Friday, 30 December 2011

Photo competition

Would you like your bunnies to be famous? Would you be happy if people throughout the country, and perhaps beyond, were saying how lovely they are when they open cards, when they look at a calendar? Well, now is your chance.The RWAF intends to have its own Chistmas cards and calendar for sale in our shop next winter and we would love to feature the bunnies belonging to our members and supporters, rather than use professional stock photos. How unique that would be, and what a great tribute to our much loved buns.Photos need to be top quality, of course, not blurred in any way, and with a resolution of 300dpi or higher, at least post card size and saved as Jpegs. (Jpeg file size of entries need to be above 700kb).Because we want to produce a calendar, we need photos that will reflect the different seasons of the year. Christmas cards need to be seasonal, so get the camera out now before you put the decorations away!It’s free to enter and you can send your photos either as prints or on DVD or stick to our postal address:
Rabbit Welfare Association and FundPO Box 603HorshamWest SussexRH13 5WLor electronically to The closing date for entries is 1st August, 2012, so that we have time to judge and to have the cards/calendars made. Winners will be announced on our Blog and the merchandise will be available in our shop in good time for next Christmas. We'd also like your permission to use any of the photos you enter for Rabbiting On, for posters, in leaflets, on our website, or for anything else they might be appropriate for - always with credit to you, of course. So please give us your written permission to use your photos in any of these when you enter. If you change your mind and want to withdraw your permission, you can do so at any time by sending an email to or by writing to us.Get snapping!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

New Year Resolutions - how you can help improve rabbit welfare.

Well, that's Christmas over for another year, and thoughts are now turning to New Year. If everyone here could spare some time over the holiday to help us improve rabbit welfare and take a pledge to undertake at least one of the following, it could make a change for the better:

1) Have a look on-line, if you see any rabbit hutches for sale that you think are too small, then contact the retailer and tell them what you think and why. Remember that anything smaller than around 4ft x 1.5ft is smaller than a lab rabbit cage, so ask retailers if they think they should sell items smaller than this for pet rabbits. Remind them that exercise runs are just as essential as hutches, and they should make their customers aware of this.

2) Join the RWA! It costs less than £20 to join for 12 months, you will get 4 issues of Rabbiting On magazine, and you will be joining the largest organisation in the UK for rabbit welfare, and giving us a bigger voice. Together we can make a difference. If you want to know more about the work the RWAF has undertaken recently, read our campaign updates: . You can join on-line here:

3) Adopt a rescue rabbit! If you have a single bunny please think about getting him or her a friend. Remember that both rabbits will need to be neutered and you will need to have suitable accomodation for 2, and be able to afford to care for 2.

4) Print off a poster and put it in your car, your window, your work place, your vet practice or local pet shop. There are several on the website, so there is sure to be one you like:

5) If you are really short of time, but want to make a difference then you can help us to help rabbits by making a donation to us via just giving or even quicker, by text. You can text donations to us, quickly and easily by using this number 70070 Your text message will change depending on how much you want to donate, so
If you want to donate £1 you should text RWAF11£1
If you want to donate £2 you should text RWAF11£2
If you want to donate £3 you should text RWAF11£3
If you want to donate £4 you should text RWAF11£4
If you want to donate £5 you should text RWAF11£5
If you want to donate £10 you should text RWAF11£10

6) If you see a rabbit belonging to a friend or neighbour that you know is not being looked after properly, then please print off one of our 'Dear Rabbit owner' letters and put it through their letterbox. The letters can be found on our home page:

7) Share our 'A Hutch is Not Enough' video, post it on your Facebook wall, tweet a link to it, add it to your Google+, send an e-mail, and why not add a link to it on your e-mail signatures?

8) If you help at a rescue centre, please make sure they have submitted their rehoming figures in to our survey - we are updating the very out of date figure of 35,000 rabbits through rescue each year, but we need rescues to take part. To submit your figures please e-mail

9) Join the weather lottery and not only will you be raising funds for the RWF, you will have the chance to win £25,000!

10) Join the First Alert mailing list - it's free, and you can help us to spread the word by forwarding on the messages to other rabbit owning friends. Please e-mail to join. If you are able to spare the time to do any of the above, please let us know what you do, it would be great to know what works so that others can do the same!
From the RWAF team, Alan, Anne, Lizzie, Rae and Ros.

A hutch is not enough
Reg Charity 1085689

Friday, 23 December 2011

The nightmare before Christmas

This video is distressing, but it proves why the 'a hutch is not enough; campaign is so essential. Rabbits live in conditions like this all over the UK and we want it to stop - NOW. The owner of these rabbits keeps some of them in 2ftx2ft or 3ft x 2ft hutches and says that it is not cruel, and that 2 in a 3ft hutch is not over crowded - we disagree, how a...bout you? She then says ' if they were too small, they wouldnt sell them in the shops would they?' - well sadly, yes they would, and do, and that is why we are working with retailers to stop selling anything smaller than 4ft and to include 5 and 6 ft hutches in their ranges. The owner thinks her rabbits are 'happy and up to weight' but we don't think they look happy at all - they can take one hop at best in those hutches. A hutch is not enough. All pet rabbits should be kept with the companionship of another (neutered) rabbit and live in an environment tha allows them to display all of their natural behaviours, such as running, jumping, digging and foraging - and never simply locked in a hutch.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Toys R'nt us

Remember not to give pets as gifts at Christmas, or any other time. Adults should always be responsible for the family pets and should be able to commit to them for their lifetime, which could be long after the children have left home. Additionally, rabbits can be more expensive to care for properly than you would think, estimates are between £9,000 - £11,000 for their lifetime - and that is without unexpected vet bills!

Vet costs can mount up, Claire King told us, "Saxon's bill came to around £10,000, and consisted of 2 ureteral calculi (one each side) , bilateral lateral ear resections, inc 2 CT scans, 2 referral practices, liver cysts with 6-8 weekly ultrasound scans for 3 years, bucal salivary gland infection and removal and in the end an exlap when he was diagnosed with liver tumours which proved inoperable."

Not a cheap childrens' pet at all!

Toys R'nt Us

The RWAF's friend Phyllis O'Beollain in Ohio has written about exactly the same thing here

Friday, 16 December 2011


Hurry - last chance to order on-line for guaranteed Christmas delivery is Sunday 17th - if you are ordering on-line, then please spare a moment to sign up to The Giving Machine, or Easy Fundraising, and raise funds for the RWAF without it costing you an extra penny. Find the websites here

Please remember too Charity Flowers.'re great quality and if you select Rabbit Welfare Fund when you get to the checkout,15% of the cost will come to the charity to help support our work for rabbits, And what about giving an unusual gift? Buying a membership, or renewing for a friend would be a lovely gift. The more current members we have, the more power we have to bring about change. Memberships are here or here's our Join Us page

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A Christmas Wish Please look at our Christmas press release and share - to help us spread the word.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Campaign Update - Winter 2011

Here is the latest campaign update from Rabbiting On, thank you to everyone that has supported our work and is helping us to help rabbits, together we can make a difference.

If you don't want to miss a copy of Rabbiting On, and you believe that ' A hutch is not enough', then join the club!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Binky Day!

It's Binky Day! Please share your photos of Binkies, and let everyone know what a Binky is! Please try to use the word Binky today, and when someone asks you what it means, tell them how much rabbits love to run and jump, because a hutch is not enough.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Has your rabbit got the Xtra Large factor?

We have added an artcile from Rabbiting On to the website, so that anyone who thinks their rabbits may be over weight can check, and dont forget we posted some information last week that it worth checking out too. Scroll down the home page to find the body condition score article.

If you don't want to miss a copy of Rabbiting On, and you believe that ' A hutch is not enough', then join the club!

