rabbits health

Insufficient housing for pet rabbits within the UK – what can we do about it_

New analysis has discovered that 3 in 10 pet rabbits within the UK are being inadequately housed in hutches and cages which can be too small for his or her wants.

An estimated a million rabbits are stored as pets within the UK, making them the third hottest pet behind cats and canine. Nonetheless, regardless of their recognition, analysis constantly highlights that there’s low consciousness of their particular welfare wants.

The research by researchers on the College of Liverpool checked out knowledge from the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report* from 2017 to 2019, which sampled 1333 UK rabbit house owners.

The researchers discovered that one-third (31.2%) of rabbits had been residing in insufficient housing and half had been housed alone (51.4%).

Whereas house owners of all ages, genders and deprivation ranges reported offering insufficient housing, sure demographic teams had been recognized as being extra possible to take action. This included house owners that had been male, house owners aged 25-34 years outdated, house owners with a below-average family earnings and house owners residing in disadvantaged areas. Nonetheless, the researchers warning that their research can not decide a causal impact and that extra analysis is required to find out the explanations behind these associations.

The research means that while extra clear and constant recommendation about pet rabbit housing wants needs to be supplied to all house owners, the place assets are restricted, campaigns may very well be only if focused in direction of the demographic teams they recognized.

First creator Grace Mee, who accomplished the analysis while learning for a veterinary diploma on the College of Liverpool, stated: “Rabbit gross sales elevated by over 200% in 2020, which was greater than that of cats or canine. Nonetheless, rescue centres are actually presently overwhelmed with undesirable pet rabbits. Because the third most typical pet, I hope that our analysis will assist in offering assets the place they are going to be most useful to assist house owners in assembly the welfare wants of their rabbits.”

Co-author Emma Tipton, Proof and Coverage Supervisor on the PDSA, stated: “Findings from our PAW Report proceed to point out {that a} worryingly excessive proportion of rabbits are being housed in unsuitable lodging. Campaigns that educate house owners on rabbits’ 5 welfare wants are key, in addition to elevating the significance of pre-purchase analysis in potential house owners’ minds, guaranteeing that rabbits have appropriate, spacious properties to permit them to hop, run, leap, dig and stretch out totally, and highlighting the significance of getting a rabbit companion to stay with, can be very important.”

Final 12 months, the primary Good Observe Code for Rabbit Welfare in England was revealed by the All-Celebration Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW). The general public are suggested to consult with this earlier than contemplating rabbit possession to make sure that they will meet rabbits’ welfare wants. Tips embody housing rabbits as neutered pairs, with their runs measuring at the very least 3m lengthy, 2m deep and 1m excessive.

Venture supervisor Dr Carri Westgarth, Senior Lecturer in Human-Animal Interplay on the College of Liverpool, added: “It’s important that there’s a shift in rabbit hutch manufacture – rabbits want area and this needs to be mirrored in commercially out there housing choices for house owners. Vets, pet outlets, breeders and rescue centres can even assist by educating potential house owners on the particular necessities of rabbit care.”

This research is revealed within the journal Veterinary Report.

Rabbit Consciousness Week runs from twenty seventh June – 1 July and the theme for this 12 months is ‘Room for Rabbits’ which is all about their environmental welfare wants. For extra data please go to https://rabbitawarenessactiongroup.co.uk/

Analysis reference:

Mee G, Tipton E, Oxley JA, Westgarth C. Proprietor demographic components are related to appropriate pet rabbit housing provision in the UK. Vet Rec. 2022;e1736. https://doi.org/10.1002/vetr.1736

* PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, www.pdsa.org.uk/pawreport