Thursday, 14 May 2015

Vision for Rabbit Welfare in the UK

The RWAF, along with RSPCA, BRC and PIF have formed the working group called 'Rabbit Welfare Group' which is working on the Health & Welfare Strategy for rabbits for the UK. The first stage of this has been to agree a 'Vision for rabbit welfare' which is listed below. The 10-point vision is based on the recommendations from an RSPCA-commissioned University of Bristol study into rabbit welfare in the UK, which concluded that the welfare needs of many companion rabbits are not currently being met. It includes, for example, the vision that all rabbits sold or rehomed are to be kept in compatible pairs or groups and that all rabbits should live in an environment which meets their physical, social and behavioural needs. The next stage will be to develop a roadmap to achieve the vision. The Rabbit Welfare Vision Statement states that: All companion rabbits enjoy a good life in which they can experience positive welfare (i.e. good physical and psychological health) as well as being protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. All rabbits have access to an appropriate diet, known to optimise animal health and minimise the risk of disease. This includes having continual access to both good quality fibre-based material (e.g. hay or fresh grass) to eat and fresh, clean water. All rabbits live in an environment which meets their physical, social and behavioural needs (e.g. to run, jump, graze, dig, rest and stand up on their hind legs without their ears touching the roof). All rabbits are sold or rehomed to be kept in compatible pairs or groups. All rabbits are bred, reared and kept in a way known to minimise their chances of developing fear of handling and other stimuli. All rabbits are given regular preventative health care as recommended by veterinary experts, e.g. vaccinated against myxomatosis and RHD (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease: a virulent and fatal viral disease of rabbits) (according to current vaccine licence recommendations). All rabbits are given appropriate and timely veterinary treatment to protect them from pain, disease and suffering. All those working with rabbits (including vets, retailers, breeders, rehoming organisations) undertake effective training programmes and have resources available to them on current good practice in housing and husbandry, the promotion of health and welfare, and the management of disease and welfare risks. All rabbit health and welfare advice and recommendations are based on international scientific knowledge and professional experience. The veterinary professions offers up-to-date expertise in recognition, management and prevention of disease and in practices to promote good welfare. The number of rabbits requiring rehoming (both privately and via rescue organisations) is minimised. The organisations will now seek for this vision to be incorporated into a Defra Code of Practice for rabbits in England, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (a code for rabbits already exists in Wales and Northern Ireland). Vision for Rabbit Welfare in the UK was created by the University of Bristol, the British Rabbit Council, the Pet Industry Federation, the RSPCA and the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF). It has also been endorsed by the Blue Cross, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), the National Office for Animal Health (NOAH), PDSA, Wood Green the Animal Charity

Monday, 26 January 2015

Barry M Bunny Cam in conjunction with Heat Magazine and Anim-mates rescue

Hop over to Heat Magazine to see Barclay and Freida on the webcam with Elizabeth from Anim-Mates, inconjunction with Barry M
http://www.heatworld.com/2015/01/join-us-on-monday-for-bunnycam-with-heat-makes-you-happy#.VMY18yusVid

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

2 new signings to the retailer charter – please welcome them and support them if you can. Handmade-Hutches-4u Please welcome Handmade- Hutches-4U to the retailer charter. This is what Beverley told us: Rabbits need to be able to have plenty enough room to be able to exercise, play, sleep, relax and go to the toilet but most of all they need to be able to feel safe. Rabbits need to be able to rest, sleep, eat and drink in comfort. Exercise, play and feel safe. Shelter from all types of bad weather and the hot sun too. Having a good size Hutch and run and having lots of love and time for your rabbits is the first stage on making a suitable health happy environment for your Rabbit. We support 'A Hutch is not enough' campaign because their priority is to make sure rabbits are treated the same as their owners would expect to be treated. Afterall a human would not like to be left in a small box and just thrown food and drink once a day so why should rabbits and every other animal too be treated like that. Beverley Lees https://www.facebook.com/pages/Handmade-Hutches-4U/1509420569307527?fref=ts They can make anything bespoke so get in touch if you have something in mind! They are based in York and can only offer local delivery at present. Manor Pet Housing
The latest signing is Manor Pet Housing, who offer a range of delightful hide outs and enrichment items. There is sure to be something that you love! This is what Liz told us: Manor pet housing specialise in bespoke craftsmanship to create good quality products that are built to last as pet homes. We have many of our own designs, but are also happy to work with you to create an exact made to measure home/setup/enclosure to fit into the space you have. We currently do not keep rabbits ourselves, however when I was a child I was guilty to owning a rabbit that was kept in just a hutch!……. If only I knew then what I know now, that rabbits life, could have been so If only I knew then what I know now, that rabbits life, could have been so much more!! With that in mind we are now building these rabbit hideouts and enrichments to help you as rabbit owners create a more suitable environment for your pet, one that promotes the rabbit to have the ability to perform natural movements such as hopping, jumping and stretching out, foraging behaviours such as digging, and places to hide from things that scare them. We want to work with existing owners, perspective owners and the RWAF organisation to increase awareness that rabbit welfare is extremely important. To be able to educate people that if you do not fully research a rabbits requirements they will be indirectly causing pain, suffering, injury and disease through poor husbandry skills and lack of knowledge. Rabbits are intelligent animals, therefore if allowed to get bored and lonely with nothing to do, their health will suffer. That is simply the reason as to why Manor Pet Housing chooses to support ‘A Hutch Is Not Enough Campaign’ A website is coming, but in the mean time please check out their facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/Manorpethousing?fref=ts

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Time to Make Your Rabbit Resolutions!

