The pet industry in the UK is being encouraged to make the public aware of the Rabbit Wellbeing Challenge, which is slated to end on November 22, 2013. It is estimated that there are 1.7 million pet rabbits in the UK, and the campaign was designed to help rabbit owners understand what their long-eared pets require, and to help them meet those five needs.
Five welfare needs
A person responsible for an animal’s welfare must ensure that the following five needs are met:
- a suitable environment,
- a suitable diet,
- to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,
- to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and
- to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
Since the campaign was launched in June, more than 1,000 rabbit owners have already signed up, and the pet industry is now being urged to ensure their customers take advantage of this free resource by registering at www.rabbitneeds.org.uk
The interactive website allows owners to take a monthly quiz to find out how well they are currently meeting their rabbits needs, with advice on how to further improve their health and wellbeing. At the end of the challenge, owners will be presented with a Rabbit Wellbeing Challenge certificate and receive monthly vouchers together with money-off coupons for the Excel Feeding Plan. Each participant will also be entered into a prize draw to win a 16gb iPad.
The Rabbit Wellbeing Challenge is also being featured on stickers on a million packs of Burgess Excel Rabbit Nuggets.
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Hoppington Post would like to applaud the PDSA for this campaign, which, sadly, seems not to be having much impact thus far, as it seems that only a few thousand rabbit owners have participated. We understand that Britain has quite a large problem with many rabbits living alone in small hutches outside with insufficient opportunities to get the exercise or the stimulation they need to thrive. It also would be interesting to know whether other countries, such as the United States and Canada, need a similar campaign.
By the way, for those unfamiliar with PDSA, it is a UK-based pet charity that originally started as the Pet Dispensary for Sick Animals.
Photo courtesy of the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund.