We recently got a comment posted on one of our old youtube videos, and I thought it would be worth posting the response here as well since it contains some valuable information about some subjects I’m very passionate about indeed (as many of you know!) :)
The welfare issues surrounding rabbits as pets are huge and complex, and Paws Here campaigns to close all “rabbit mills” and stop rabbits from being widely sold in pet shops to bring their situation more in line with the current situation for dogs and cats in the UK. If you have any questions, please feel free to send us an ask!
The comment was this: “The cages you keep them in are far too small,even the dog ones the reason you’re so full is because no one has the space too keep these outdoor animals in their loud, noisy houses. They love grazing on the grass and relaxing in the sunshine. I ‘m not talking about hamsters here or rats but seriously, rabbits and guinea pigs deserve a bigger life to just being kept in small enclosed spaces.”
Here is my response:
I’m going to break this down point by point.
First, your contention that rabbits and guinea pigs be kept outside. Did you know that these animals:
- were initially kept outdoors by monks as a food source like cattle, which is why they are kept outdoors today
- will statistically live much shorter lives outdoors than indoors (which of course didn’t matter to the monks, who were going to eat them after all)
- are statistically FAR more likely to be neglected outdoors than indoors
- cannot maintain a safe temperature outdoors
- are not safe from predators, who can stress them to illness or death even if they can’t physically kill them
- are more likely to get parasites and illnesses outdoors
- are MANY times more likely to end up in rescues from outdoor homes
- are more lonely outdoors
- are less friendly outdoors
- are VERY different from wild rabbits, and even so a garden is nothing at all like the vast, densely populated underground warren a wild rabbit inhabits
You can read more about keeping rabbits and guinea pigs indoors where they are safe, happy, loved and warm in the articles that I’ve linked to in our video description above (here are the links - http://pawshereedinburgh.co.uk/page_66 and http://www.allearssac.org/indoors.html and http://www.guineapigcages.com/location.htm and http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/outdoor-environments/46491-whats-wrong-ke… and http://rabbitmatch.org/help-advice/why-keep-rabbits-indoors/). Please read them carefully, they contain important and useful information.
Now on to the cages we keep them in being too small. Did you know that our cages:
- are significantly bigger than just about any outdoor hutch
- are SIGNIFICANTLY bigger than they are required to be by law
- are the largest size of dog crate it is possible to buy without going to a specialist
And that our animals get time outside of their cages every day to play, during which they frequently binky to show their happiness, and happily run back into their cages themselves once they are done?
Also, guinea pigs especially are easily overwhelmed by too much open space, as they are prey animals who are naturally crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk when the light is dim to avoid predators) and otherwise like to hide in enclosed spaces.
Our animals are all given daily health and wellness checks, and we adjust their environments to reflect how they’re doing physically and mentally.
Now as to the point about not rehoming to outdoor homes being the reason we are full of rescue animals. This is such a gross misunderstanding of the OVERWHELMING welfare issues that we deal with on a daily basis, that I would like to personally invite you to spend time at our rescue, daily, for a couple of weeks. This is a serious, 100% genuine invitation. Because that’s the only way I can think of to make you see the true and appalling situation, where EVERY SINGLE RESCUE is full of unwanted rescue rabbits and guinea pigs. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Even the ones who rehome to outdoor homes. Even the ones who ONLY rehome to outdoor homes.
Let me hit you with some facts:
- Over 95% of our rescue rabbits and g.pigs come from outdoor homes
- Outdoor pets are vastly more likely to be neglected
- Our worst rescue rabbit that we have ever seen, who this year won the Burgess Wetnose Rescue Story of the Year Award, was in such a sorry state DUE TO BEING KEPT OUTSIDE
- People don’t bond with their outdoor pets, so they are seen as more disposable. After all, would you even make your dog live outdoors all the time in all weather?
- Rabbits are one of the most neglected pets in Britain. We believe that is because they are kept in a box at the bottom of the garden and never interacted with.
I will never place one of the precious creatures entrusted to this rescue in a situation where it is almost a statistical CERTAINTY that they will have a sad, short life. But that is NOT why we are full. Almost everyone who approaches us to adopt is approved & wants to keep their pets indoors. It is the sheer number of rabbits “produced” by breeding mills & sold like toys by big pet stores to irresponsible owners that has caused the current national crisis in rabbit welfare.
This is what I live and breathe every day, my work and my calling. This is what I know, what I dedicate my life to.
Please educate yourself, and ask again if you still don’t get it.
