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They’re so cute.
That’s the problem.
A few hours today at the Vegfest in Encino was wilder than expected. As a sometimes-reluctant new vegan, I skipped the Kombucha booth (ewww…) and eyed lots of fab hippie-chick gear. But the real take-away is a heightened bunny-consciousness.
Actually, I already had it. For about the past 40 days and 40 nights, I super-ironically rocked several pairs of bunny-ears from the party store. Yo, btw, I was onto this W-A-A-A-A-Y before Arianna Grande, love her. My headgear was so adorably rad that I had to gift away a few pairs on the spot to admirers. So they kept multiplying, like their twitchy, marshmallow-soft inspiration. Yes, they’re s-o-o-o-o-o cute. That’s part of the problem.
But here’s the point: at the Vegfest today, a few bunny-advocacy organizations rocked my world, even though my ears– always worn as a “femme-age” (vs. homage) to Glo Steinem’s “A Bunny’s Tale”– have been officially retired for the past Paschal season. Props to non-profits BunnyLuv Rabbit Resource Center in Van Nuys and Bunnyworld Foundation for the post-Easter awakening.
Wish I had had this epiphany (wrong Christian holiday, but still…) before Easter. But here’s the thing: well-meaning and unaware people often gift live rabbits, along with chicks and ducklings, to kids around Easter. So organizations which rescue animals often receive a bunch of bunnies right now. Including your local animal shelter.
Again, no diss on the people who gift the bunnies to kids. These are the same peeps (Easter reference!) who gift puppies and kittens, and young poultry, the same way. They just don’t effing know what they are doing half the time.
- Bunnies are smart, sentient creatures. As much so as cats and dogs. “Dumb bunny” is just stupid.
- So, bunnies cannot possibly be happy cooped up in a hutch or a small cage for more than an hour or two a day. If they are confined and neglected this way, they become jittery, skittish, irritable and downright nasty biters and kickers. And who doesn’t? I am speaking from personal experience. Human neglect contributes hugely to the bunny’s rep as not being a “good”, i.e. docile, pet. (Same is true, by the way, about parrots, parakeets — but that’s another rant for another day.)
- Bunnies doth not live on carrots alone. They need a complex diet to prevent “stasis”, which means fatal constipation. (Personally, again, I’ve been there, after a few weeks in the Midwest. But I digress.)
- Bunnies need to be spayed or neutered, freed to romp around the house, petted, provided with intelligent company (ideally other de-sexed bunnies, to prevent population-explosions), groomed (brushing, nail-clipping), checked for sickness and general weirdness, etc.
- They are, in short, companion animals. They need contact, conversation and constant attention. They can live for a decade or more, like our dogs and cats.
In short, bunnies are real, live beings. Because they are associated with a specific Hallmark season, many people think of them as decorative and ornamental, and disposable.
This is cruel. It would literally be less cruel and more honest to raise them as food. Just grab them, tie them to a tree, open an artery, wait until they stop kicking, skin them, and into the stew-pot they go as the makings of a robust Hasenpfeffer, with props here to Bugs B. for bringing this word into the post-war American argot. (Foodies, I know, it’s technically made with hare, a different and less cute relative of the white, pink-eyed pet bunny– more along the zany March Hare in “Alice in Wonderland” or the protagonist of Kit Williams’ “Masquerade“.)
Okay, so moving on from my “Aftermath” vibe, this is the time of year when there is a surplus of bunnies in all sorts of places. Here are a few tips if you think you’d like a bunny in your life:
- Their poop is cute. Yes, really! Hey, if they’re healthy, they poop adorable, firm pellets that are all-vegan. Dogs sometimes wolf (Inter Canis et Lupus) down bunny droppings in a domestic setting. Just sayin’.
- Bunnies chew. A major reason that bunnies get dumped into public parks and other places. But they are not being bad. They NEED to chew because their teeth grow fast. So, in order to adopt a bunny joyfully, you will need to bunny-proof your space. First step: secure electronic cords. Check with the organizations ID’d above for more safeguards.
- Their rep as horny critters is deserved, so be aware. BunnyLuv Rabbit Resource Center warns, “Note that it can take up to 8 weeks for the hormones to get out of a bunny’s system, and a neutered male can still get a female pregnant for up to 6 weeks post-surgery.” Rock on with your bad self!
I officially have bunny-fever. If you do, too, don’t breed or buy. Adopt, and please make sure you’re ready by talking to bunny experts.
BTW, the non-profit BunnyLuv fosters rabbits and guinea pigs and offers cage-free boarding for these friends. BunnyLuv also offers grooming services, rabbit rescue and education, and (ta-da!) retail!
- BunnyLuv Rabbit Resource Center, 16742 Stagg Street 3104, Van Nuys
- (818) 988-4488
Bunny World Foundation rescues 500 to 700 abandoned and abused domestic rabbits every year. They recommend that bunnies be paired with bunny partners for this reason: “Rabbits are highly social creatures. A bunny partner provides much-needed companionship , as well as providing useful assistance in grooming, lounging, cuddling. Rabbits are tremendously affectionate with each other; they bond for life, and deeply grieve the loss of a partner.”
- Bunny World Foundation, Inc., 4470 Sunset West Sunset Blvd, Suite 482, Los Angeles
- (310) 822-1761
A few hours at the Vegfest does indeed make a gal think about karma. What goes around comes around– see “Night of the Lepus” for what could happen if we continue to mistreat bunnies.