PDSA Fit Club

Hurry - closing date Friday 25th November
According to veterinary charity PDSA, pet obesity levels vary depending on where pets live. Pets in Wales and the North West fare the worst, with 67% being fed unsuitable foods. In contrast, pets in London have the least fatty treats (53%). Are there lots of podgy pets in your area? The charity is running a pet slimming competition to help overweight pets lose weight through a diet and exercise programme that will help pets get back to a healthy and happy state. Visit for more details

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

RWAF launches a rescue fund.

The RWAF has long supported the work of rescue centres and by the start of 2011 we had already raised over £12,000 which has been donated to UKrescues. We also support rescues by providing our educational leaflets free of charge and maintain a list of rescue centres. We are also currently undertaking a rescue survey where we hope to update the well known figure of 35,000 rabbits through rescue each year, which we think is very out of date now.

We are now pleased to announce the launch of the RWAF Rescue Fund, where we hope to make a difference to both rescue centres and rabbit owners, and of course most importantly, our favourite animals, rabbits themselves. For details of how we can help and to find out whether you or your rescue are eligable for help, please look at our website

We plan to highlight some of the rabbits that we have helped and may be looking for homes, so please do keep rescue centres in mind if you are thinking of getting a friend for your rabbit or adding rabbits to your family for the first time.

If you believe that a hutch is not enough then join the club!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Bunny Buddies leaflet

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Can you help us to help rabbits?

We've recently updated our 'Get Involved' page which you can find here. It lists many ways you can show us your support. Perhaps the best of all, if you haven't done it already, is to join us. Here's where you can do that. With your support we become stronger and our message bears more weight. You'll get four copies of Rabbiting On per year, packed with top quality articles and advice about the best quality rabbit care, and you'll be swelling the Association's numbers. Together we can shout with a far louder voice that A Hutch Is Not Enough and that Rabbits Deserve Better.

Is your rabbit over weight?

It is easy for any animal to slowly gain weight over time, without it being easily noticed, and so any help in assessing your pets body condition is helpful. Rabbits are particularly difficult as they have large abdomens naturally, they sit snuggled up, and they often have thick fur. The differences in size and breeds make it difficult to state a correct weight for each rabbit unless they are purebreeds. Regular weighing, on bathroom or kitchen scales,once they have stopped growing, helps to alert the owner to weight gain or loss, and can provide a useful target weight guide. Assessing body condition is more useful: feel your rabbit over hips, ribs and spine, to detect a reasonable but not excessive amount of fat under the skin. Many older feamle rabbits will naturally have a dewlap under the chin, but if this is too large, or present to more than a small degree, in males, it is due to excessive fat being laid down.

Overweight rabbits may suffer a range of problems. They will neither want to eat, not be able to reach, their caecotrophs, and may become dirty around the tail. This can cause skin soreness, and ultimately end in flystrike and death in many cases. The increased weight can lead to sore feet, which may bleed and become infected. Their joints are under more strain, predisposing to pain from arthritis, and their hearts and blood vessels are worked harder, increasing the risks of heart attacks. They are high risks for anaesthesia, and may not survive surgery that a slimmer rabbit would be fine with. If they stop eating, for any reason, fat rabbits deteriorate faster than slim healthy ones.

Prevention is better than cure. It is easier to keep weight off than to lose weight. The key to maintaining a normal weight is a healthy diet and exercise. Diet is probably the most important, and rabbits are adapted to a low calorie, high fibre diet such as grass. Providing fresh, tasty grass and hay provides all the nutrients a healthy rabbit requires. Providing more than a minimal amount of relatively high calorie pelleted food is the equivalent of that extra chocolate biscuit or 2 every day for us. Most rabbits should get no more than an egg cup full of pellet, twice daily. The exception may be older, underweight rabbits, and/or those with dental problems, and so you should check with your vet before changing your rabbits diet. Increasing your rabbits opportunities for exercise is also helpful: giving them ample space to hop and run in all the time, and encouraging play and foraging behaviours by ensuring that they have a companion rabbit and spreading toys and pelleted food around the space available.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

PDSA Pet Fit Club - now open to rabbits.

PDSA's pet fit club is back, and it's even better this year because it is open to rabbits too! If you think your rabbits could be overweight then why not sign up? You can sign up by visiting the website -​lth-advice/pdsa-pet-fit-club

If you are not sure if your rabbits are over weight, or in good condition, then check out this link:​er.html

If you think your rabbits could do with shaping up, then please think about the PDSA pet fit club.

But hurry because the closing date is Friday 25th November

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Welfare Wednesday - Winter draws on!

RWAF Hot tips for keeping outdoor buns warm this winter

Amongst our members and supporters there is a huge wealth of knowledge, so we asked everyone to share their top tips. Some are well tried and tested, and still working well, but others are ingenious and we wonder how we hadn’t thought of them already.

Keeping rabbits warm is important, because in the wild they would live in underground burrows and the temperature changes very slightly between summer and winter. By keeping them above ground we are subjecting them to extremes of temperature changes and we need to help them stay warm and dry. Damp and draughts can be deadly to bunnies at this time of year.

We always recommend rabbits are kept in pairs, and there is no nicer way of keeping warm than by snuggling up to your friend.

Companionship is often overlooked, and can be even more important over the winter months. Naturally, because of the dark nights and poor weather we are less inclined to spend time in the garden, so we see less of our rabbits who are kept outdoors. You must make sure you check them regularly (at least three times a day, but more is always better), and check that the hutch / shed is not leaking, that their bed is dry and that they always have hay and water.

Remember that even in bad weather rabbits will need to exercise every day; it is not acceptable to keep them locked in a hutch because you are not able to provide a protected exercise area for them, so some forward planning now may be needed. A hutch attached to a safe exercise run means the rabbits can shelter in the hutch or exercise in the run when they please. At the very least, add a tarpaulin cover to both to protect them from rain and snow, and a hiding place (one per bunny).

Garden sheds offer a great alternative to a traditional rabbit hutch because they can be well insulated and the rabbits are nice and dry inside and they have more room to move around. It is also easier for the owners to feed and clean out inside a garden shed in wet weather. Exercise runs can still be attached to a shed, and can still be covered by a tarpaulin.

The easiest thing would be to bring the hutch and run into an unused shed, garage (as long as it has a window and you aren’t using it for a car…those exhaust fumes are very dangerous) or a conservatory. Lots of owners bring their rabbits in and keep them as house rabbits over the winter months. It’s fine to have winter house rabbits and summer garden rabbits, as long as you do not embark on this and then abandon it mid way; if you decide to do it, you will have to stick to it because it would be cruel to bring them in and let them moult their winter coat, only to put them outdoors again before spring. If you are going to do this, then first of all bring them into a room with no heating and acclimatise them gradually. Remember that they may find household noises like the TV and washing machine scary so take your time. They will not be used to our artificial lights either, so make sure they have somewhere to hide out of the lights while they adjust.

Top Tip – if bringing rabbits in doors do it gradually – bring them into a cold quiet room, and give them plenty of places to hide. Use their own litter tray and toys so that they have a familiar smell.

By cold – we mean if the temperature falls below zero; that is when insulating sheds and hutches and items such as Snugglesafe can be used to best effect – but of course lots of the tips relate to weatherproofing and they can be used in wet and windy weather regardless of the temperature. You will need to use your own common sense.

However, most rabbits live out doors all year round, so if this applies to you then read on!

To stop water bottles or bowls freezing:

Cable tie a plant pot to the inside of the hutch and put the water bottle in there. Once the hutch is insulated (see below) it reduces the risk of the bottle freezing. (Total genius, well done to the person that thought of this!)

Don’t forget to check that water bottles are working properly, and keep 2 so that if one freezes it can be swapped for another.

If you use water bowls, lift them off the floor of the shed or hutch, and keep them out of a draught.

Wrap water bottles with bubble wrap, a thermal sock or glove.

