Just got a facebook update from the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund here in the UK about a rescue operation that saved over a huge number of rabbits from disgusting conditions in a man's shed in Norfolk where they were being kept in damp boxes and rusty filing cabinets. According to some reports I've heard there were several already dead and decomposing rabbits and skeletons in the shed along with the living bunnies (including a mother and her babies) and indications are that this may have been going on for years. The man was keeping the rabbits for sale to the pet and meat trades.
According to an update on the shelter's site yesterday:
"Final total of rabbits taken Friday and Saturday was 70 ranging from tiny babies to adults, with another four babies born Sunday making a grand total of 74. Of those we estimate that there are at least 34 pregnant does. Veterinary inspection has revealed that there are at least two rabbits suffering from Syphilis and 4 suspected cases of myxomatosis plus several cases of suspected pasteurella. All the sick rabbits have started treatment and will have to be segregated from the rest of the group. The whole group is of course being kept separated from the rest of our resident rabbits and guinea pigs – a logistical nightmare."
The shelter that has taken them in is called PACT and they desperately need help to get the rabbits back to health and to find homes for them. If you know anyone in the UK who might be able to help please forward the information on. There is also a facebook group here (warning: upsetting images)
PACT's website is http://www.pactsanctuary.org - they are a registered UK charity with a "no kill" policy.
Even if you're not from the UK, this is a prime example of the dark side of the pet trade and needs to be seen by as many people as possible so please pass it on.
PACT Animal Sanctuary was contacted by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on behalf of a patient in his 70s who is understood to have had a stroke. He told nurses he had about 30 rabbits that had not been fed for two days.
The man handed over his keys and signed over ownership of the animals to the charity, before giving them directions to the junk-strewn shed at Holt Road, Horsford.
Charity workers arrived on Friday night and rescued about 20 of the animals, before returning on Saturday for the rest.
George Rockingham, of PACT Animal Sanctuary, said: “There were at least 40 rabbits kept in boxes on the floor and in filing cabinets. One was in a wet cardboard box.
“Most of the animals were in reasonable condition but had obviously never been out of the place. There was plenty of food but no water and they were very thirsty.”
Mr Rockingham said he understood the rabbits were being bred as pets and for meat. Many were New Zealand Whites, a large breed, and there were at least nine baby rabbits, just a few days old.
The rescued animals will now be taken to the sanctuary at Woodrising, near Hingham, and cared for before being rehomed.