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Hannah Jones

BSc(Hons) RVN

Veterinary Nurse

This year saw the 10th anniversary of the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund’s RAW campaign. Rabbit

Awareness Week (RAW) occurs annually during the month of June and is supported by leading animal

organisations including the RSPCA,Wood Green Animal Shelters, Burgess Pet Care, Panacur Rabbit, Blue Cross

and PDSA.

Rabbits are the third most popular pet

in the UK, however research has shown

them to be the countries most neglected

pet with over 67,000 entering rehoming

centres every year. Although rabbit owners

love their pets, the huge amount of

misconceptions regarding rabbit care

can mean that despite a loving owner’s

best intentions, welfare can be

inadvertently compromised.

Thanks to the fantastic work of charities

and the nationwide campaign of

‘Rabbit Awareness Week’, knowledge

and understanding of the true needs of

rabbits has grown amongst the general

public by getting up-to-date and accurate

information out to rabbit owners, therefore

allowing their bunnies to live a long, healthy

and happy life!

The theme of this year’s campaign was

#buddiesforbunnies – in the past, it has

been deemed acceptable for rabbits to

be kept alone in a small hutch at the

bottom of the garden, but we now know

that this is inadequate on many levels and

causes suffering. Rabbits are highly social

animals who, in the wild, live in groups. It

is therefore recommended that they are

kept in neutered pairs or groups in spacious

accommodation so that they can run and

play together.

As 57% of UK rabbits live alone, the Buddies

for Bunnies campaign aims to encourage

more owners to find suitable companions

for their furry friends.

Rabbits are known to be picky when it

comes to selecting a partner, and so both

should be vaccinated and neutered before

they meet to give them the best possible

chance at making friends! They then have to

go through a period of ‘bonding’ with a new

rabbit before they live together to make

sure they will get along, but once bonded

they tend to be friends for life! Many

rescue centres are very knowledgeable on

the bonding process and may be able to

provide bonding sessions so you can be sure

that your newly adopted rabbit will be a

welcome addition to your home.

For more information on bonding rabbits

and other rabbit care tips such as ideal diet,

housing and healthcare visit:

www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk

Willows currently has a number

of RWAF’s ‘Hop to it’ booklets

available FREE to our clients

*

.

The booklets are a full guide

to keeping rabbits and contain

information on everything

‘bunny’ from diet (including free

treats you can pick from your

garden) to housing, and health to

behaviour. Just ask at reception

or your primary vet if you are

interested in a copy.

*Subject to availability