I’ll finish by saying that if you consider your home a “noisy, small, enclosed space” then don’t get a rabbit. Period. It’s not a god given right - if you can’t provide the right safe environment within your home then don’t get one. Simple.
The other day, we told you about Snowy - one of our bunnies who has been diagnosed with tooth spurs - a painful, irritating and potentially life threatening problem that can only be fixed with surgery. Snowy will need a special diet and a special home to make sure the spurs don’t reoccur, and to have them monitored and treated if they do.
Snowy came to us last year with her friend Nancy for a holiday. They were never collected, and all attempts to contact their owners were rebuffed. It seems hard to believe, but this happens more often than you would think.
Snowy a cross breed with a lot of English Spot in there, she’s small and won’t grow any bigger. To the best of our knowledge she’s maybe 2-3 years old. She’s shy, but oh so sweet and not at all aggressive.
Thank you to all the people who have donated so far - we’ve raised £43 towards the cost of the surgery! We need to raise a further £65 to fully meet the cost and the operation is tomorrow. We’re still desperately trying to raise those funds as the shelter is so overstretched right now that we are even struggling to pay our rent. If you can donate at all, no matter how small an amount, please know that it will make a big difference to Snowy. You can donate here.
Even if you can’t donate or adopt Snowy, and don’t know anyone who can, PLEASE REBLOG! It helps us get her story out to as many people as possible, and to get attention for Paws Here! Every reblog helps! And if you’d like to follow us on Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook, that would be awesome and a great help too!
I’m writing this post while sat in the shelter, a bunny happily binkying in a run beside me. For those who don’t know, rabbits binky - jump up in the air - when they are at their most happy and playful. They are literally jumping for joy.
We’re coming up on the five year anniversary of the founding of Paws Here, and that’s five years during which we’ve all worked so hard to give these forgotten, voiceless animals happiness and joy again. A new start, a new home, a saved life. All of us, our volunteers, supporters, foster carers, adopters, visitors - every single one of you has helped to do an incredible thing in the lives of these abandoned pets. It might not seem like much, but I know with everything in me that if we could ask them - the frightened, abused, lonely animals whose lives we turn around even if only for a few measly hours of happiness, even if it’s only someone to hold them just once with love and gentleness so that they’re not afraid at the end - I know that they would be able to express better than I can how important the work we do for them is, how much it’s helped and changed and saved them.
I know they would want to thank you. Every one of you.
Unfortunately now I’m coming to you once again with a plea for help, for a very dear little rabbit called Snowy.
Let me tell you her story.
Snowy came to us last year with her friend Nancy for a holiday. They were never collected, and all attempts to contact their owners were rebuffed. It seems hard to believe, but this happens more often than you would think. After waiting month after long month, the decision was taken to rehome them.
Unfortunately, poor Snowy was being quite badly bullied at this point by Nancy, and it reached the point where we had to separate them. Nancy was easily paired up with another bunny and rehomed, however Snowy has been left affected by her negative experience. Frightened of other animals and people, withdrawing into herself, she’s been left alone.
We’re working hard to help Snowy overcome her fears, and two of our volunteers clubbed together to pay for her spaying a few months ago so that she has a better chance than ever of finding a companion and a forever home. Despite everything she’s been through, we have high hopes for this little rabbit. One day she’ll be binkying like the other rabbits, joyful at last.
However, in order for that to happen, Snowy needs potentially life saving surgery.
Just yesterday, volunteer Clare noticed that Snowy’s eyes were watering. We rushed her in to the vet where she was diagnosed with tooth spurs - a painful, irritating and potentially life threatening problem that can only be fixed with surgery. Snowy will need a special diet and a special home to make sure the spurs don’t reoccur, and to have them monitored and treated if they do.
I’m going to say this right now: I believe we can save her life. And I believe her life is worth saving.
Snowy has been booked in for surgery next Wednesday, and so the first thing we need to do is raise £108 to pay for this procedure. If anyone can donate anything at all, please do. No matter how small you think your contribution is, it makes a big big difference to Snowy. You can donate here.
The second thing we need to do feels, unbelievably, even more impossible. We need to find Snowy a forever home where she can get the quiet, no-pressure, stress free attention, love and care that she deserves. We need to find her a family that is prepared to take on a special needs rabbit with potential teeth problems. A “damaged” rabbit, physically and psychologically affected by the things which have happened to her. We need a family for Snowy that is prepared to work hard to find her an ideal bunny companion, because Snowy doesn’t always get on with other rabbits.