Use a Snuggle Safe under a water bowl to stop it freezing.

For keeping hutches and runs warm

Use a tarpaulin with eyelets so it can be secured in place.

Put old blankets or duvets over the hutch and run, but under the tarp for extra insulation. (Make sure bunnies can not nibble the blankets or tarp)

Buy a Snugglesafe heat pad to use overnight.

Make sure bedding is kept warm and dry. Straw is warmer than hay so makes a better winter bedding, but nothing is warm if it is wet. Your cleaning schedule needs to be scrupulous in the winter and don’t be stingy - make sure you provide a deep bed of something like shavings or Megazorb and plenty of straw.

Use silver backed beach mats to insulate the hutch and run

Put wind breaks up around the hutch and run

Line sheds to create a double wall, and an extra layer of insulation.

Add Perspex sheets to the front of hutches and runs to keep them weather proof, but allow rabbits to see out and get daylight. If you do this make sure there is still good ventilation, perhaps leave a small gap along the top.

Add a cardboard box with a small hole to the bedroom area and fill it with dry straw.

Add a low wattage heater to a shed – make sure that the bunnies cannot chew the cable!

Insulate the shed or hutch, and also the hutch or nest box inside.

One final note, this advice is really for rabbits in good body condition, those who are old, or thin may need even more care, and we advise the owners of such bunnies to bring them in for the winter.

This advice is now on our website at

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Weather is a lottery - literally!

The RWAF is delighted to announce that the charity arm of the organisation, the Rabbit Welfare Fund, has joined the Sunshine Lottery scheme.

You could win £25,000 and help rabbits at the same time!

This is how it works​yonline.php?scheme=RABWF

and this is where you go to play​egories/players/join-sunshine.​php?code=RABWF

Our A Hutch is Not Enough campaing is becomming very well known and respected, and making good progress, but we still have lots of work to do; we wont stop until we see the end to rabbits living alone and in cramped accomodation; lonely and unable to even move around freely.

We thought the Sunshine Lottery was a fun way for people to support our work and hopefully get lucky in the process!

To play, click the link above (or paste it into your browser) and register your details.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Welfare Wednesday - rabbits and fireworks

Welfare Wednesday: Love them or hate them, it's going to be hard to avoid them - we're talking about fireworks of course. Many animals find this a stressful time and we need to do what we can to minimise their distress.

If you have garden bunnies, and you have somewhere you can put them while the bangs and flashes are going off then it may be a good idea. Somewhere like an unused garage or co...nservatory would be good. Make sure that give you them somewhere to hide, and plenty of toys and forage to distract them. You should not bring outdoor bunnies into a warm house and then put them back out in the cold again as that could be harmful to them, and also bear in mind that if they are not used to the TV and family dog, this may be as stressful as the fireworks, so keep them somewhere quiet and cool.

If they are going to be staying outdoors then you can offer them some protection by putting a thick blanket or duvet over their hutch and run, or turn them to face a wall so that they can not see the flashes, and make sure they have somewhere they can hide and feel safe. Again toys and favourite foods can be a distraction.

Happy Hoppers covered this in their recent issue, you can check it out here:

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

'How to - Pets for Life'

The RWAF vet advisor Richard Saunders BSc (Hons) BVSc MSB CBiol DZooMed (Mammalian) MRCVS Referral Vet, Zoo and Exotic Species, recently filmed an interview for the 'How to - Pets for Life series' and it was aired last night. Did anyone see it? If not, you have the chance to watch it again on Sunday 30th October at 6pm on Sky 201 or Freesat 403.

Welfare Wednesday - The trick is to vaccinate

It's Welfare Wednesday again - this week we are reminding everyone to vaccinate their rabbits against both myxi and VHD, because this is the best protection we can give them,and both diseases are deadly.
RWA members will receive the attached poster in the next issue of Rabbiting On - but it is also available on our website - please share and help us spread the word - "magic won't protect our, the trick is to vaccinate"

See more

Monday, 24 October 2011

Adverse reactions to drugs

On occasions, some animals can respond badly to a medication. This may be a one off in that individual, or due to a unique or rare combination of circumstances, but it may be something that, whilst uncommon, happens in enough animals to suggest modifying the drug, the dose, or the use of the drug in certain circumstances, or in extreme cases, advice not to use a product at all, or even withdraw it. Note that a vaccine failing to protect an animal from that disease counts as an "adverse reaction". The only way the licensing authorities and drug companies can make such a judgement is with sufficient information from those vets and owners encountering problems. This is always best done through your vet, as they will have all the information the company needs, and will be able to ensure that any relevant data is made available. If for some reason this is not possible, it is possible for owners to submit the adverse reactions form. A compromise might be for owners to download the form and request that their vet complete the technical sections. The suspected adverse reactions form can be found on the Veterinary Medicines Directorate website at:

Sunday, 23 October 2011

RWAF survey

You could win £100 by taking part in the RWAF survey

Friday, 21 October 2011

Fundraising Friday

Fundraising Friday

Are you a runner or a walker? Is it your way of keeping fit and seeing the great outdoors? You could kill another bird (so to speak) with that same stone, if you entered an organised run or walk and raised sponsorship for the RWF while doing it.

Entries are being taken at present for the London Marathon, the Edinburgh Marathon and many more. There's a list here of the many, many runs that take place up and down the UK, so there's bound to be one near you.

Will you help us to help rabbits? Not quite 'Run, Rabbit, Run', more 'Help!'

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Vitamin c and oxolates in rabbits

Studies on vitamin c excess being converted to oxolates, which may start kidney stones are largely based on humans, who, like guinea pigs, DO need vitamin c from their diet as they can not produce their own, so do absorb it into their bodies. Rabbits DO NOT need vitamin C in this way as they produce it themselves, and there is no evidence that they even abso...rb it from their food, so this subject is not clear cut and therefore controversial. Some studies have shown in rabbits that a high intake of vit c did not contribute to the formation of stones, and some argue that what they are fed is of little significance because they produce so much themselves. Our advice, is that healthy rabbits should not be fed a Vit C supplement, and for this reason guinea pig food should be avoided.

Gearing up for winter

It's welfare wednesday - and this week we want your input please. Snow is forecast this month, so we hope everyone with outdoor bunnies is thinking about keeping them warm and dry, and still allowing them to exercise. Bedding areas should be kept clean and dry, and filled with straw (because it is warmer than hay). Dont forget to add a tarpaulin to your exercise run to offer shelter from the rain and snow, and this will allow the rabbits to have their regular exercise. Snuggle safe pads are great for keeping rabbits warm over night, and dont forget to keep a spare water bottle so that if one freezes you can replace it with another. Hutches can be brought into empty garden sheds, and the rabbits can have the run of the shed too. Ofcourse, the best way of keeping rabbits warm over the winter is to keep them in pairs so that they can snuggle together. Have you got any tips you would like to share? We will pick the best ones and add them to the website.

Friday, 14 October 2011

RWAF Fundraising Friday

We'd like to print 3000 more posters to distribute to vets' surgeries, petshops, schools, in fact anywhere that they'd reach people who might already own a rabbit, or be thinking of getting one. That will cost us £300.

Please help us raise that money by buying merchandise from the RWAF shop, by making donations at the shop, by text (RWAF11£1 - up to £10 to 70070) or at, or by starting a fundraiser of your own for the Rabbit Welfare Fund.

Anything you can do will help us get a little bit nearer our goal to help as many rabbits as possible have a happy, secure life

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Welfare Wednesday

It's Welfare Wednesday again, so please help us raise awareness by sharing this poster. Because A hutch is not enough.

Show your support for our ' A hutch is not enough' campaign

Show your support for our ‘A hutch is not enough’ campaign with our new range of merchandise – Tee’s, sweatshirts and hoodies available. All funds go straight towards our campaign.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Is beetroot safe for rabbits?

