Petitioner: Karen Gray on behalf of Rabbits Require Rights (Scotland)
10 April 2015
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to:
- Introduce a licensing regime for sellers of young rabbits similar to that for young cats and dogs.
- Initiate a ban on pet shop sales via the implementation of Ordinances Protecting Rabbits as is operational in numerous States & Cities in Northern USA & Canada.
- Create minimum standards for rabbit related products, such as housing and feed.
- Make one body responsible for overseeing and enforcing pet shop licensing regulations, e.g. the SSPCA.
12 May 2015: The Committee took evidence from Karen Gray. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish SPCA and the Pet Industry Federation and then the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 12 May 2015
27 October 2015: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 27 October 2015
12 January 2016: The Committee agreed to close the petition, under Rule 15.7, on the basis that the Scottish Government is currently considering options in this policy area and that many of the concerns raised in the petition will be taken into account as part of this work. Link to Official Report 12 January 2016
Please sign this petition & help us change the fact that pet rabbits are the most neglect pets in the UK despite being the 3rd most popular. We all have very busy lives and often see things that upset us but we don’t think we can make a difference, but we can! Just by taking a moment to sign this petition you will be helping towards ending the common place neglect suffered by many thousands of pet rabbits’.
There are 1.3 million pet rabbits in the UK but a whopping 97% of people surveyed did not realise how expensive they are to care for over their lifetime. (PDSA PAW report 2014).
Thousands of pet rabbits in the UK spend their entire lives confined to hutches or indoor cages the same size, or smaller than, the DEFRA guidelines - which state that hutched meat rabbits should have a minimum space of 0.75m2. This equates to a hutch with a floor space of 4ft x 2ft, and as hutches this size or smaller are commonly available it will shock many rabbit owners to discover their own pet is in fact worse off than a battery rabbit.
All the while the rabbit owning public continue to be sold neglect at every turn & by buying these products, continue to believe we are doing right by our pets; why else would they be for sale if harmful?
Many breeders and sellers continue to give the wrong advice and tell new owners that rabbits are happy kept alone and to spend the majority of their time in a hutch when both of these things are in fact cruel.
As such the sale of the animals, breeding, services & the sale of related products which are detrimental to their health urgently needs to be addressed, regulated & their welfare needs actively enforced & protected by law.
With an estimated 67,000 rabbits in Rescue during 2012 (RWAF study) our re-homing centres throughout the UK are struggling to cope both financially & emotionally, not only due to sheer number of rabbits needing new homes but the numerous complex health issues many arrive with. There simply aren't enough new homes to allow this practise to continue unheeded & as such, this 'industry' must be regulated.
As a nation of Animal Lovers, Scotland has the powers to set a precedent for the rest of the UK to follow by both tightening existing legislation & introducing new powers to ensure the welfare needs of these long suffering domestic pets are met and by doing so put an end to this out of control cycle of neglect.
We need to wake up to the fact that Rabbits are endearing, highly intelligent, inquisitive, active, agile, clean, funny & loving animals, which makes them the ideal companion pet for numerous owners & as such should be given the same level of protection as our cats & dogs enjoy & be treated accordingly. Rabbits have specific & complex needs; they are neither 'caged' pets nor suitable for children & as such these outdated viewpoints simply have to change!
Whilst improved education & awareness into the many issues that surround Rabbit Welfare is key, more proactive measures in the form of legislation to protect their welfare is required to not only curb the high numbers of rabbits available in our marketplaces, but reduce the burden on our rescues & lessen the high levels of (unintentional) neglect thereof.