Saturday, 20 April 2013
We would also like to welcome Moore Space for pets to The RWAF retailer charter. Mike told us this: I set up my business " Moore Space For Pets" last year with the passion of being able to make high quality yet affordable enclosures and runs which would enable people to give their pets the room they need to be happy and healthy at an affordable price. The welfare of rabbits is very important as is the welfare of every other animal and pet. I think many pet owners need educating regarding the minimum care needed when purchasing animals and to understand they are living creatures and not just cute pets that after time may become a hindrance to families who often regret purchasing them. To educate potential rabbit owners that they need to clean, exercise and interact with their new pets and also follow guidance from the RWAF is of utmost importance when I sell and promote the products a sell. The RWAF recommend a 6ft x 2ft x 2ft hutch with an attached 8ft run as a minimum living area for 2 rabbits. We feel that it is necessary to work with pet shops to change opinion and to work towards more suitable products, and information being accessible to existing and potential rabbit owners as well as members of staff, to promote rabbit welfare.
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 07:21
Rabbit Questionnaire Researcher James Oxley is trying to find out about rabbit-human interaction. He has compiled a survey that aims to help him do that. Please give some of your time to completing either an online version or a downloadable one that can be posted to him once completed. You can complete the survey online here http://www.smart-survey.co.uk/s/Rabbitquestionnaire Or download it here https://skydrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=8085B393A126F3CC%21241
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 07:20
The RWAF are delighted to announce another signing to our retailer charter. UK Aviaries have removed their 3ft hutch from sale within 2 hours of our conversation - can't get a quicker response than that! Stuart, who has owned UK Aviaries for the last 9 years, got in touch with us after some feedback from a local rabbit rescue about his rabbit hutches and was actually shocked to learn about the welfare implications of small rabbit hutches and problems that they can cause. We hope that you will support Stuart, and our other charter members when making a purchase. Stuart told us ' I am not a rabbit keeper and I believed that rabbits lived happily in hutches eating carrots all day. Now that I know different I am shocked that hutches that are unsuitable can be sold. UK Aviaries will not be doing this any more because we have signed up to the RWAF Retailer Charter and we are 100% behind the 'A hutch is not enough' campaign. We made the change to range that we offer within hours of talking to RWAF. Although we sell hutches we also sell kennels with runs which make brilliant rabbit accommodation too, and we can offer a discount to any rescue registered as a charity. So if you fancy something a bit different for your rabbits have a look what UK Aviaries can offer. http://www.ukaviaries.co.uk/ The RWAF recommend a 6ft x 2ft x 2ft hutch with an attached 8ft run as a minimum living area for 2 rabbits. We feel that it is necessary to work with pet shops to change opinion and to work towards more suitable products, and information being accessible to existing and potential rabbit owners as well as members of staff, to promote rabbit welfare.
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 07:19
Please spare a minute to sign this petition from Rabbits Require Rights (Scotland) who are doing a great job of raising awareness of rabbit welfare in Scotland, and have recently met with their MP. https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/scottish-parliament-the-uk-government-as-a-whole-implement-urgent-pet-rabbit-specific-welfare-laws-in-the-uk
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 07:18
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Our Veterinary Adviser, Richard Saunders, attended the British Small Animal Veterinary Association annual congress at the weekend, where Professor Anna Meredith revealed the findings of the feeding trial that has been carried out by the University of Edinburgh, FERA (Food and Environment Research Agency, a branch of DEFRA), and Burgess. Previous findings had shown that rabbits only fed muesli became rapidly obese, compared to those on muesli or pellet and hay diets, or hay only diets. The more recent work showed that rabbits which were fed on muesli, with or without hay, developed the first warning signs of dental disease, spent less time in active behaviours (and in some cases chewed flooring materials), and had more uneaten caecotrophs, and abnormally small faecal pellets. They also drank less water, which is an important factor in urinary tract health for rabbits. Full details will emerge as the work is published in the scientific literature, but these findings provide the first scientific proof that hay based diets, with small, carefully measured amounts of extruded pellet tailored to the needs of the pet rabbit, are better for their health than muesli based diets, with or without hay, for many reasons. Vets will be more aware now of these findings, being unveiled at a major vet conference, and aim to spread that information at Rabbit Awareness Week events throughout the country. And Pets at Home have taken the decision to remove muesli based diets from their shelves, a move which is to be welcomed, and to be hoped that other retailers will follow.
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 13:58
Friday, 15 March 2013
The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF), the largest charity with the sole aim of improving the lives of pet rabbits in the UK, is delighted by the EU ban on animal testing of cosmetics. The rabbit is closely linked to animal testing, even to the point of being the symbol used on cosmetics packaging, so the charity welcomes this historic move with open arms. But the RWAF is keen to stress that while society is reducing cruelty to animals in some areas, thousands of pet rabbits are still suffering, not only because of lack of knowledge on the part of the owners but also because there is a lack of legislation to protect this much misunderstood pet. RWAF Vet Expert Advisor Richard Saunders said: "Unbelievably, we have more legislation to protect lab rabbits than for pet rabbits. For example, many rabbit hutches are for sale below the legal requirement for lab rabbits. Rabbits are not battery animals. But if a rabbit is confined to a hutch of less than 4ft x 2ft then that's how they're being kept ... in worse conditions than are allowed for lab rabbits." He continued: "The problem rabbits face is that most are kept, as the Victorians kept them, for food - in a hutch for easy access. We are making great steps in some areas of animal welfare but somehow it's still seen as okay to keep an animal that needs to run, jump and dig confined to a hutch, and there's very little protection through the law." The RWAF asks people not to buy a rabbit this Easter and only to take on rabbits if they have looked into everything that's involved. And the RWAF's message to existing owners is simple: find out how you can improve your rabbits' lives by checking out the RWAF website. www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 04:26
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Rescue centres are often presented with female rabbits that are either pregnant, soon to give birth to many kits, or with a litter already. This is an extra strain on the limited space for rescuing and rehoming rabbits, which can result in many rabbits being euthanased, or left in terrible homes. It is also largely, if not entirely preventable. The main causes of unwanted litters are mis-sexing of a pair of rabbits, and a lack of awareness that rabbits can breed both at a young age, and also immediately after they have given birth. The former is probably the most common situation. Rabbits may be challenging to sex at a young age. They are actually easier to sex when they are only a few weeks old, but at this stage many people are reluctant to handle them, due to the risks of the doe becoming stressed by this, scenting strange smells on the young, and potentially injuring or even killing and eating them. At 8-10 weeks , the most common age to rehome them, they can actually be very difficult to sex, and mistakes may be made. Referring to textbooks, developing experience in sexing them, and asking more experienced people for assistance is helpful at this point. Once the testicles have descended in the males, sexing is easy, but unless they are separated immediately at this stage, mating is possible. It is therefore vital to sex them promptly before 10-12 weeks, and neuter or group them accordingly pending neutering (noting that males will fight with males if housed after sexual maturity). Rabbits may mate whilst pregnant, but whilst European hares are capable of superfetation (the act of carrying a litter of 2 or more different ages, subsequently born at different times), this is thought to be extremely rare indeed in rabbits. It is far more likely that rabbits will mate either on the day of birth, or over the next few days, if left with the buck. Producing milk does not stop them mating and becoming pregnant, at all. If it did, rabbits would only have 1 or 2 litters per year in the wild, whereas they are capable of multiple litters over the summer, and are often bred in captive situations with a litter to litter interval of 35 days. It is therefore possible for a rabbit to mate, carry a litter, and give birth throughout the whole period that they are feeding a litter.
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 08:09