Take action against barren cages for rabbits
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Take action against barren cages for rabbits

March 1, 2017

Imagine a life where you can’t stretch out fully or hide from bullies. Imagine your feet never experience any relief from a wire floor. Rabbits raised for meat have to face these barren, overcrowded and dismal conditions every day.

We need your help to change this. The NFACC Code of Practice, which serves as law in some provinces, is being updated. Your comments will help rabbits get better treatment.

Our recommended comments:

Rabbits deserve a space large enough to stretch out and do natural behaviours like hopping.

1.1.2 The space allowances in this section, even after the phase-out, are still too small for a rabbit to exhibit natural behaviours. Increase the space permitted per rabbit and decrease the amount of time it takes to phase in better cages.

Rabbits need to hide and have more enriching lives.

1.2 Platforms should be a requirement, not a recommendation, due to their health and welfare benefits (e.g., improved bone quality, greater range of natural behaviours expressed).

Rabbits should be provided with at least two refinements, as many of the ones listed are easy to use in combination to improve welfare. Specify that at least one refinement should be one rabbits can eat/gnaw on, such as wood sticks, hay, grass, or hay cubes, as these were found by the Scientific Report to decrease repetitive behaviours (as well as contribute to good dental condition).

Recommended practices A, B, C, D, E, F and G should all be requirements. That way, acceptable refinements are clearly defined in the requirements (to prevent, for instance, a producer using a refinement not mentioned in the list that is ineffective at providing enrichment).

Rabbits need protection from foot injuries.

1.3 For the first requirement, specify which flooring type minimizes injuries. The Scientific Report found that plastic-coated wire or provision of a plastic resting mat decreased injuries. Also, recommended practice B should be a requirement. Plastic resting mats were found by the Scientific Report to prevent foot injuries.

Rabbits should have a clean space that keeps them healthy.

1.3 Recommended practices C and D should be requirements, as they help to reduce disease transmission. According to the Scientific Report, rabbits have a preference for clean bedding.

3.1 Recommended practices C and D should be requirements. These are standard animal care practices in other animal sectors.

3.1.2 Recommended practices A, B, C, D, E and F should all be requirements to prevent the development of the bacteria S. aureus, which significantly reduces rabbit welfare.

Take Action

Add your comments to the survey. Each question you answer helps rabbits live a better life. Your survey answers can be saved to work on at your own pace. The deadline is March 31, 2017.

You can also copy and paste our submission for your comments: PDF and Word

Next Steps

Now share this opportunity with a friend! The more people that respond, the better our chances are for change.

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

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