There has been some discussion about beetroot - it's the leaves that are the concern, due to high oxalate content. In most plants, this content increases with the age of the plant, so a small amount of fresh leaves should be OK, but the more aged leaves should be avoided, as oxalate can lead to kidney damage.

The beetroot itself should be ok, in small quantities, but is quite starchy and probably isnt a good thing to feed them in general. And be aware it can cause dramatic urine colour change!

Fundraising Friday

Christmas is looming and love it or hate it, so is Christmas shopping.

The stores will be packed, parking will be difficult and pretty soon you're going to feel exhausted.

So why not make it easier on yourself and help out the RWAF with our work into the bargain by doing your Christmas shopping online through Give As You Live?

Register with Give As You Live as a supporter of the British Houserabbit Association Rabbit Welfare Fund and off you go. You'll be delighted at the stores who will sell to you at their normal rate and donate some of their profit to us. You'll also be notified of discounts for Give As You Live customers.

Register today and get your Christmas shopping underway in the comfort of your own home.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Fundraising Friday!

It's Fundraising Friday and we'd like you to help our A Hutch is Not Enough campaign to move forward. Please help us with our phone bill this week. We use it to contact retailers, manufacturers, and petting farms to ask them to improve their standards. You can help us pay it by texting
RWAF11 £1
RWAF11 £2
RWAF11 £3
RWAF11 £4
... RWAF11 £5
RWAF11 £10
to 70070

Thank you to everyone that has donated so far

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Welfare Wednesday

It's Welfare Wednesday - most of us will know someone who has a rabbit, so please share our blog, twitter or facebook page and help us reach as many rabbit owners as possible. We are still collecting data to update the rescue statistics for the UK, so if you volunteer or work for a rescue in the UK that has rehomed rabbits in the last 3 years please get in touch with us at We want to update the statistics to get an idea of how things have changed since they were first quoted as 35,000 around 10 years ago

Friday, 23 September 2011

Is your vet coming to the RWAF vet conference?

Is *your* vet coming to our annual vet conference this year? There are still some places left but they will need to book soon. If you are going to your vets this weekend please take a copy of this leaflet with you and encourage them to book a place:

Fundraising Friday

It's Fundraising Friday! Can you spare £1 to help us help rabbits? Now you can donate by text by texting RWAF11£1 to 70070, or you can chose to donate £2, £3 £5 or £10 if you prefer by texting RWAF11£2 to 70070 and so on. Funds will go towards our campaining and the ' a hutch is not enough' project.
You can also help us, and treat yourself by joining and signing up for Rabbiting On magazine:

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Welfare Wednesday ...

It's welfare Wednesday....We are still working and campaigning hard to improve the lives of pet rabbits. We have just filmed an interview for the 'pets for life' series as well as continuing to push our ' a hutch is not enough' campaign with retailers and owners and we are seeing progress and getting good feedback. If you are new to the RWAF page, then you can read more about us here:

and a bit more about our work here:

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Campaign update

The latest campaign update has been added to the website. This is a regular part of Rabbiting On magazine, you can join on-line and make sure you don't miss your copy.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Community Save

Cute as those meerkats are, you can support RWAF campaigns by comparing the market through Community Save.

This is a price comparison website with a difference. If you change your power supplier via Community Save, and use the RWAF password RABBIT WELFARE while you're doing it, (exactly as it is written here all in capital letters) Community Save will give us some money, that we will put to good use, helping rabbits.

Furthermore, if you know of any other good causes that want to join the scheme, let us know about them. If they register having heard about Community Save from the RWAF, we will get a bonus of 20% of all the funds they raise.

So, we all get cheaper fuel bills, other good causes receive funds from Community Save and most of all, the RWAF receives funding every time somebody uses our RABBIT WELFARE password to change supplier using Community Save, or when one of those other good causes raises funds in the same way.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Pet rabbits being stolen from gardens in Ratcliffe, Bury.

Once again another report of rabbits being stolen from gardens in the Ratcliffe area of Bury, near Manchester.

Please take all precautions to ensure that garden gates are securely bolted, fences are secure, wendy houses and sheds that house your bunnies have adequate locks. Thieves will attempt to remove the hutch if it is an easy option.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Dear rabbit owner

This is the time of year when rabbit sales are at their peak and we get the most complaints from people concerned about their neighbours' rabbit(s), so we have created a pdf for people to print off and give to their neighbour or friend, anonymously if need be, to address their concerns. We've made a summer and a winter version, and they can both be found on our homepage ;

Monday, 15 August 2011

Myxi and VHD cases still being reported

Myxi continues to rear its ugly head around the UK and I doubt it will ever go away. Reports come in daily from members.

VHD is the silent killer, but as our leaflet explains it is “Deadly, But Preventable “

In the last 4 weeks a confirmed report came in of a death from VHD in Burgess Hill West Sussex and from Burton On Trent and Warwick.. There is an unconfirmed report in the Nottingham area.

The virus can survive for up to 105 days in the environment, but this is at low temperatures , with a sliding scale of downward viral survival duration at higher temperatures. So this is the best time to have an outbreak. If your rabbits are not vaccinated, and want your bunnies to live a happy and healthy life, please have them vaccinated

RWA/F member and veterinary nurse Laura Slinger who works for the practice that admitted the VHD case told us . The VHD case was a 6 year old english butterfly, never vaccinated, found her Saturday morning collapsed and twitching - rushed in, bleeding from eyes, vulva and anus, abdomen full of blood - it really has hit home how many people continue to say 'ah vaccination its not necessary anymore' - it is the first VHD and I think the 4th domestic myxi case in my 12 year career so far, just terrible, really affected me! I'm not as tough as everyone says

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Wetnose awards

The wetnose awards are coming soon! Nominate your favourite rescue today!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Fly strike - don't get caught out.

New article about flystrike on the website, keep an eye on the home page as we add things regularly.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

VHD Outbreak

It is not often that we receive reports of VHD outbreaks.

VN Laura Slinger who is a veterinary nurse in Burton On Trent, has seen a case of VHD at her practice. Also a case of myxi. Reports in the last few days have come in of deaths from myxi in Leybourne Kent and sightings of wild rabbits in East Yorkshire, West Sussex, Gloucestershire and South Wales.

Monday, 1 August 2011

A hutch is not enough

This is the time of year when rabbit sales peak, and people need to be reminded about how to properly care for pet rabbits so please keep sharing our 'A hutch is not enough' video.

RSPCA Tweetathon

The RWAF is dedicated to improving the lives of pet rabbits and ishappy to support the RSPCA's tweetathon to help highlight the issues that these popular, but often neglected pets face every day. Many people take on rabbits without realising their complex care needs, and our A Hutch is Not Enough camapign seeks to properly educate owners and retailers about these needs. Sadly, many thousands of rabbits end up in rescue every year and rescues, as well as organisations like the RSPCA are left to pick up the pieces.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cool Dudes, or hot cross bunnies?

We've uploaded some tips on keeping bunnies cool this summer.

Monday, 25 July 2011


Supreme is once again hosting webinars on rabbit health matters. The vet leading both webinars is Molly Varga.

The first, to be aired on Thursday, 28th July (1 - 2pm) is on the subject of Rabbit Anaesthesia and Post-Op Care.

The second, to be aired on Thursday, 15th September (1 - 2pm) will be on the subject of Critical Care in Rabbits.

This page gives instructions on registration, which is free, using the code given

Thursday, 30 June 2011


It has been brought to our attention recently that people are finding it difficult to obtain Cisapride? This statement from RWAF vet Richard Saunders should make the present situation clear

"Your vet can obtain cisapride from abroad, but this requires a certain amount of paperwork and delay, and is done on a "named patient basis" ie only for a specific rabbit, which means that it is difficult to hold it in stock, to start treatment immediately. There is now a UK source, which allows for more rapid ordering and less delay in getting the drug in, and allows vets to stock it for urgent situations. At present this is only available in tablet form, but it can be converted into liquid form by another company. This can be done as required, or vets can hold the liquid in stock for emergencies. Bear in mind that vets are often reluctant to do so as such medications may, if not used frequently, go out of date, and so tablets, which can be given directly to rabbits, or crushed and administered mixed with food or other carrier substances, are often more practical. The suspension may be a good option in chronic cases where rabbits need the drug on a less urgent, longer term basis, and owners are finding it more difficult to give medication in tablet form"

Monday, 27 June 2011

RWAF members Yahoo group

RWAF discussion is open to all on our Facebook page, and we send out information too on our Blog, in First Alerts and via Twitter. However, we know this doesn't cover everybody and isn't exclusively for RWAF members.

If you want to belong to a discussion group that is members only, we now have a Yahoo group where members can chat, discuss, ask questions, support, share their photos and generally get together. Apply to join here

Friday, 17 June 2011

Calcium content and diets

In response to a comment on the RWAF facebook page, Richard Saunders BSc(hons) BVSc CertZooMed CBiol MiBiol MRCVS (for those who don't already know, the RWAF vet expert advisor) has written the following, which you may find interesting. He intends to write a complete article on this subject which will appear soon in Rabbiting On, the quarterly journal of the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund which is free to members.

Calcium content and diet.

It is widely accepted and well known that rabbits require a diet high in fibrous forage. This is best supplied as grass, hay or dried grass products, although some rabbits with dental disease will struggle to eat any or enough of these items, and other fibrous plants such as dandelions and greens may be helpful. It is vitally important to realise that what we think of as "grass" is not a single entity, neither is the hay that is made from it. In the same way that it used to be suggested that the Inuit had 200 words for snow, a rabbit is able to differentiate between a myriad varieties of "grass". Different species of grasses, at different points in their growth, and of different qualities depending on storage, have significantly different qualities and compositions. Ryegrasses are the most commonly used in the UK, with timothy and fescue also popular. Multiple cuts of grass are taken, and the timing of cut, and the storage after cutting affect composition greatly, with every years' growth being subject to smaller variations due to weather conditions. Rabbits certainly appreciate variety in their diet, achieved by giving them different grass species. And sourcing a variety helps them to select preferred types, and reducing the chance of them fixating on particular varieties which may have seasonal availability. However, palatability is important, and rabbits with mouth pain or other factors which prevent them eating some foods may need an option which is easier or more tasty to eat. As it is almost impossible to know the exact composition of a particular batch of hay, and because it is also possible that rabbits "know" what they need from their food, and may select accordingly, providing a variety is helpful to iron out any deficiencies or excesses in any one type, where possible. Timothy is generally thought to have the best Calcium:Phosphorus ratio, and is should probably form the majority of their diet. Meadow fescue and ryegrass is the most common, and therefore widely available. Various less common species are available from specialist haymakers, and are worth investigating to provide choice, variety and to tempt the "difficult" rabbit. Soft straws are often eaten by rabbits. Dried grasses are convenient, good quality and palatable, and have a protein and calcium level towards the upper end of the range required by adult rabbits. They are great for rabbits who are growing, lactating, pregnant, underweight, and can be safely eaten by most other rabbits, but should not be given as a sole forage source to overweight rabbits, those not eating all their caecotrophs, or with a tendency towards "sludgy" urine, but given in equal proportions with hay or fresh grasses. Alfalfa is high in protein and calcium, and should be given only sparingly to rabbits, although it can be useful in greater quantities for those who are pregnant or lactating. Fresh grass is preferred to hay or dried grass in rabbits with urinary tract problems, to increase water intake and dilute the urine. Offering a variety allows some self selection and fine tuning of the rabbits nutrition, but offering ad lib good quality palatable forage is the most important factor for a healthy rabbit diet, and the precise type is less important.
Pellets are generally moderately high in Calcium, and, if fed in high proportions of the total diet, can lead to an overall high Calcium level which may predispose the rabbit to sludgy urine. On the other hand, selectively feeding from a "muesli" mix type concentrate can lead to a significantly low Calcium level if fed in excess. These diets should be fed as a small amount of the total diet (eg 5% of the total diet by weight, usually amounting to no more than an egg cup full for a 2.5kg rabbit), and rabbits should not be fed enough of the mixes to allow selection of tastier components, but should have to clear their bowls. (Or ideally feed a pellet/nugget)


For those of you who missed the Webinar on disorders of the Urinary Tract in rabbits, there is now a link to the recording on our homepage, why not listen to it this weekend?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Hoppy Father's Day

Father's Day

How can you make a difference to rabbit welfare by buying something for your Dad this Father's Day? Buy it through Easyfundraising or The Giving Machine, having already named RWAF as your chosen good cause, that's how.

If you aren't already registered, then it can be done here or here Nominate RWAF and then buy from the websites of a huge variety of companies, including highstreet stores. They make a donation to RWAF and it doesn't cost you a penny extra.

Father's Day is Sunday, 19th, so don't delay, register today.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Hopping mad e-zine

Check out the new issue of Hopping Mad E-zine by Happy Hoppers.

Friday, 10 June 2011

2011 Conference - book today!

Rabbit health information is constantly evolving and the RWAF strive to keep the vet profession and keen rabbit owners at the forefront. Don't miss your place at this years conference, on 29th October, Solihull. Places are limited and there is a discount for RWA members so dont delay, book up today!

Please look at the link on our homepage for more details:

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A hutch is not enough video

Thank you to everyone that has shared this video and helped us to tell people what is really involved in keeping rabbits outdoors properly. We have had some fantastic feedback, even from as far as the USA! Please keep sharing, and why not e-mail the link too? Lets try to get 5000 views by the end of this week.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

2 new articles added to RWAF website

2 new articles from the new issue of Rabbiting On have been added to the website. Why not get a cuppa and have a break?

To make sure you don't miss your copy of Rabbiting On please join the RWAF, treat yourself, and help us to help bunnies too.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A hutch is not enough' video

Here at last is our ' a hutch is not enough' video, please share this and help us educate people how to properly care for their rabbits.

Huge thanks to the wonderful Maria Daines who wrote and recorded the song for us, you can check out the lyrics on her website:

Rabbit Awareness Week

RAW 2011 has kicked off to a great start, with coverage in national and regional press, newsround, and this morning on bbc breakfast. Dont forget, RAW is open to anyone at all with a rabbit, to book your free health check, log on to the website and see who is taking part near you.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

24 hour hutch sit in

Lin is going to find out what it’s like to live in a hutch. She told RWAF,
“I am going in the hutch at 3pm on Saturday 21st May. It is situated in the rabbit area at Animals In Distress,’Biltor’, Edgelands Lane , Ipplepen , TQ12 5UG .

The hutch is big enough for me to lie down and sit up in, but I will not be able to stand or walk around. Unlike thousands of rabbits around the country I will be able to ‘escape’ when nature calls and I won't be spending the rest of my life locked in.

Any money raised will go towards the new rabbit area that is soon to be built at Animals In Distress, but the most important thing is to raise as much awareness as possible to the conditions that an awful lot of rabbits are kept in.”

If you live in that part of Devon, or are visiting the area on 21st May, why not come along and support Lin? Why not bring some carrots, as Lin will only be eating vegetables for her lock-in stay. Whilst she will not be able to eat all of the veg donated, Animals in Distress will benefit from anything you care to donate for their bunnies. Perhaps your local newspaper might pick up on the story?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Many pet rabbits are worse off than battery farm rabbits

Helpful info from ciwf - re rabbit battery farms

Compassion is against the following plans submitted by T&S Nurseries:
• A purpose built rabbit breeding unit within a barn, with the rabbits kept in cages: the size of the barn and UK welfare codes limit the enterprise to 200-250 does (females), plus additional bucks (males) and their young. Due to the size of the barn proposed by T&S Nurseries, the maximum number of rabbits at any one time in this rabbit farm is likely to be in the region of 900-1100.
• Angora rabbits will be bred for the production of high quality fibre – the rabbits will be groomed regularly and the fibres sent to a mill for conversion in to yarn. Grooming can cause great stress to the rabbits.