We can all be a bit critical of New Year’s resolutions but some do stick, so here are some resolutions for anyone who wants to help pet rabbits – amongst the most neglected and misunderstood pets. Please take a look at the below and make some rabbit resolutions! And yes, some resolutions do only last a month, so we’ve included some January specific ideas too! Please share! 1. Order a 'Hop To It' booklet and give it to someone you know who has a bunny, they could use some extra advice and information. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JL2BSNX5M8ZFE 2. Raise money for the RWAF’s “A Hutch is Not Enough” campaign at no cost to you by using Give as You Live when you shop on-line. https://www.giveasyoulive.com/charity/rabbitwelfarefund Or use Easy Fundraising, which does exactly the same thing: http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/rwaf Or The Giving Machine: http://www.thegivingmachine.co.uk/beneficiary.php?ben_id=58569&return=true#.VKQGaCusWSo 3. Adopt a bunny! If you have a single rabbit then think about adopting another. Sociability is a huge part of a rabbit’s make-up so every bunny needs some bunny to love. Rescues have been inundated this winter and most are full and not able to help any more. Please check out saveafluff.co.uk or rescuereview.co.uk to find a rescue local to you, and talk to them about adopting a friend for your bun. 4. If you can not adopt, then you can support your local rescue by offering to help clean out, or donate hay and food. 5. Spread the word - during January please pledge to share one of our posters or messages every week. Help us educate lots of other rabbit owners about good diet, housing, companionship and health issues because sadly, many owners don’t know what their rabbits need to live happy and healthy lives. Please share this post for starters and keep an eye out for future postings and get busy with that share button! If and when we share a poster, please print it off and ask a local pet shop, garden centre, school or place of work to display it. 6. Change your cover photo to our 'A Hutch is Not Enough' image (attached to this posting) for a month. 7. Order one of our “A Hutch is Not Enough” car stickers for only £2 and help spread the word! If you don’t have a car then any window will do! https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=KVKXBPXNNAMDE 8. Look for the leaping bunny logo: www.leapingbunny.org and make sure any cosmetics and household products you buy are not tested on bunnies (or any other animals). M&S, Superdrug, Co-op, Sainsbury and Barry M are among the brands that all offer cruelty free options. 9. If you are not already a member then please join us! You will love Rabbiting On Magazine. We do our best to keep our members up to date on the latest health, behaviour and welfare issues and use recognised experts, so you can trust us. And of course there are plenty of pictures of our favourite pets too! Why not check out our Winter issue, which has been our most popular yet: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=M3CR69KWKKRP4 Or Join up on a subscription and get all 4 issues as they come out each year. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=XXGQ5BWJWUY3A Please note these links are for UK delivery only, for outside of the UK please contact us at hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk 10. Last but by no means not least – please remember to always give your bunnies the lives they deserve. They need plenty of space, the right diet, companionship, health checks and an enriching environment to allow them to display their natural behaviours. Let them be rabbits! Thank you everybody, have a fantastic new year!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Perticular Pens - welcome to the RWAF retailer charter

Perticular Pens offer something a bit different and are working with rehoming charities to produce welfare friednly accommodation in their centres. This is what they told us: At Perticular we wanted to put our support behind the A Hutch is Not Enough Campaign help to highlight the misinformation regarding rabbit welfare and dedicate ourselves to improving the accommodation currently available. Working closely with charities to help improve conditions for rescue rabbits we hope to educate potential owners in the care and welfare that rabbits not only need but deserve. As a former rabbit owner I understand the needs of what we feel is a misunderstood animal that needs as much, if not more care than any other pet and endeavour to exceed the current recommendations conscience of the rabbits welfare during their time at the rescue centres. At Peticular we will not design, sell or encourage any animal housing that falls below the recommended standard but will openly promote the thesis behind the A Hutch Is Not Enough Campaign and continue to champion the RAWF's cause. What they offer is bespoke, so why not check out their website to see if there is something that you think your bunnies would appreciate! http://www.peticularpens.co.uk/berwick-animal-rescue-kennels-gallery

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Think Run!

Think Run! Sadly, we're close to the last knockings of summer and before we know it, the winter months will be upon us For pet rabbits that are kept in a hutch with no attached running enclosure, that's when their exercise time goes down to virtually zero. The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) are the UK's largest charity with the sole aim of improving the health and welfare of domestic rabbits, a pet that all too often are kept in conditions that fall well short of the needs of the species. They are advising rabbit owners to take advantage of the few remaining weeks of summer to attach a permanent exercise run to their rabbits' hutch in time for the weather to turn. "In the summer, owners will often lift their rabbits from the hutch to the run, or give them supervised exercise time in a walled garden," said Richard Saunders, Expert Veterinary Advisor to the RWAF, "even this isn't ideal because the time is still limited to well below their natural requirement, but in the winter it is a great deal worse because owners don't want to put their rabbits out into the rain or snow." As the charity points out in its literature and on its website, Rabbits keep different hours to humans so shouldn’t be reliant on their owners to be lifted from their hutch into the run, and they should be able exercise in all weathers. Having a hutch inside or connected to a large secure enclosure is vital to allow them to display their natural behaviours. The exercise area should be at least partially covered with tarpaulin which is inexpensive from garden centres and DIY stores. There has been a recent increase in the availability of better quality products that meet rabbits' needs and it is now much easier for people to get hold of 6 foot hutches and large exercise runs. The RWAF recommend a minimum floor space of 10ft x 6ft for a pair of rabbits (rabbits should be kept in netuered pairs or compatible groups). The RWAF urges owners to use their imagination when providing accommodation for their rabbits. As Richard Saunders explained, "There are several manufacturers that stock good quality runs that fall short of the minimum recommended size but that doesn't mean they can't be combined to double the space!" Check out http://www.rwaf.org.uk/exercise for more information about the importance of an attached exercise area for your rabbits.