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LETTER: Questions and concerns about the bunny café

'While rabbits are highly sociable animals and make wonderful companions, they require special care and attention,' writes reader Jo-Anne Barclay.
File photo

GuelphToday received the following letter critical of the bunny café.

I also would like to add my concerns regarding the opening of the first outdoor bunny café.

While rabbits are highly sociable animals and make wonderful companions, they require special care and attention. They can stress very easily and can have heart attacks due to fear. They are a prey animal which means that they run to get away from their enemies, making them a poor choice as a pet for young children as children will want to pick them up and carry them around. This causes stress as the rabbit does not feel safe and will struggle to get away. Improper handling and the fragility of the rabbit’s skeleton can cause broken legs or backs.

This leads me to a few questions/concerns I have about the set up of this café.

The surrounding fence is two feet high. A rabbit can easily jump over a fence two-three feet high and have jumped as high as four feet.

Are the rabbits spayed/neutered? Many rabbit owners have incorrectly sexed their rabbit, leading to "accidental" litters. The article mentions that some of the rabbits aren’t full grown yet. Those of us in rescue are filled to capacity and overwhelmed with the number of surrender requests.

Vaccinations? Have the rabbits been vaccinated against the rabbit hemorrhagic viral disease? This highly contagious disease can be transmitted on car tires, shoes, on your hands and spreads between rabbits through saliva, nasal secretions, manure, blood.

Insurance. Does the owner’s business insurance have a rider to cover any injury or suffering from scratches and/or bites?

How are the rabbits being monitored? Are children going to be chasing the rabbits and trying to pick them up? This is highly stressful for them.

Is someone making sure that people aren’t feeding the rabbits? They have delicate gastrointestinal systems and although everyone thinks rabbits eat carrots, they are a treat very high in calories and should only be given in moderation. Who will make sure they aren’t fed items from the food truck?

Outdoor location. Rabbits do not tolerate heat (or extreme cold). Is there a shaded area for them? Plenty of fresh water? Protected from fly strike, predators, off leash or uncontrolled dogs? Loud music can be unsettling for them. Has the grass been sprayed with pesticides?

While rabbits are wonderful creatures and delightful companions, I believe this is not the proper venue and could be detrimental to their well being.

Jo-Anne Barclay
Founder and Executive Director
Running Rabbit Farm Rabbit Rescue Sanctuary