It seems so hopeless, when we have healthy, friendly, bouncy bunnies who have been waiting for homes for weeks and weeks, months, years even in some cases. How will Snowy ever find her family?
There’s a family out there for her. That’s another thing I know. Somewhere out there is someone with a heart big enough to take on this special girl. We just need to get her to them.
How can you help?
By spreading the word! Please please repost this, blog this, tell your friends on facebook and twitter and livejournal, tell the whole world. If we tell enough people, I know for sure that one of them will step forward to adopt our precious Snowy.
That’s all. That’s all I’m asking. Talk about her, be a voice for the voiceless.
I know you can do it.
As you may know, bunny Basil won the Burgess Wetnose Rescue Story of the Year award. Now, the directors of Animal Friends Insurance have donated £1,000 to the shelter to help pay for Basil’s vet bills! This is fantastic news, and we’re incredibly thankful. Here’s Basil with his award, looking ever so pleased.
We have exciting plans for Paws Here this Easter - a whole weekend of fun and fundraising! Our goal is to get all our bunnies vaccinated against the lethal diseases myxomatosis and VHD, and we’ll be keeping track of how many bunnies we’ve raised enough to vaccinate throughout the weekend and offering regular updates on our website.
Our Easter Bunny Weekend will feature activities and games, stalls, face painting, a tombola, crafts, and possibly a bunny walk to take some of our bunnies to the local park for a play. And of course, there will be lots of bunnies for kids of all ages to meet and interact with. Entry is FREE, and there will be a special bunny care and handling class on each day at 3 PM.
Myxomatosis and VHD are two lethal and incurable diseases. Myxomatosis can be stopped once a rabbit has it, but the damage it causes is permanent, which often has tragic consequences. There have been reported cases of both myxomatosis and VHD in and around this part of Scotland in the last few months. The bunnies we manage to vaccinate as a result of this fundraising will be protected from these deadly diseases for a whole year, which for most of them will be long enough to see them into their forever homes.
So do come along to Paws Here at 135 Comiston Road, Edinburgh this Easter weekend, Saturday April 7th and Sunday April 8th from 11 AM to 4 PM! Please check out our website for updates, pictures and more.
In recent weeks we have had emergency surrenders brought in where the owners have refused to pay our rehoming fee, which they had previously agreed to donate, meaning that the cost of feeding, housing, vet checking, vaccinating, neutering etc has had to be entirely met by the shelter. These people have no problem with deceiving and depriving of money a struggling animal rescue at Christmas. At times like this it feels like it would be easy to give up, to lose faith in humanity all together. But I know that there are good people out there! I know that we can continue to make a difference!
We now need to raise around £900 or Paws Here will be unable to continue. We have now raised just over £300. Your help could prove pivotal in the fight to save Paws Here. We are still struggling to find the £600 still left to raise. We have until this coming weekend. It’s a terrifying feeling - like falling without a net to catch you. The future of the shelter hangs in the balance. We need your help!
Paws Here strives to find new homes for rabbits and rodents who have been abandoned, abused and mistreated. We receive no government funding and rely on donations to survive. We are strictly a no-kill shelter and we go above and beyond to give sick and injured animals a fighting chance, and it is this policy which has led to our current situation. Please help us to continue giving them a second chance at a happy life and a forever family.
How can you help?
- BY REBLOGGING THIS POST! Yes, even if you can’t donate, or don’t think your followers will be able to donate, reblogging will help!
- by following this Tumblr, and encouraging others to do the same.
- by blogging about the shelter’s situation, or linking to this or our previous posts.
-by coming to our Christmas Fayre next Saturday at the shelter from 12-4pm and bringing your friends and family along with you!
-by shopping at Paws Here for your pet products
-by ordering a calendar or other winter gift
-by making a donation
- by following us on twitter @Paws_Here and encouraging others to do the same
Please help us to continue to help them!
Hello there and welcome to the Paws Here on Tumblr!
Paws Here has a youtube channel where you can check out our weekly video diaries and stay updated on what’s happening at Paws Here!
We also have a shelter journal where you can read about the day to day happenings in the shelter. Every day’s an adventure around here so keep an eye on the journal. If you’re on livejournal, why not add us to your friends list?
You can also check out the Paws Here facebook group. Do join us there!
It is now possible to sponsor a rescue pet, so check out the profiles of all our adorable rescue animals! Want to help a pet without sponsoring them, or want to spoil your sponsored pet just that little bit more? Why not buy them a gift!