Higher Bunny-Consciousness


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Love a bunny.

Bunnies are often beloved gifts at Easter, discarded by Memorial Day.

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.

Why?

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.

On bunnies:

  • 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.

Victoria Thomas

About Victoria Thomas

Brooklyn-born Victoria Thomas loves writing about flora and fauna, although she chooses to do so in an urban setting. If she had it all to do over again, she might have become a forensic entomologist. She lives in Los Angeles.
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2 Responses to Higher Bunny-Consciousness

  1. Petra says:

    Terrible article. In some ways…. Loved it in other ways♥
    Here is why.

    As someone who loves & knows rabbits. I really think much written here was way off. to the real rabbit trouble. Most of your rabbit facts are way off!

    Then again a Vegan food fest is no place to say you know anything about rabbits from. other than your non vegan mention (oh cover the bunny ears-” CLASSIC HASENPFEFFER WITH SEMOLINA DUMPLINGS”

    Other than that rabbits are VEGAN. Great for Vegans to have as a pet. Instead of making a dog, or cat a vegan. Why not just get a rabbit? They do have personality.

    I like the bunny ears mention. That is so cool & L A.

    Like the fact they really need all time attention. They hate to be bothered between dawn & dusk, while they like to sleep. They do not want constant attention I too would be (figuratively) biting & kicking anyone who woke me up from my sleep.

    Rabbits can fight. Vet bills to follow. So no guarantees on the bonding story.

    Once the buck’s balls are cut off, there is no having any babies, unless the VET botched it.

    Most rabbits live 5-10 years. Few exceptions. Smaller breeds live longer. Flemish Giants live 3 years.Approx.

    We can thank Bunny world for saving the sales of baby rabbits sold on Santtee st. LA. They stepped in to doing this about 5-6 years ago. Hope to never see a rabbit sold on a corner down there. SAD!

    I’ll compliment your mention of the impulse holiday gift. Just keep in mind that the real problem is with those who take on any holiday animals, in regards. Be it from a commercial pet shop or a kind breeder, or a fine rescue. ►The bad part of that deal is where the buyer is the one who recycles/ gives up/ abandons the pet. Making it a problem. Not where they got it from. Many shelter pets get recycled a good bit. How sad is that?

    There is no longer a market for rabbits. Los Angeles in history housed some of the largest rabbit farms in the USA. modern times. No one is interested in buying rabbits. The shelters know this, as well as most anyone who keeps them. I keep having people ask me if I want one that is about to be discarded. For no reason. Other than an impulse buy. A mistake in buying. They are not old underwear. To discard.

    So anyone who thinks there is this big bunny sales on Easter market, due to this article. There is NOT!

    You are correct. These fine Lagomorphs do deserve much better.

    Also they like to hump more than they reproduce. They just love sex!
    Who doesn’t?
    Here is the deal. Above 80 degrees. The male becomes (temp) sterile. 1% born sees it’s 1st birthday. That is nature. So before your bunny numbers go multiplying in your head. Most do not survive it out of the borrow. If they do?. They are food for something else. Only 2 are needed to go on in nature. Same story for all wildlife. Owls/hawks are starving at this time. Most of this year’s young will not make it. Maybe just that 1%?

    In CA not a who lot of any bunnies are happening. Due to hot weather. In nature hawks & owls suffer the most. No prey or food. Even the CA FWS has some concerns in regards. Due to climate change. rabbits are going extinct.

    Another rabbit fact. More rabbit breeds in the USA, have gone extinct. Than all the other countries in this world combined.

    The 1st breed ever created in the USA was the American Blue & White. Just a few years back. there was less than 500 in the world. So as I said I think this info is way off.

    Let’s talk more about rabbit.
    I’m a CA Historian, & rabbit (coat inheritance) color genetic specialist.

  2. Thank you for the information! I just want to remind any well-meaning pet-owners that you cannot make a cat a vegan. It is a carnivore, not an omnivore, and cannot live without meat.

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