There are very serious welfare issues affecting rabbits in intensive farming systems. Currently there is no species-specific legislation protecting the welfare of farmed rabbits in the EU and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 contain only very basic species-specific requirements for rabbits.

Most commercially farmed rabbits are kept in barren wire cages in closed buildings where their natural behaviour is severely restricted. Systems which keep rabbits in cages or hutches without permanent access to additional runs are unacceptable on welfare grounds.

Compassion in World Farming supports systems that give rabbits access to pasture throughout the year, or whenever conditions allow.

The recommended floor space for a cage-housed breeding doe (alone or with a litter up to five weeks of age), as set out in the UK welfare code, is 5600cm2. This is much smaller than the area necessary to allow a rabbit to move around normally by hopping, let alone achieve any meaningful exercise. When the doe has a young litter, at least 800cm2 of this area will be taken up with a nest box, leaving only around 4800cm2 of floor area outside of the nest box, which is insufficient even for the doe to lie in a species-typical resting posture. The lack of opportunity for exercise in caged rabbits can lead to weakened bones.

For the young rabbits who are reared for meat, the recommended floor space per animal in cages, as set out in the UK welfare code, is 700cm2 up to 12 weeks of age and 1800cm2 from 12 weeks of age; this is equivalent to around 14 and six animals per square metre respectively. The total area available to growing rabbits will depend on the group size. Opportunities to express natural behaviour are particularly severely restricted where growing rabbits are housed in small groups. The functional space available to growing rabbits housed in small groups in cages is insufficient to allow many normal activities, such as sequences of hops, running and play behaviour.

The minimum cage height recommended in the UK welfare code is 45cm for all rabbits over 12 weeks of age. This is insufficient to allow rabbits to adopt some normal postures, such as sitting up on the hind legs in a species-typical “lookout” posture, or to make some normal movements, such as jumping.

Whenever housed, rabbits should have access to a rich environment which includes bedding material such as straw, opportunities for burrowing, or pipes they can hide in, and raised platforms. They should have sufficient space to run about and sufficient height to raise themselves to their full height and to jump.

Cages are mainly constructed of wire and sometimes the sides are solid metal sheets. Some farms use floor mats to cover part of the cage floor but usually the floor is made entirely of bare wire. Breeding females and males that are kept for long periods on wire mesh floors commonly develop sores on their footpads and hocks; these sores can cause chronic pain.

The space and environment in which these rabbits are kept can be likened to that experienced by egg-laying hens in barren battery cages – a ban of which is due to come into force across the EU in 2012.

High-fibre forage such as grass or hay should be available at all times. The barren environment and lack of forage feed (e.g. hay) can lead to rabbits developing abnormal stereotypical behaviours such as excessive grooming and repetitive gnawing or nibbling at the cage. In the worst cases, cannibalism may develop, causing terrible injuries.

Like other animals farmed for meat, rabbits have been selectively bred to grow rapidly and produce more meat than their wild counterparts. This can cause health and welfare issues in the rabbits.

Animals are sentient beings, which means they can feel emotions about things that matter to them. There is now evidence that many animals can learn new skills and some appear to show emotions similar to human empathy. They can also be reduced to a state resembling human depression by chronic stress or confinement.

Compassion believes that rabbits farmed for their meat or fur should be kept in humane farming systems that allow them to live a life free from pain and mental distress. It’s time for us to be banning these cruel systems, not to be introducing them. We will be sure to keep our supporters up to date with any action they can take with regards to objecting to this application, so thank you so much for your interest and support.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback please don't hesitate to contact myself, Rosie or Tor in Supporter Services and we will be happy to help in any way we can. You can call us on 01483 521 953 (lines are manned 9am - 5pm Monday - Friday) or email Remember you can keep up to date with our work on our website at

Rabbiting On

New issue of Rabbiting On out soon - dont miss your copy, subscribe now!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Say no to rabbit battery farms

The RWAF is horrified to learn of T&S Nurseries' rabbit battery farm planning applications and urges Nottinghamshire Council to refuse the applications on the following grounds:

- increase of traffic to the area, and environmental impact of this
- concerns about feaces/waste production and disposal
- loss of agricultural land
- concerns about sustainability -
- whether there is a proven demand for rabbit meat, which generally seems an unpopular choice amongst the majority of consumers
- the physcial and mental suffering of the thousands of rabbits that would be kept in the battery cages until ready for slaughter, and we urge the council to encourage better farming and welfare standards, by refusing these applications.

If any rabbit lovers in the Nottinghamshire area feel strongly about these proposals, they can object on-line
(link to planning application comments pages).

Please note that objections to planning applications will only be considered by the local authority if they meet specific criteria - the following quote from gives a good guideline:

To stand a chance of being taken seriously by the Council any objection or support must be rational, impersonal and directed principally to the planning issues raised by the proposal.

For more information on raising a challenge see the following link:

The current legislation in the UK for meat rabbits is a cage with a floor area of only 0.56m2. This is cruel, in our opinion, and denies the rabbits in these cages the chance to be a rabbit - they can't run, dig, jump, forage for food or hide. Most other farm animals, other than the unfortunate battery hen, have the chance to behave naturally until they are slaughtered.

Many rabbit owners however may find it a shock to discover that the rabbit hutch where they keep their own pets is smaller than this, and whilst we urge Nottinghamshire council to refuse planning permission, we also urge rabbit owners across the UK to make sure they look after their own bunnies properly by providing the correct environment for them, which should include a large hutch along with a large secure exercise run. For more information about properly caring for pet rabbits please visit our website.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Easy ways to help us help bunnies

RWAF may now be supported if you shop via The Giving Machine

This works in a similar way to Easyfundraising, and of course that's another way of getting retailers to donate part of the profit from your purchases.

Don't forget too the other simple ways of supporting RWAF - becoming a member if you aren't already, using Everyclick as your search engine, Send flowers via Charity Flowers send used stamps to RWAF (address here ) and our work because rabbits do deserve better.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Message from RWAF Vet Advisor

Summit veterinary pharmaceuticals and Nova laboratories are producing Cisapride again in the UK under the cascade. Currently in tablet form only but hopefully in suspension form as well soon.

Whilst many veterinary surgeons will have noticed this at a recent small animal conference (and I mentioned it in a lecture there on Gastrointestinal Stasis), it does not appear widely reported in the veterinary press so far, although this may occur soon. At the same time, metoclopramide has re-emerged in a palatable form, which, whilst not expressly targeted at rabbits, may now be easier to obtain than it used to be.

It would seem that pharmaceutical options for managing and treating GI stasis in rabbits have recently improved, with this news. It is also important to remember all the other treatments such as good nursing, fluid and feeding support, and pain relief, but this is excellent news for rabbits!

Richard Saunders BSc (Hons) BVSc MSB CBiol DZooMed (Mammalian) MRCVS

Monday, 4 April 2011

A hutch is not enough song

The wonderful Maria Daines, has written and recorded a song for our 'a hutch is not enough' campaign. Please listen, and share. We can not thank Maria and the band enough for helping us to raise awareness of the plight that many thousands of pet rabbits face - casual neglect, or as Maria puts it... as 'garden ghosts'

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Love Rabbits? You'll love the RWAF!

We believe 'A hutch is not enough. Too many rabbits are kept alone in a small hutch forgotten at the end of the garden . Why not join us and support our campaigns to improve rabbit welfare, and at the same time treat yourself to our fantastic quarterly Rabbiting On Magazine.

