Today, 25th September, is International Rabbit Day and Four Paws has published a free guide with tips on how we can all play our part in helping to protect rabbits from suffering. (7th December 2012: Four Paws has removed the original web pages to which I linked and published a new guide to rabbit welfare.)
This is a summary of the tips:
- avoid buying meat from rabbits farmed in cages;
- avoid buying products made with angora wool;
- if you own or are thinking of bringing a companion rabbit into your life, make sure you know how to provide for your companion’s welfare needs;
- ensure your rabbit has a suitable living place;
- protect rabbits from illness and injury by providing treatment when needed;
- if you are looking to adopt a companion rabbit, consider visiting a rescue centre/shelter;
- spread the word about the suffering of rabbits;
- ask companies about their policies that affect rabbit welfare; and
- ask the government to improve legislation to protect rabbit welfare.
Please also take some time to read my Battery Cage Farmed Rabbits blog.
In the past decade, fur for fashion has surprisingly and worryingly grown by 169%.
Since fur farming was banned across the UK in 2001, it seems the fur and fashion industry has been successful in airbrushing away the realities of the horrific suffering endured by the animals. There is hope, however, that this will change as the Animal Defenders International (ADI) has spent over seven months investigating 30 fur farms in Finland and launched its Fur Stop campaign.
ADI selected Finland for the investigation because it is one of the major fur suppliers to the global fashion industry, providing up nearly 42% of the fox and almost 4% of the mink fur utilised by the world’s major fashion houses.
It should be remembered that foxes and mink are wild animals and they retain wild instincts and needs. In intensive farming environments such as those investigated by ADI, foxes and mink suffer mentally and emotionally.
Foxes are naturally secretive, shy animals and in the wild would live below the ground in dens, however, the ADI investigation revealed that these foxes spend their lives in barren cages exposed to humans and other animals with minimum or no enrichment.
Mink are territorial and would naturally spend much of their time in water but the ADI investigation revealed they did not have any access to water – instead, they are left in barren cages unable to express either their swimming or foraging behaviour.
The animals in the Finnish fur farms were found to have problems such as:
- obvious signs of untreated infection or disease in the eyes, noses and ears;
- visible gum masses, sometimes entirely engulfing the teeth;
- open wounds and loss of tails;
- malformed limbs; and
- behavioural abnormalities indicative of psychological damage.
Dilapidated cages had sharp wire and mesh protruding into the animals’ living space and there were empty, unclean and broken water bowls.
Designers and consumers must take responsibility for creating demand for a product that causes millions of animals to suffer and die painfully.
People who wear fur must become more aware of the way in which the product they are wearing is being produced.