Wednesday, 1 February 2017
This is our letter of objection to the proposed rabbit breeding facility. Although welfare is our concern, it is not a planning concern, so any objections should be based on the relevant planning policy. This is the planning application: http://planning.sholland.gov.uk/OcellaWeb/showDocuments?reference=H23-1295-16&module=pl Objection to planning application ref: H23-1295-16 – Proposed building for the breeding of pet rabbits on Land off Whale Drove, Whaplode Drove, PE12 0UB I am writing to register an objection to the above planning application on behalf of the Rabbit Welfare Fund (RWF), who have several concerns relating to the development proposal. The following points of objection are raised in respect of the application to erect a building for the breeding of pet rabbits on land off Whale Drove. The main areas of concern over the planning application have been broken down into material considerations, with an assessment of how each aspect fails to meet the relevant planning policy. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out three dimensions to sustainable development as economic, social and environmental. While the proposed scheme at Whale Drove could contribute towards the local economy, in respect of the social and environmental benefits the proposals are seriously flawed. The social and environmental aspects will be considered more fully in the following paragraphs. By failing to meet the social and environmental requirements of planning policy, the proposal cannot be considered sustainable and is not in compliance with the NPPF or Policy SG4 (Development in the Countryside) of the South Holland Local Plan 2006 and Policy 10 (Employment Development in the Countryside) from the emerging Local Plan. The agent’s supporting Planning Statement claims that the proposed use is an agricultural use and therefore is compatible with a rural location. In fact, the rabbit breeding facility is not classified as an agricultural use if the rabbits are being bred for domestic pets. The use could only be classified as agricultural if the rabbits are being bred for their meat or fur. On the basis that the proposed pet breeding facility is not an agricultural use, nor a land-based rural business, the development does not need to be located in a countryside location. Policy 10 (Employment Development in the Countryside) of the emerging Local Plan does not make any provision for businesses that are not agricultural or land-based in rural, countryside locations. Accordingly the proposed development is incompatible with the countryside location and the proposed location is unsustainable and contrary to Policy 2 (Spatial Strategy) of the emerging Local Plan. This type of business should not be located in the open countryside, which ordinarily its protected from development in order to preserve the countryside and the landscape character. As such the proposal is thought to be contrary to Policy 29 (Design of New Development) of the emerging Local Plan and would be incongruous in this countryside location. No evidence has been submitted to demonstrate that there are no suitable buildings or sites within a settlement available for the purpose identified. Furthermore the proposal is not justified by a business plan. Both of these requirements are identified in Policy 10 (Employment in the Countryside of the emerging Local Plan, and hence the proposal fails to meet the policy criteria. As mentioned above, no business plan has been submitted with the proposals, and on the basis of the Inspector’s comments in the previous appeal decision for the site, there is doubt over whether the business can run profitably. The RWF have serious concerns over the viability of the business, on the basis that pet ownership of rabbits has dropped from 1 million in 2014 in the UK to 0.8 million in 2016 in the UK (TNS). With the demand for rabbits in the UK falling, the long term viability of the business is put into further doubt. If the business is not sustainable in the longer term, then planning permission should not be granted, as the harm caused to the landscape character by the erection of a new building, completely unrelated to any other built form in the locality cannot be justified in any way, and again, would be contrary to Policy 10 of the emerging Local Plan. Given that the location of the development is remote from all services and the site is not served by any sustainable methods of transport, the proposal will generate an increase in traffic accessing the site (which is in an unsustainable location) generated through workers accessing the site and customers coming to view and collect animals. This is contrary to paragraphs 30 and 37 of the NPPF. A commercial business such as this should not be located away from more built up and more accessible areas. Further concerns regarding the proposal relate to a security/crime risk at the site, due to no 24 hour on-site presence being available. This problem is exacerbated through the fact that the site is in such an isolated location. Finally, the RWF are also concerned over the welfare of rabbits that would be bred at the proposed facility. Very limited detail is included within the planning application on the enclosures, and as a commercial breeder the applicant would need to meet relevant legislation in terms of providing the correct standard of breeding cages and also transportation of the animals. On the basis of the information submitted with this proposal it is not understood whether the relevant welfare standards can be met, which casts further doubt over the viability of the business, should the facility then be required on welfare grounds to breed rabbits at a lower intensity. I trust that the local planning authority will give due weight to the points of objection identified in this letter and resolve to refuse this planning application accordingly.
