They come from a bunny rescue, of course! There are oodles (that’s a technical term for lots) of bunnies available for adoption out there and every time you adopt rather than buy a bunny, you are saving a life.
Wow, sounds like a bit of a guilt trip there, and it kind of is. I will admit that our first bunny, Dinkum, was one we bought from a pet store. We didn’t know any better back then, in 1992. We didn’t even know rabbit rescues existed back then, and not so many did as they do now. We learned, though; and Amy became an HRS Educator way back when!
While numbers are hard to pin down, there are an estimated 4.1 to 5.3 million pet rabbits in the United States. Many are spayed and neutered, but many are not and rabbits tend to breed like, well, rabbits. As a result, there are lots of rabbits that end up in shelters and rescues across the country.
Through our lives, we’ve seen the vast difference between how rabbits are viewed from small rural farm towns to urban cities. We are realists. We do not support the breeding of rabbits for show or sale. Not all shelter/rescues are good (and it’s tough to say, but you could even say that not all breeders are bad). This makes your job all the harder once you have decided you want to add a bunny to your life or your family. You should do some research and legwork to find a particular shelter or rescue that meets with your personal philosophy.
You’ll have to ask yourself some questions:
- Why do you want a pet bunny?
- Are you ready for a 10 year or longer commitment?
- Can you afford this pet? Not only the daily costs, but the need to have some set aside for health problems, or emergencies?
- Can you devote the time daily for a pet rabbit?
- Are you willing to do the research to learn how to properly care for your new family member?
Shelters and rescues all across the country are filled with lots of viable rabbits. If you’re drawn to any particular breed, type, size, sex, or color, there’s a group somewhere that has some that are looking for a good home. A lot of times, you’ll want to seek out a local rescue group as your local animal shelter may not take rabbits, as many don’t in large portions of the U.S.
My reasoning for advocating adopting from a shelter/rescue rather than buying from a breeder is simple. I like animals, lots of animals, all kinds of animals. I want them to be a part of my life as a companion, as a family member. I don’t care that they have papers or some kind of pedigree. It is simply that they need a home and that I want to provide that home for them for the rest of their life. A breeder has other motivations. Their motivation is often to sell rabbits. Many will sell rabbits to be used as food (by humans or animals) as readily as they will sell them for pets. This just doesn’t match my philosophy, and that’s ok, because…
I will be getting my (next) lagomorphic or canine family member from a shelter or rescue! If you aren't in a position to add another rabbits to your household, consider making contact with a local rescue group to volunteer, or to help support their endeavor. Even small donations of time, supplies, or money help a great deal! You'll meet some great people, and help out some wiggly little noses.