Anyone that joins between now and Easter can make the most of our special offer - 15 months membership for the price of 12 - which means one free Rabbiting On!

For more info about Rabbiting On look here:

Please use the code RO15 to get this offer when you join, which you can do on-line:

We are a non profit making registered charity (reg no 1085689) dedicated to improving the lives of rabbits kept as pets.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Got any rabbit owning friends?

The university of Bristol are very grateful to all RWAF members who have kindly
filled in their online survey and are delighted that 251 have done so already. For comparison they are very keen to recruit owners who are not such "rabbit enthusiasts". So do you have friends and family who have a rabbit and may be willing to help?
Are you a member of a club or a non-rabbit forum that could help us to reach a wide variety of rabbit owners? Or maybe you could even post the survey link on your facebook page. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
And if they fill in the survey they could even win £100!

Replies are needed by the end of April please.

Monday, 14 March 2011

The RWAF are hoping to make 2011 the year for the rabbit.

One of our key activities is taking part in Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) in May with other major welfare organisations such as RSPCA, PDSA, Blue Cross and the main sponsor Burgess Pet Care. RAW will be in a pet shop or Vet near you very soon, and will be raising the profile of pet rabbits and their welfare needs, with this year’s focus being on behaviour. Rabbits have some fascinating natural behaviours but often are unable to display these as pets due to inadequate accommodation and living alone. Please look at the RAW website for more information.

As well as continuing with our successful 'A Hutch is Not Enough' campaign, we also have a series of press releases and awareness campaigns in the pipeline over the coming months – all aimed at dispelling the myth that rabbits can live happily alone in a hutch. We have started with our Wedding Vows press release to try and ‘bunny-back’ onto the media interest in the forthcoming royal wedding. We will keep you informed of our campaigns and progress via our website, facebook and news blog so please keep an eye out – and if you haven’t joined or registered with our facebook group then please do sign up!!/pages/The-Rabbit-Welfare-Association-and-Fund/191449507147?sk=wall&filter=2

We believe that 'A Hutch is Not Enough' and that every pet rabbit deserves to live in an area that permanently allows them to display their natural behaviours such as running, digging, jumping, foraging, and grooming another rabbit. A hutch is a shelter and should only be used as part of a larger living area. Rabbits should be neutered and vaccinated and have the companionship of another neutered rabbit, and a good quality diet with hay or forage provided for health and emotional enrichment reasons. We will work to improve the lives of rabbits in the UK by spreading the messages above, and aim to raise the status of the pet rabbit to that of the pet cat and dog.

In 2011 the RWAF have set the following core objectives:

- To raise the profile of the pet rabbits and their welfare needs by educating owners and potential owners alike, and by working with the retail industry to improve standards.

- To raise awareness that rabbits are not cheap and easy children’s pets and to discourage people from taking on rabbits if they are unlikely to be responsible owners.

- To continue to campaign, including our 'A Hutch is Not Enough' campaign, which is gaining support and is already making a difference - with retailers withdrawing tiny 3ft hutches from sale and including 6ft and larger hutches in their range - and our 'Toys Aren’t Us' message which reminds potential owners that rabbits, despite their cute and fluffy looks, are not toys that can be discarded after a few months.

- To increase membership of the RWA - because more members means a bigger voice to shout with.

- To support the vital work of rescue shelters wherever we can.

Every activity we undertake this year will be in line with our core objectives.

We will be clear and transparent with our members about our activities.
We will focus on a positive behaviour change for owners and retailers.
We will work with other like minded organisations to further achieve our common goals.
We will be pragmatic – we will work with organisations with whom we may not be like minded, but where there is a necessity for a dialogue in order to impart our values and improve standards to benefit pet rabbits.
We will not compromise our beliefs
We will not accept flimsy excuses from retailers; we will name and shame those who ignore our messages and put profit before welfare.
We accept sponsorship but will never compromise our agenda – to improve the lives of pet rabbits – to appease a sponsor.

Our over arching mission is to improve the lives of rabbits kept as pets in the UK.

So if you love rabbits and want to help us help them - please join.
You will get our fantastic magazine 'Rabbiting On' every quarter, and you will be helping us to continue our work.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Pet Partners for life - a right Royal Vow

Rabbits score lowest in welfare terms in landmark repot

Read the PDSA's Animal Wellbeing (PAW) ereport 2011 - the state of our pets. Rabbits score the lowest, with companionship being the lowest score in the survey over all.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

You could win £100 for taking part in a survey.

Do you own a rabbit? Bristol University want to hear all about your rabbit as part of a research project. The aim is to find out about the different ways that rabbits are cared for in the UK and to discover what is most important to them in order to live healthy and happy lives. Please take part; there is the chance to win £100!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Rabbits stolen from Surrey / Hampshire border

Yet another distressing message from an owner who has had rabbits stolen from the garden. Please ensure that your fencing is safe and garden gates are bolted and where possible are padlocked. Its also an idea to padlock any hutch and run doors too, this is becomming more common.

Emma has contacted the police and has been advised to speak to her local vets, rescue shelters and pet shops in the hope that they have been found and handed in.

We have Emma's contact details if anyone has any information to pass to her.

This is her message below:

I'm not sure if you deal with this sort of thing but i'm emailing anyone i can find in desperation. My two rabbits have been stolen/let out of their hutches while we were at work today and i want to get in touch with as many people as possible in the hope of getting them back.

The smallest one is called Shandy and he is light brown and white, he is very friendly once he feels safe with someone and loves giving kisses and being cuddled, he is a dwarf dutch. The 2nd rabbit is called Dylan he is grey and white, he has a skin allergy resulting in the loss of some of his fur on his sides, he is shyer than Shandy and doesn't like to be cuddled just likes to be stroked when he knows someone, he is a dutch english cross and a lot bigger than Shandy.

Both rabbits mean an awful lot to our family and we are desperate for their return. If you can help in anyway or direct me to someone who can help we would be extremely grateful. The rabbits have gone missing from the Mytchett area near the Quays pub, the police have been informed as the rabbits couldn't have escaped and the doors on their hutches were closed behind them. I have pictures that i can circulate if required.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Year FOR the rabbit.

Well it’s now the Chinese year of the rabbit, so happy new bunny year everyone!

Rather than this being the year of the rabbit, we want to make this a great year for the rabbit.

Your support is crucial so please keep keep on checking the postings on facebook for news on our campaigns, and see how you can help. And look out for our new website that’s coming soon – and if you know anybody who has a rabbit then please point them in our direction.

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

VHD outbreak reported in Scotland

Scotlands wild rabbit population is in danger of being totally wiped out by a deadly disease which is killing them in their thousands.

Colonies from the Borders to Aberdeen are being decimated by an outbreak of Viral Haemorrhagic disease. Experts have warned that the plague which strikes wild and pet rabbits could kill as much as 90% of the Scottish population and are calling for more to be done to monitor its spread. "

Please be aware that VHD is highly contagious and once this virus takes a real hold in the countryside, it will sweep down from Scotland into England and Wales very quickly. How can pet rabbits catch VHD ?

* Hay may have been in contact with infected wild rabbits as grass growing in the field.

* Birds or insects may transport the virus on their feet ( or in their droppings) to your rabbits grazing on the lawn

* The virus may be blown on the wind

* You may bring the virus home on your feet ( or car wheels from rabbit droppings)

Please ensure that your rabbit has been vaccinated for both VHD and Myxomatosis and warn family or friends with a bunny how important it is that they are protected.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Rabbits - not a cheap childrens pet.

