Although rabbits are the third most popular house pets in the U.S. and Canada, they are also the least well understood by the general public. Rabbit shelters and advocacy groups are devoting a lot of effort to educating people about the unique care needs bunnies require, as compared to dogs and cats. For example, the House Rabbit Society and Amy Sedaris worked together to produce an excellent rabbit education video that is available on YouTube. Still, most rabbit folks agree that much more needs to be done to increase the awareness of rabbits as pets.
Recently, the Hoppington Post became aware of the Canadian Rabbit Hopping Club, based in Calgary, Alberta. They have had quite a bit of success in informing the public about rabbits thanks to their exposure on such television programs as “Canada’s Got Talent.”
Today, we learned about another rabbit jumping organization that is getting publicity in the U.S. Eleven-year old Cassandra Brustkern of La Porte City, Iowa had a recent appearance on “Good Morning America” showing off the rabbits she has trained to do equestrian style rabbit show jumping. Here are some details as published by wcfcourier.com:
Rabbit hopping is gaining momentum in Iowa, thanks in part to Cassandra’s efforts.
Cassandra’s passion for rabbit hopping is matched only by her mother’s love of the sport. Joan Brustkern has been instrumental in growing interest in the sport. She also serves as a judge at rabbit hopping events.
“It is definitely growing,” said Kay Morris, of Nevada, who heads up the Story County Rabbit Hopping Club. “Joan got us started four years ago. The first year we had 10 kids.”
Since then, members have multiplied to more than 40, with 36 registered to participate in the Story County Fair on Saturday.
Morris is a 4-H leader and her daughter, Nina, 15, and her son, Reafe, 12, both participate in rabbit hopping.
Morris sees rabbit hopping as a great opportunity to get more kids involved, kids who may not have the money or space to raise large livestock.
“It also gives kids who have rabbits that don’t meet show requirements the chance to participate,” she said.
Joan Brustkern also is working to get a performance club charter through the American Rabbit Breeders Association. The required number of member signatures has been gathered. Next is an appearance in front of the organization’s board of directors and finally a vote will be taken at the association’s general meeting.
Another of the Bruskerns’ goals is to find a place for rabbit hopping at the Iowa State Fair.
We suspect that many rabbit rescue and advocacy activists will object to the fact that Cassandra and her mother are involved with rabbit breeding, as they advocate spaying and neutering of pet rabbits to minimize behavior and health problems. Nevertheless, the concept of utilizing rabbit jumping, agility training or hopping exhibitions as a means to get the public interested in pet rabbits is an idea the Hoppington Post believes deserves careful consideration.