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 13:04
Monday, 2 January 2017
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 suggestions 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 an 'On the Hop' 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… 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… 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… 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! Join up on a subscription and get all 4 issues as they come out each year. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr… Please note these links are for UK delivery only, for outside of the UK please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 07:42
Thursday, 24 November 2016
Re the inadvertent presence of permethrin in a brand of cat flea control products http://pettradextra.newsweaver.com/…/1is1zfxy1hl1p2fkpfehwg… it's worth reviewing the situation for rabbits. This chemical is VERY toxic in cats, and much less so in rabbits, but given the unknown nature of the situation, in particular how much is present in the product, we would strongly advise against using this product on rabbits, and to return it immediately. As a general rule, it's important to only use flea control products designed for and licensed for rabbits, unless given under the direction of your veterinary surgeon. In particular, products containing the drug Fipronil are contra-indicated in rabbits
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 09:57
"With regard to the recent licensing of ERAVAC in the UK, we are pleased that another option to help prevent RHD2 is available. However, due to the lack of some product information it makes it difficult to give accurate advice at this time. We are discussing this situation, and its impact on other vaccine types, with the VMD and in the meantime can only suggest that owners and vets discuss the options and make a decision based on the specific circumstances of the rabbit(s)."
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 09:45
Thursday, 3 November 2016
Between 1st April 2016 and 30th September 2016, according to the Veterinary Medicine Directorate newsletter "MAVIS" 2025 Special Import Certificates were issued for "Filavac". Combining this with the results of an FOI request in July, showing how many doses were requested for each application, we estimate that somewhere around 72,500 rabbits may have been vaccinated to date. This is down to the tireless efforts of Rabbit owners in requesting this vaccine from their vets, those owners and others who have catalogued cases of RHD2 and made that information available to inform decision making, and vets, vet nurses and practice managers who have organised SICs, importing, and vaccine clinics for their practice. We are also eternally grateful to Dr Richard Saunders for making this process possible in the first place by establishing the demand for the vaccine and setting it up with the VMD, and the veterinary wholesalers for making the vaccine available. Whilst its always important to note that no vaccine offers 100% protection, and that there are occasional side-effects to vaccination, we are very pleased that its been possible to offer the best possible protection to the UK's rabbits over the past few months. FOI Source: https://www.gov.uk/government
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 08:23
The recent licensing of EPRAVAC RHD2 vaccine for use in the UK is important in that it further recognises the concerns of the regulatory authorities and drug companies that RHD2 is a serious health and welfare concern to UK rabbits. However, there are a few caveats here, related to its origin as a vaccine for meat rabbits. The vaccine duration of action has not been determined, as meat rabbits are typically slaughtered very early in life. In fact, the product characteristics state: "Vaccinate only fattening rabbits. No information is available on the safety and efficacy in other categories such as breeding or pet rabbits." In addition, the vaccine is oil adjuvanted, necessitating the following user warning: *Eravac is an emulsion containing mineral oil. Accidental injection may cause severe pain and selling, particularly if injected into a joint or finger – this could result in the loss of the finger if prompt medical attention is not given. If someone is accidentally injected with this product, they must seek medical attention immediately even if only a very small amount is injected. The package leaflet should be shown to the doctor. If pain persists for more than 12 hours after medical examination, the doctor should be contacted again.* For these reasons, we feel that other vaccines, such as Filavac, covering RHD2 are preferable for the pet and rabbit population in the UK. As ever, rabbit owners are urged to discuss the specifics of their rabbit's care with their own vets, and those vets are welcome to contact RWAF for further discussion should they wish to.