Many people are surprised at how much it costs to properly care for two rabbits, so here is some information that everyone who is considering getting a rabbit should read before they take the plunge. Unlike Cats and Dogs which are not usually available from pet shops, rabbits are readily available and can be bought on impulse, without the full facts being known. It is not acceptable to keep a single rabbit confined to a hutch, yet it happens all too often, making rabbits the most neglected pets in the UK. Please don’t make the same mistake and cause unnecessary suffering.

It’s very common that a few months after purchase, the cute fluffy babies are fully grown rabbits and become unwanted, and either end up in rescue, or even worse, neglected at the bottom of the garden. Rabbits should live up to 10 years, but often don’t make it to four because of poor diet and living standards. A hutch simply is not enough – read on to see what rabbits need and how much you should expect to pay.

Initial set up costs
2 rabbits £60 - £100
(Rabbits should never be kept alone, they do get lonely)
Neutering of 2 rabbits - up to £180
(rabbits need to be neutered to live happily together and prevent accidental litters of rabbits)
Hutch / Run / Enclosure - £200 would be the minimum but could be up to £500.
(We recommend a 6ft x 2ft x 2ft hutch as a minimum with an attached 8 ft run, and you will really have to be lucky to get this for less than £400)
Bedding, bowls etc - £30
Toys £10
Hay / food - £20

Total initial set up costs - allow £930

Then monthly costs of
Hay - £15
(if buying pre packed, dust free from pet shops)
Good quality food £10
Bedding - £10
Fresh Vegetables - £20
Insurance - £15
Total Monthly costs - £70.00
Per annum this is £840

Then annual costs of
2 x myxi vaccines per year, per bunny - £100 on average
1 x VHD vaccine per annum per bunny - £50 on average
2 weeks in bunny boarding while you have your annual holiday - £70
Total annual costs in addition to usual monthly costs - £220

Added to usual monthly costs per annum the cost is £1060

Dental disease is very common and is very often due to poor diet, e.g. lack of hay, or lack of exercise, i.e. not letting the rabbits out of their hutch, so please don’t think that you can save money by cutting corners, because this usually ends in an ill rabbit and a huge vet bill. Dental procedures can be around £80 per bunny, and are usually avoidable if the diet and accommodation is right.

Rabbits should live on average for 10 years, so including the set up costs, to keep 2 rabbits properly will cost you on average over £11,550. Are you sure you still want to buy the children a pet rabbit now?!

Cutting corners and doing things on the cheap by keeping one rabbit alone in a small hutch, with a poor diet etc, is not an option that any decent person should consider. If you can’t afford to do it right, then don’t do it at all. There are other animals that may be more suitable .

Thousands of rabbits end up in rescue centres every year because children pester their parents for a cute fluffy bunny and then the novelty soon wears off. How many of your children’s toys are they playing with 6 months later? Let alone 12 months, 2 years, 10 years etc. Don’t be another statistic, do it right.

You should only consider taking on rabbits if you can put the time to them and give them a life that they deserve - A HUTCH IS NOT ENOUGH

Monday, 17 January 2011

Unlicensed and uninspected breeding has to stop.,-says-Rabbit-Welfare-Charity.php

Please cross post our latest press release. Lets make 2011, the Year of the Rabbit, the year that unlicensed breeding and crulety stops.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Magicians - BBC One, 15th January 2011

Good grief, did anyone see 'The Magicians' last night? Surely the use of live rabbits was not necessary and as a prey species the rabbits looked scared, were handled inappropriately, depicted inappropriately (cramped in a small shed and in buckets!) and we fear that children may try to copy what they saw on a prime time show which should quite frankly have known better. We can only be grateful that they stopped short of pulling them out by their ears.

It starts from around 40 minutes in.

We have written to the BBC to complain about the use of live rabbits on the show and would encourage anyone else who was offended, upset or angered by what they saw to do the same.

The BBC's 'how to make a complaint' link can be found here:

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Urgent help needed for PACT rescue

This message was sent out earlier this week via our First Alert service, if you can spare anything to help the rescue that have taken on 74 rabbits, 30 of which may be pregnant (litters are already being born) please help.



'PACT' animal santuary in Norfolk (UK) comes to the rescue of 74 Rabbits including babies that were living in filthy, squalid conditions- they need your help now please, this is a desperate situation!! Some of the Rabbits are sick and need veterinary help.

Donations/loving forever homes needed to help these desperate Rabbits

'PACT' animal santuary in Norfolk (UK) are asking for our immediate help today. They have recently come to the vital rescue of 74 Rabbits including their babies that were living in filthy, squalid conditions- they need your help now!

Please view the disturbing photos below of the conditions that these poor Rabbits and their babies had to endure including dead animals found in a bonfire!! Please read PACT's damning report below and help them to help these animals in need.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Year Resolutions - how you can help improve rabbit welfare.

Please make one of your New Year resolutions helping to improve rabbit welfare.

What is your New Year resolution? Losing weight? Giving up Smoking? Going to the gym more often? Please make one resolution that is easy to keep and help us to improve rabbit welfare, here are some of the ways you can help us:

Please join The Rabbit Welfare Association (or make sure you renew your membership)
Our membership is our main source of income, so if you love rabbits, please join or ensure you renew your membership when the time comes. Members receive a copy of our fantastic quarterly magazine and help us fund many projects such as our campaigning work, the helpline which is open 365 days a year and leaflet production and distribution.

To join follow this link:

If you already a member (thank you) please sign up to pay by standing order, or world pay recurring payment, so that we can save admin costs on renewal notices and you can be certain never to miss an issue of Rabbiting On.

Use 'every click' as your search engine
It’s powered by Yahoo and you can raise money for rabbit welfare simply by browsing the web! It won’t cost you a penny and it's really easy to use.
More details are here:

Use ' easy fundraising' for shopping.
You still shop directly with each retailer as you would normally, but simply by using the links from our site first, each purchase you make will generate a cashback donation to the cause you wish to support.

For example, spend £25 with WH Smith and 3.5% will be donated. You will have raised £0.88, at no extra cost to your purchase. Make any purchase from Amazon and 2.5% will be donated. Insure your car with Direct Line and raise £35.00, or purchase a mobile phone from O2 and earn £17.50, and so on.

You can shop with 2000+ Brand Name retailers and to raise funds you just use the links from our site first - it's that simple!

You can support us by joining via this link:

Please register and share this link and (perhaps in your e-mail signature) and encourage others to support us too. You can also 'like' the page via facebook and share it to your wall. This will help raise awareness of the charity and our message.

Use our 'cruel' image in your e-mail signature or as your avatar on facebook.
Help us spread the message that 'a hutch is not enough' If everyone used this image as their avatar, or in their e-mails even just for the rest of this month it would really help to raise awareness of the campaign and the website where people can find loads of information on how best to look after their rabbits.

Ask for a free car sticker!
Please get in touch and we will be happy to send you a free ' a hutch is not enough' car sticker, or you may be able persuade your local Vet, Pet Shop or School to put one in their window. It will all help to help us drum our message that 'a hutch is not enough'

Ask for some leaflets.
Most of us have probably encountered a friend, neighbour or work mate that has a single rabbit kept in a hutch in the garden. We know this isn't how rabbits should be kept and you might lose sleep thinking about the poor bun, but it can be awkward to approach the subject. Why not ask for a bundle of our leaflets to pass to them instead, and let them do the talking. You could always say you have read them and they may find them interesting to avoid making it confrontational.

Order flowers from Charity Flowers
And we will receive 15% of the total spent.
24 hour order hotline 08705 300 600
24 hour fax ordering 01481 255590
Order on line
Please quote the charity source code RWAF when ordering

Send us your used stamps:
Used stamps can be turned into much needed funds for The RWAF. All types of stamps including first and second class, commemorative, foreign and First Day Covers are welcome. Simply send to the Horsham P O Box.

The RWAF team would like to wish you and your bunnies all a happy and healthy 2011, and thank you for supporting us.

Alan, Anne, Lizzie & Rae.