn’t know how to look after them!


Arrogantly, I genuinely expected to be welcomed with open arms, rabbits almost thrown at me, donation happily accepted and I’d be on my way. The truth was something different. This was my experience with the rescue I dealt with, each rescue will work differently, but understand they are extremely busy, overworked and need people to cut them some slack. They are wonderful people who will help you and appreciate your helping them.


The rescue asked that I send in photos of my rabbit accommodation and fill in a lengthy questionnaire. I did as requested. Then the founder arranged to visit me to inspect the accommodation and ensure that I knew about rabbits before giving some into my care.


The founder then kindly took away 2 of my rabbits whom she was going to bond with 2 other rabbits so they had friends (the 2 I had didn’t like each other, were fighting and would likely kill each other if left alone, because rabbits can be irritating like that!). My only request was that any rabbit bonded with mine be a similar age so they could have a life together. Anything else didn’t matter and the rescue founder could bond mine with whomever she and my rabbits liked. I highly recommend this method, don’t get attached to an individual rabbit at a rescue, take whomever needs homing the most or whomever bonds with your rabbit (if you’re doing what I did) the best. They all need love and they all need a home. Besides, all rabbits are super!


After 2 weeks with her, one of my rabbits was being a primadonna, she brought them back to me with their new friends who had already been neutered and vaccinated, saving me the trouble. (Please remember the costs to neuter and vaccinate that the rescue will likely have had to cover, and ensure you cover this is your donation. A rescue, if happy with you as a new bunny parent, will likely accept any donation gratefully, but please remember they’ve had to house, feed, vaccinate and neuter the rabbit so I would recommend a minimum donation of £100-£200 per rabbit, even if they say less, more of course helps more rabbits who don’t have lovely new owners).


I greatly appreciate the work of the rescue centre I dealt with and have contributed to them since, and they’ve also bonded me a third rabbit at a later stage. These people are unsung heroes and need support."


Also, when adopting from a Rescue, you are helping more than the rabbit you adopt, you’re also helping the one who can now be admitted to the Rescue.