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 08:16
Saturday, 23 July 2016
FAQ on Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 1 and 2 Background: For background, whilst the “classic” RVHD has been present in the UK for decades, variant RHVD (also known as RHVD2 or RHDV variant) was first noted in 2010 in France, and has subsequently been identified in the UK (OIE Technical Disease Cards, updated July 2015; Abrantes et al, 2012; Dalton et al, 2012; Westcott and Choudry, 2014). This virus has some differences from the classic RVHD. In particularly it may affect rabbits of any age, as opposed to RVHD1, which is rarely if ever seen in rabbits under 8-10 weeks of age. It has also been reported that the variant gives rise to lower mortalities than classical RVHD, this is not necessarily borne out by reports (Abrantes et al, 2013), and this may be thought to be due to be the case due to its phylogenetic placement alongside non-pathogenic strains. Mortality may vary from collection to collection, and possibly from breed to breed. The only vaccine for rabbits currently available with a UK License is Nobivac Myxo-RHD (MSD Animal Health), which was made available in 2012. Not long after that, the other 3 vaccines against RHVD on the UK market ceased to be available. This vaccine does not appear to offer protection against RVHD2, and neither do the previous vaccine brands available in the UK. However, RHD1 and Myxo remain the most significant health threats which can be vaccinated against, and so coverage with this product remains a priority. Work from Italy and France, however, suggests that, with our reservoir of wild rabbits, we can expect to see RHD2 starting to predominate over RHD1 in the next 5 years or so. However, there are now 4 vaccines available in the EU which have been licensed or are undergoing licensing for efficacy against RVHD2. Three of these vaccines (Filavac VHD K C+V, Cunivak RHD and Cunipravac RHD-2 Variant) now have a Special Import or Special Treatment Certificate from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, on the basis of a clear need to do so given the current disease status. In particular, Filavac VHD K C+V is available through a UK wholesaler, precluding the need to order it directly from France, but note that the veterinary practice ordering it still needs to obtain an SIC from the VMD. At present, stocks are available through three wholesalers, NVS, Henry Schein, and Centaur, but availability is very variable, and practices are advised to contact wholesalers directly for information on stock availability. There is no reason why other wholesalers cannot stock this product, and practices tied to a specific wholesaler may want to consider encouraging them to stock it. The Cunivak RHD is no longer available, and we do not anticipate re-ordering this product. The Cunipravac may be obtained by ordering directly from the manufacturers. However, it is only available in relatively large vial sizes, making it impractical for practice use. I would still be interested in any other practitioners findings regarding this situation, in particular whether they have seen dead or dying rabbits with suspected RVHD1 and/or 2, especially if they have gross PM, histopathology and, especially differential testing as performed by the Moredun Institute, Edinburgh. This webinar may be of interest: http://therabbitvet.com/webinar/vhd-rhd-2-update-rabbit-haemorrhagic-disease Richard Saunders Veterinary Adviser, Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, Enigma House, Culmhead Business Centre, Taunton, Somerset TA3 7DY Refs: Joana Abrantes, Wessel van der Loo, Jacques Le Pendu and Pedro J Esteves (2012) Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) and rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV): a review Veterinary Research 2012, 43:12 doi:10.1186/1297-9716-43-12 Kevin P. Dalton, Inés Nicieza, Ana Balseiro, María A. Muguerza, Joan M. Rosell, Rosa Casais, Ángel L. Álvarez, and Francisco Parra(2012) Variant Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus in Young Rabbits, Spain Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Dec; 18(12): 2009–2012. doi: 10.3201/eid1812.120341 D. G. Westcott and B. Choudhury Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2-like variant in Great Britain Veterinary Record doi:10.1136/vr.102830 Joana Abrantes, Ana M. Lopes, Kevin P. Dalton, Pedro Melo, Jorge J. Correia, Margarida Ramada, Paulo C. Alves,Francisco Parra, and Pedro J. Esteves New Variant of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, Portugal, 2012–2013 Emerg Infect Dis. 2013 Nov; 