The conflict regarding whether rabbits are pets or livestock has risen again, this time in Canada. At the annual convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, a councilor from Delta proposed a resolution to ban the sale of pet rabbits unless they are spayed or neutered. The motion was opposed by Sally Watson who breeds rabbits for meat. As Kelly Sinoski reported in the Vancouver Sun, rabbits in Delta have done hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the grounds of the recreation centre and municipal hall.
“It’s not trivial when you look at what’s happening across B.C.,” said Delta Coun. Bruce McDonald, who brought the resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.
McDonald noted “bunnies are such cute little things” when they are snapped up as pets before Easter. But often they’re later abandoned and end up populating fast-growing warrens of rabbits in city parks and public areas.
The University of Victoria started a campaign in 2009 to clear its campus of rabbits. At one point, it was estimated UVic had 1,600 rabbits. Many of the rabbits were sent to a ranch in Texas and other sanctuaries.
“In most places now you can’t buy a dog or a cat that are not sterilized. What happens in pet shops is they don’t really care what they do,” McDonald said.
The motion, supported by a majority of local government officials, drew concern from Sally Watson, director of Electoral Area A in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
Watson said she buys rabbits for breeding, not pets. “We also have a meat rabbit industry … how would I ever get breeding stock?” she said. “My rabbits aren’t cute, they’re delicious.”
The Victoria Times Colonist newspaper reported that the resolution was passed by a margin so close that a show of hands vote could not decide the issue and electronic voting was implemented.
The resolution calls on the province to bring in legislation regulating the sale of unsterilized rabbits.
The complete Vancouver Sun article is available at http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Municipalities+demand+controls+rabbits/7313152/story.html