19(11): 1900–1902. doi: 10.3201/eid1911.130908 Detection of a new variant of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus in France G. Le Gall-Reculé et al February 5, 2011 | Veterinary Record | 137-138 doi: 10.1136/vr.d697 Emergence of a new lagovirus related to Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus Ghislaine Le Gall-Reculé et al (2013) Veterinary Research 2013 44:81 DOI: 10.1186/1297-9716-44-81 Other useful sources of information: http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005087 http://www.iucn-whsg.org/RabbitHemorrhagicDiseaseInEurope https://www.harcourt-brown.co.uk/articles/infectious-disease/rabbit-haemorrhagic-disease Webinar: http://therabbitvet.com/webinar/vhd-rhd-2-update-rabbit-haemorrhagic-disease FAQs Is vaccination necessary? This will obviously involve a risk assessment of the individual rabbit(s), but the wide geographical range of the disease, and the reported losses of several hundred rabbits throughout the UK, as well as molecular testing confirmation of cause of death in many sampled, suggests that vaccination is strongly advisable. Moredun Institute has advised RWAF that cases have been confirmed throughout the UK, so you cannot assume you are in a ‘safe’ area. Additionally we believe that RVHD2 will be significantly under reported. Because RHD2 doesn’t always look like classic RHD1, a rabbit could be taken into hospital looking ill, but nobody would necessarily think to treat that potentially infectious case for RHD2 Do existing RHD1 vaccines work? Because the mortality rate is lower with RHD2, any test using a small number of rabbits could easily show protection just because none of them were going to die anyway. There is some anecdotal evidence that RHD1 vaccines have some short term effect, but nothing peer reviewed. Le Gall-Recule (2013) showed that cross immunity between RHD1 and 2 was, at best, partial. Do RHD2 vaccines work? Le Minor et al (2013) showed that Filavac produced good immunity (full protection) against RHD2 in challenge studies. (15èmes Journées de la Recherche Cunicole, 19-20 novembre 2013, Le Mans, France) How will you get it from your vet? Please only go through your vets, rather than contacting wholesalers directly. The wholesalers will be overwhelmed with requests for information otherwise, and it cannot be obtained directly from them in any case. Your vets will need their own licence, which, now all the info is on the VMD site and is approved, should be straightforward to do. However, this is not as simple as writing a prescription, and your vet may not see enough rabbits for this to be a practical option for them. What dose regime is suggested? Please remember that the use of these products is both off licence (although under the Cascade), and subject to the VMD’s directions on importation of immunological products. As a result, although the manufacturers of the Filavac product suggest that vaccination can be at the same time as the Nobivac RHD-Myxo, as long as it is not in the same site or the same syringe, standard advice with immunological products not licensed for simultaneous administration is to space them out by at least 2 weeks. The duration of immunity has been established at at least 12 months, in laboratory conditions in healthy rabbits. The manufacturer’s advice is to administer a single dose of the vaccine, followed by annual boosters in low risk situations, and 6 monthly in the case of breeding does at high risk. In the UK, I would suggest that high risk situations include rescue centres and breeders, unless they have a strict quarantine policy, and those rabbits which have greater contact with wild rabbits, as well as any geographical location where cases have been reported recently. All other rabbits are likely to fall into the lower risk category, requiring annual re-vaccination. What does the vaccine cost? Here at the RWAF we are not able to monitor or affect the prices charged by veterinary practices. It’s worth pointing out that the price of the vaccine may vary widely between practices due to pricing structures, and due to the caseload of rabbits that they see. If they are able to make use of larger vaccine vials, the cost may be shared across more rabbits and reduced, but this is not often possible, as it requires enough rabbits to be seen in a 2 hour window during which the vial may be used. What if I buried my pet rabbit and now wonder if it was RVHD 2, will the ground be infected and a risk to my other rabbits? (How should bodies be disposed of?) There is not enough information out there to know the correct answer to this. We know it can live for 200 days in ideal conditions, so there is in theory a potential risk but we are speculating here. The best way to dispose of the body of any rabbit that died a sudden or unexplained death is to ask your vet to get it cremated for you. Double wrap them in plastic, and disinfect the outside, before taking to your vet, to reduce the risk of disease spread. Once rabbits have recovered from RVHD2 do they still carry it? Do they still shed? Can I bond to another rabbit safely without risking them? There is not enough information known about RVHD2 to know the correct answer to this with any certainty. In theory they should be safe to bond after 200 days, in practice it may be safe sooner than this, but we really don’t know. Can you recommend a cleaning protocol? 90% of any disinfection is cleaning, that is the most important aspect. After thorough cleaning of the area to remove any scale or residue, use Ark-Klens , which is a benzalkonium chloride disinfectant and as such it should be effective against EC and myxi, to routinely disinfect the housing. Periodically use Virkon (as an inorganic peroxygen compound) to kill any other viruses. Note: Other benzalkonium chloride disinfectants and inorganic peroxygen compounds may be available, in addition to those named above. Other than vaccination can I prevent my rabbit getting RHD? Will they get it from hay? They are very unlikely to get RHD (1 or 2) or Myxomatosis from hay or barn dried grass. Risk / benefit analysis would be in the favour of feeding these foods. Foraged foods may potentially carry RVHD. Try to obtain plants from areas out of the reach of wild rabbits, and do not collect forage from areas of known wild rabbit RVHD infection. Biosecurity advice was given in the webinar (link above) but summarised here: Use foot dips or change footwear between going outside, especially into areas frequented by wild rabbits Quarantine new animals, feed them last, use new equipment such as bottles / bowls for them. Barrier nurse any suspicious cases Try to exclude wild rabbits and unless they can be excluded from the garden consider stopping the practice of moving pens around the garden and even consider a double fence round rabbit runs. What are the risks of “over-vaccination” and vaccine ingredients? Vaccinating with an RHD 1 and 2 vaccine (Filavac), 1-2 times per year, on top of an existing RVHD1 and Myxomatosis vaccine (Nobivac), obviously increases the vaccine frequency and amount given to each rabbit. This is not perfect, but the alternative is missing out one of these vaccines, and the risk of “over-vaccination” is considered lower than the risk of insufficient protection. Filavac is an inactivated, adjuvanted vaccine, and so cannot lead to clinical RVHD in the animal. Concerns are often raised about vaccine ingredients (adjuvants and excipients) such as aluminium hydroxide and sodium metabisulphite. This is too large a topic to discuss here, but, without dismissing these concerns out of hand, and after weighing the risks against the benefits, vaccination has a strongly net positive benefit against the diseases discussed here. There are known vaccine side effects discussed in the data sheets for these vaccines. They are usually limited to small local transient skin reactions, and transient mild lethargy. Oil based vaccines such as Cunipravac RHD2 Variant carry a known risk of significant skin and subcutaneous tissue damage, and great care must be taken to ensure no vaccine enters the intradermal route, to minimise this risk. The frequency of vaccination, and a risk:benefit analysis for each individual, should be discussed between client and veterinary surgeon before deciding on an appropriate regime and vaccination plan. There is a risk to any animal (or person) to having any vaccination, which is why animals (or people) should only be vaccinated if they are healthy. For further general details on companion animals, the BSAVA and WSAVA vaccine guidelines should be consulted. Note that under their definitions, in the UK and mainland Europe, RHD2 would be considered a “core” vaccination. https://www.bsava.com/Resources/Positionstatements/Vaccination.aspx http://www.wsava.org/guidelines/vaccination-guidelines Titre testing against this strain is not commercially available, at least at present in the UK. It’s also worth being aware that other countries are slightly ahead of us in arranging vaccine importation and use for domestic rabbits. In Holland, vaccination has been underway with Filavac for several months before its use in the UK, and they also use the Nobivac Myxo-RHD vaccine.
Posted by Rabbit Rwaf at 05:49